Before I baked any rye bread, I always assumed it was the rye flour that gave the breads its distinctive taste. It turns out that it is due more to two things: caraway seeds, and the fact that many rye breads have an acidic component, either sourdough, or something like buttermilk.
The rye seems to interact with the sour components in a different way than white flour. It adds a certain depth to the flavor, but the main punch is the caraway seeds.
I wondered what rye without caraway seeds would taste like, but never got around to making any because I like the caraway flavor, and why mess with something I like?
But then a friend was told by her doctor to cut out the carbs. The doctor did tell her that rye bread was okay, but she doesn’t like rye bread. I asked if it was the rye or the caraway she really objected to, and she didn’t know, so I made this bread as a test to find out.
I used the rye variation of the basic sourdough whole wheat recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book. I ran out of whole wheat flour though, so it actually ended up being about 1/3 whole wheat, 1/3 bread flour, and 1/3 rye flour.
The amount to rise that I got out of it surprised me, since rye has less gluten than wheat, and whole wheat doesn’t rise as much as a all-purpose or bread flour. I’m glad that I used the bread flour.
It tasted good, especially the first day. The texture was a little dense, as one would expect with a high proportion of whole wheat and rye. My favorite part about it was the slight crunch that the rye gave to the crust (the particular flour I used is very coarsely ground; not all rye would have that effect). The rye without caraway does have a different flavor than wheat, but it is subtle. My husband and I liked it, but I haven’t heard back from my friend yet.