Onion rye bread - wot that?

I play on a travel forum where there was recent mention of onion rye bread. That’s not something I’m familiar with. Another contributor (American) also didnt know what it was but guessed it may be a “New York deli type bread”. He reckoned it must be different from the “onion rolls” common in the Boston area, where he lives. Is he right? I await, with bated breath, the bread (or NYC deli) experts, erm expertise. :grinning:

1 Like

Perhaps it’s a Midwest thing? I did a quick search, and Zingerman’s (based in Michigan) has it listed for sale online.

King Arthur Baking also has a recipe for Swiss Onion Rye bread:

So based on this, definitely different from the Boston-area onion rolls (which are used a lot for a North Shore Beef (which, to me, aren’t appetizing at all, but they have many devoted fans north of Boston - hence, the North Shore part of the name).

And not to immediately start thread drift, but in case anyone wants to know what they are:.


Onion rye is basically what @LindaWhit found at Zingerman’s—rye bread with little bits of onion in it. It’s not a Midwestern thing AFAIK; it’s an Eastern European Jewish thing (which Zingerman’s also is). Very scarce these days, just like onion rolls and everything else that used to come from the many traditional Jewish bakeries in the NY area. Most are gone :worried:


The onion rolls I grew up with were made with an enriched dough, like mini-challahs. Heavenly with unsalted butter.


Maybe I should try a nearby Polish food shop. Maybe it got out from being a Jewish thing into the wider East European community.

1 Like

Possibly, although I don’t know if Polish bakeries specialize in rye bread. Honestly the best rye bread I’ve ever had has been in Denmark—go figure! (Not onion rye, though.)


Rye bread is in general different/better in Europe. Modernist Bread had a discussion/chapter around it and what they found is that the grinding of rye in Europe is done quite differently and leads to much smaller particle size which ultimately leads to better (less dry and heavy) rye bread in Europe. They had problems to get similar rye flour in the US (without importing it at quite high cost) and ultimately recommended to do your own grinding for rye flour to achieve similar quality rye bread as in Europe

1 Like

Polish make great rye. I noticed that oniony breads, in general , oft come from Jewish genius.

I grew up on Long Island, NY, at a time when most of the bakeries were Jewish/German. Onion rye was a favorite, and readily found. No caraway in it. The loaf contained a swirl of the same dark brown, sweet, onion bits as top onion rolls and are part of the topping of “everything” bagels.

I have lived in the Boston area for 50 years. The NYC style deli is a rarity here, and the bakeries primarily Italian or Greek. I would have to drive closer or into Boston to have a chance of finding anything similar to authentic NYC rye, much less onion rye. Until 25 years ago, I visited metro NYC a few times a year and usually stopped in my old home town at one of its delis and bakeries. But by 2000, though most of the stores remained, owner ethnicity and therefore provisions sold, had changed. Onion rye is scrumptious. It’s always been puzzling to me that it isn’t made by all independent and major brand bread bakeries in the U.S.A.


You point out to why I like the onion rye. Never seen caraway in it.

Just came back from a week in Copenhagen, and I’d have to agree.

Isn’t it just insanely good? Like, all the bread in the entire country? I mean, France, yeah, OK, I’ll give it to them on cheese, but give me Danish bread any day.

1 Like

Once I found out there were no restrictions on bringing baked goods into the US, I bought a half loaf of “Nordic rye” from Lagkagehuset at the airport.


Thanks to the inspo from this thread, I made an onion-rye bread in the bread machine this morning - tasty!

Deets here.