Corn Rye Bread

"This classic Jewish delicatessen rye bread doesn't actually have any corn in the dough, though plenty should be used on the baking sheet. It should be dense, but not dry, and the crust should be crisp and crunchy. Adapted from a recipe in _Better Than Store-Bought_ by Wittie and Colchie (1979). The starter will make about 2 cups, a bit more than needed for the bread. It can be fed like any sourdough starter, and stored in the refrigerator."
photo by Red_Apple_Guy photo by Red_Apple_Guy
photo by Red_Apple_Guy
Ready In:
1 large loaf




  • The starter must be made 48-72 hours in advance. Combine yeast and 1 c tepid water. Beat in 1 c rye flour. Add onion, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Remove onion. Beat in remaining water and rye flour. Cover and let stand at room temperature another 24 hours. It may be used at this point, or refrigerated up to another 24 hours.
  • Combine 1/4 c warm water, yeast and sugar. Let stand 10 minutes until foamy.
  • In work bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, dissolve salt in remaining warm water. Stir down sourdough starter and remove 1/2 cup (see head note). Mix remaining starter into salt water, then add yeast mixture. Add high-gluten flour and 1 c all-purpose flour; if using, add caraway seeds. Mix to form a soft dough.
  • Add remaining flour and knead until dough is soft and slightly sticky (either in the mixer or by hand). Do not overknead; the dough should not be very elastic. Form into a ball and place in an ungreased bowl. Cover and let stand at room temperature until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
  • Punch down, knead briefly and let stand 15 minutes. Form into a 12" oval, turning the edges in toward the center to form a smooth outer surface. Pinch the seam to seal and place seam-side down on a baking sheet coated with cornmeal. Cover with a damp towel and let rise until almost double, about 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place quarry tiles or baking stone in top 1/3 of oven, and an empty roasting pan in the bottom third. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Beat egg white with water and brush over surface of loaf. Slash loaf with a very sharp knife 2 or 3 times. Sprinkle with additional caraway seeds if desired. Place loaf on tiles and toss 4 cups of ice cubes into the hot roasting pan. Bake 30 minutes. Brush loaf with more egg white glaze and bake another 20-30 minutes.

Questions & Replies

  1. I made this bread yesterday, and it was delicious. My question is, if I save the ½ cup of starter, how much starter is left, and if I feed it, how will I know how much to use the next time I make it, as it won't have started out with the same amount of starter?


  1. My Jewish buddy has been asking for a corn rye like those back in New York for years and I've made several recipes looking for it. This is one he loves. He raved about it and it'll be a frequent loaf I'll bake around here. I used my own rye sourdough starter but this one looks good. I decreased the water a tablespoon or two to decrease stickiness a little. Since the sourdough percentage is so large, I skipped the yeast in the dough. Rise times were close to the same here.
  2. This made an enormous loaf, it took up my entire cookie sheet. Maybe I needed to add more flour as it didn't form a loaf. Used it to make Rueben sandwiches and served with Recipe #458110. Yum.


I'm a 48 y/o gay Jewish man in the suburbs immediately north of New York City. I'm a general internist, practicing and teaching at a medical college north of NYC. I also earned a Masters in Public Health degree in 2013. After a Walt Disney World trip in Dec 2006 where I had to rent an electric scooter because I couldn't manage the walking, I decided to have gastric bypass surgery, which was done Feb 28, 2007. I lost 160 lbs (though I've gained back about 60 of that since). I can't eat as much as I used to, so I want every bite to be extra good!
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