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.
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.
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”).
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.
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:
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.