The bread that’s been the foundation of Zingerman’s Deli’s famous reuben sandwiches since the Bakehouse opened in 1992. 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 every day 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 and to top it off the whole grain flour we use to feed our rye starter (20% of each loaf) daily is Midwest organic rye that’s freshly milled right here at the Bakehouse. Every detail adds up on our path to baking a robust flavorful loaf. No need to just take our word for it though—in 2011, after a quest to track down the country’s tastiest loaves, Saveur magazine proclaimed ours to be “America’s very best rye.”