Rye Flour


Rye flour is flour milled from whole rye berries and grains of rye grass. Closely related to wheat flour, it has a slightly sour taste and is used to prepare rye bread and sourdough bread. Loaves of bread produced with rye flour are generally darker and denser than other types of bread. Rye and sourdough breads have a distinctive flavor that are enjoyed by many. Sauerkraut and corned beef are especially good on sourdough bread, and rye bread is a good substitute for white bread for just about any sandwich.


Other names: rye
Translations: Rudzu milti, Ruginiai miltai, Făină de secară, Raženog brašna, Bột lúa mạch đen, Mąka żytnia, Roggemeel, राई आटा, Farinha de Centeio, Ржаной муки, Σίκαλη Αλεύρι, طحين الجاودار, 호밀 밀가루, Žitná mouka, Tepung gandum hitam, 黑麦面粉, Farina de Sègol, Rženo moko, Ražná múka, Di farina di segale, קמח שיפון, Rågmjöl, Брашно ражано, ライ小麦粉, Farine de seigle, Rugmel, Rugmel, Harina de Centeno, Житнього борошна, Ruisjauhoja, Ръжено брашно

Physical Description

Rye flour can be found in light, medium, or dark colored varieties. The color of the flour depends on how much of the bran has been removed through the milling process. If most of the bran is left in, the flour will be darker. Conversely, if most of the bran has been removed, the flour will be finer and lighter. More nutrients are retained in the flour because the germ and the bran are not separated during the milling process, making it healthier than processed white flour.

Colors: light, medium or dark

Tasting Notes

Food complements: Pastries
Substitutes: Jewish rye, Pumpernickel, Swedish rye

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Choosing: Rye is generally available prepackaged as well as in bulk containers. Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the rye are covered and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure its maximal freshness. Whether purchasing rye in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure that there is no evidence of moisture.

When shopping for rye bread, make sure to read the labels since sometimes what is labeled "rye bread" is often wheat bread colored with caramel coloring

Buying: The medium color is most commonly found in supermarkets, while light or dark colored rye flour can be found in health food stores or some larger supermarkets with specialty food sections.

Preparation and Use

There are some issues that should be kept in mind if a baker is attempting to bake with rye flour. It is high in bran and soluble fiber content, but low in gluten. Gluten is part of what helps bread rise, so the lower level of gluten in rye flour can prevent the bread from rising well. This can be remedied by substituting some of the rye flour in the recipe with wheat flour, which will better allow the yeast to develop.

Recipes that call for rye flour may include other suggestions to help the bread rise. A general rule of thumb suggests substituting 1/3 of the amount of rye flour with wheat flour to ensure the bread will rise properly. This means if a recipe called for 1 cup (about 102 grams) of rye flour, for example, you would instead include 2/3 cup (about 68 grams) of rye flour and 1/3 cup (about 34 grams) of wheat or white flour.

Conserving and Storing

Store rye in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place where it will keep for several months.


In the U.S., where wheat products are the norm, goods made from rye are rarely given premier shelf space on grocery store shelves and, out of sight, remain out of mind. But foods made from whole rye are worth looking for, not only for their rich, hearty taste, but for the numerous health benefits they supply.

Rye's Fiber Promotes Weight Loss

And Helps Prevent Gallstones

Rye and Other Whole Grains Substantially Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk

A Better Grain Choice for Persons with Diabetes

Fiber Fights Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease and Promotes Gastrointestinal Health

Significant Cardiovascular Benefits for Postmenopausal Women

Prevent Heart Failure with a Whole Grains Breakfast

Anti-Cancer Activity Equal to or Even Higher than that of Vegetables and Fruits

Lignans Protect against Heart Disease

Rye Can Ease Your Ride Through Menopause While Helping Prevent Breast Cancer

Fiber from Whole Grains and Fruit Protective against Breast Cancer



History: Rye is one of the most recently domesticated cereal crops. Unlike some other cereal grains that can be traced back to prehistoric times, rye was not cultivated until around 400 B.C. It was first grown in this manner in Germany. Rye is thought to have originated from a wild species that grew as weeds among wheat and barley fields.

Unfortunately, ever since the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans, this nutrient-rich grain has not been widely enjoyed. In many countries, rye seems to have been relegated to a food for the poor, and as standards of living rose in varied civilizations, the consumption of rye declined. Yet, in some food cultures, such as those of Scandinavian and Eastern European countries, rye retains a very important position. Hopefully, as more and more people discover rye's nutritional benefits and its unique taste profile, it will assume a more important role in our diets.

Today, the majority of the world's rye comes from the Russian Federation. Poland, China, Canada, and Denmark are among the other countries that also grow rye commercially.



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