jewish rye

jewish rye
The bread that's been an important building block of thousands of famous reuben sandwiches at Zingerman's Delicatessen since the Bakehouse opened in 1992.

In the "Sandwich Issue" of Saveur magazine, Jane and Michael Stern—"two aficionados of traditional Jewish rye"—embark on a quest to track down the country's tastiest loaves. "America's very best rye?" they write, "No contest. We found it in Ann Arbor, Michigan...It comes from Zingerman's Bakehouse, which makes loaves of rugged rye that are dense and springy, laced with the taste of hearth smoke."

Traditional Jewish rye bread is actually an endangered species in the United States making it even more important to us to continue crafting a great loaf. Ours is rye like our co-owner Amy's grandparents ate on the lower East side in New York city: a high percentage of rye flour, about 25% (believe it or not, most "rye bread" sold in America has hardly any rye flour), a natural rye sour starter which we feed daily and “old” a mush made from leftover rye bread and water (a step usually skipped in the modern day). “Old” is a bit of Jewish spiritual tradition connecting yesterday with today and is a nod to the frugality of our baking forebears. We actually have to bake rye everyday to serve this purpose. The irony is not lost on us. For another layer of flavor we add ground caraway to this already complicated mix. It also bears mentioning that the flour we use to feed our rye starter (20% of each loaf) each day is organic midwest rye that’s freshly milled at the Bakehouse. Every detail adds up on our path to baking a robust flavorful loaf.

A loaf of Jewish rye is perfectly paired with hot corned beef or pastrami. This bread can handle just about any sandwich you can dream up, really. So don’t be afraid to stack those fixins high and nosh on. Your sandwich will be sending you a thank you note for the upgrade.

Read more about the history of rye bread on our blog!
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