Rye bread in the Greater Boston area

I thought this worthy of its own thread. To get the grain rolling, I stopped by Iggy’s. They had a “dark rye” pain de mie, and several sizes of pullman. I got a mini pullman and half a pain de mie:


As you see, they are clearly made from the same dough. They’re both moderately strong in flavor, and dense with caraway seeds, and might make a good counterpoint to thick slabs of fatty pastrami.


A bit OT but I never understood why rye bread in the US tastes to different (not really like rye bread) than in many countries in Europe (especially Germany). But Modernist Cuisine Bread had some interesting background information and because of the milling grade of rye flour in the US is very different (significantly coarser grind) hardly any rye bread in the US is pure rye flour but mainly wheat flour with different % of rye flour. I think that is also the reason why “rye” bread in the US nearly always has caraway seeds added as it would otherwise taste like regular wheat flour bread whereas in Europe rye bread hardly ever has caraway seeds or wheat flour added and has a very different taste that “wheat” based bread.


Thanks for starting this thread, fooddabbler.

I love Iggy’s bread, and have had the rye bread. It is delicious, but so dense with caraway that I feel that it would overwhelm a sandwich. It’s great toasted with butter, but I’d prefer something a little more rye-focused for a sandwich.

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When Pigs Fly makes one that is very good if you get a really fresh loaf. It is pretty caraway-heavy. I usually use Iggy’s country sourdough for pastrami sandwiches at home though.


Hmmm…sour dough actually sounds really good with pastrami or corned beef. Nashoba Brook’s sourdough makes a mighty fine BLT, and when it’s really fresh, an excellent chicken salad sandwich.

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Yes, I’d had the “dark rye” before, but I wanted to make sure it was as I remembered it. I also have a vague memory of them having a light rye, too, more whole wheat than rye (as honkman observes), but they didn’t have it when I was there Friday. It’s possible that I’m confusing them with another outfit on that score.

I also like the truly dark, dense ryes of Europe. I seem to remember that HiRise has a bread along those lines, and a lighter more US-conventional rye. Also, Forge for a dense rye – but it is always possible that my memory is playing tricks.

The most intense ryes I’ve had in the U.S. were dense, flat, rounds, almost fudge-like in texture, from a purveyor at the Union Square Market in NYC . The stall was open for a few years, then closed. I heard that their bread was available elsewhere, but I did not follow up. This was not good pastrami bread, though.
NOTE: Google tells me they were called Nordic Breads, and they still operate out of Queens. They were, indeed, 100% rye (“Finnish style”).


Oh, I’ll have to check out High Rise and Forge. I don’t know why I never think of either place for bread unless I’m there for pastsries.

I also like a dark and dense rye, but as you noted they can overwhelm sandwich meat. I’ll have to keep an eye out for Nordic Breads. Thanks, as always, for sharing your considerable knowledge!


Do you go their store in Davis to get fresh loaves?

No, no, thank you.

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I haven’t but it’s a great suggestion. My little corner store, D’Agostino’s, carries that brand but I’m not sure when delivery day is.

Berezka in Allston sells several varieties of dark rye bread made in NY or NJ. Russo’s sometimes has them too. These are different from the big, heavy round or oval hearth baked loaves I’ve enjoyed in Alsace and Germany.

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I like the rye breads at Baltic Deli and Euromart on Dorchester Ave. They have several different types.


I am so overdue for a trip there!

Thanks for the tip, basia!

Is this the one nearly across Cafe Polonia (if it is they also have great homemade piroggi) ?

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Yes, that’s the one. Euromart is just up the road. Their pierogi are pretty good, too. Both also have good bread and and a very nice selection of hams and kielbasy.

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One of the best things I’ve every eaten was many years ago, 1983. I can’t remember if it was Munich or Berlin, it was a department store giant food hall, and I brought back to my lodging some dark rye bread and a sharp cheese that had caraway seeds in it. I think it was Berlin…I’ve never found the same combination in an equivalent delicious way in the US.


To add to the rogues gallery of ryes, here’s a light rye (rye+white flour) that Hi-Rise sells under the name Shepard. They do not seem to carry their dense dark rye anymore.

It’s a nice, crusty loaf and very good slathered with butter, either as-is or toasted, but the crustiness does not make it a good pastrami-sandwich bead. (There’s something about the marriage of softer bread – potato rolls and hamburgers come to mind – with rich meat that eludes crusty bread.)

The bread that Our Fathers uses is quite good for the pastrami purpose:

The full sandwich may be viewed in this post:

Great report as always, fd. I wonder if Our Father’s sells their bread by the loaf along with the bulk pastrami. I’ll check. I’m waiting until my son and daughter-in-law come over to make the sandwiches. Too bad the meat was a bit dry. I’ll report when we do.

If you’re buying in bulk, you can probably ask for “juicy” meat (as some of the Katz’s cutters prefer to call it over the more accurate “fatty”).

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