Looking for a simple and straightforward recipe for classic Finnish rye bread ? These Easy Finnish Rye Bread Rings are just what you're looking for.
Leavened with easy-to-use instant yeast (NO sourdough) and naturally sweetened with honey, these loaves are a beautiful, moist and delicious Scandinavian rye bread that's easy enough for beginning bakers. Keep reading for step-by-step instructions for making these gorgeous rye bread rings!
Why This Recipe Works
This recipe for Easy Finnish Rye Bread Rings is a winner because:
- It starts with soaked chopped rye grains or 7 grain cereal which adds moisture and whole-grain goodness to the loaves.
- The ratio of bread flour to rye flour provides a perfect balance of structure and flavor.
- The bread is naturally sweetened with honey which is the perfect companion to the hearty rye.
- It uses reliable, quick-acting instant yeast as a leavener.
This simple bread has a relatively short list of ingredients, but there are a few items worth noting:
- Rye Chops or 7 Grain Cereal. Rye chops and chopped grain cereals are comprised of whole grains (either all rye or a mixture of grains) that have been coarsely chopped into smaller pieces. They add heft, nutrition and a pleasant texture to the final loaf.
- A combination of bread and rye flour. Rye flour contains very little gluten and can be difficult to work with on its own. This recipe calls for both rye flour and bread flour which has a higher protein content and can form the structure for the bread.
- Honey. Honey is a delicious natural sweetener here and a perfect companion to the hearty rye.
- Instant yeast. This recipe calls for instant yeast, which is not the same as active dry yeast. When you go to the store to buy yeast, you will see two different kinds: Instant or rapid rise yeast and active dry yeast. The essential difference between the two is that instant yeast can be mixed right in with the dry ingredients whereas active dry yeast needs to be proofed in warm liquid prior to adding it to the recipe. Instant yeast is also more reliable, effective and fast-acting.
How to Make this Recipe
These Finnish Rye Bread Rings are incredibly easy to make and require very little hands on time. Here is the step-by-step process:
- Place the rye chops or 7 grain cereal in the work bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer. Heat a kettle of water on the stove until boiling. Measure out 2 ½ cups of water and pour it over he tchops/cereal. Let sit for an hour or until the temperature of the cereal mixture is no more than 100 degrees F. The grains will absorb the water and soften in texture.
- Add honey, melted butter and salt to the cooled cereal mixture. Mix briefly with the dough hook attachment to combine.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the cereal mixture. Mix on medium low until the dough just comes together, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead the dough for 5 minutes. The dough will still be slightly sticky to the touch but should clear the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for an hour. The dough will double in size.
- Generously flour a clean countertop or work surface. Split the dough in half the form each half into a ball, dusting the dough with flour as necessary to prevent it from sticking to your hands. Flatten each ball into a disk that is about 1 inch high and 7 ½ inches in diameter. Using a 2 inch biscuit cutter or the top of a glass, cut a hole in the center of each disk. Widen the hole slightly with your fingers.
- Transfer each ring to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 45 minutes.
- Prick the loaves all over with a fork. Bake the loaves in a 375 degree oven until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes, switching the position of the loaves halfway through the baking time. The internal temperature of the loaves should be 200-205 degrees F when they are done. Brush with melted butter and set on a wire rack to cool.
I've got a few tips and tricks for making sure that your Finnish Rye Bread Rings are a success every time:
- Make sure the temperature of the hot water and rye chop/cereal mixture is around 100 degrees before adding the other ingredients. Liquid that is over 120 degrees can potentially kill the yeast and cause the bread not to rise.
- Don't worry if the dough is a bit sticky. Simply dust your work surface generously with flour and dust the dough itself to keep it from sticking to your hands.
- Stretch the size of the hole in the center with your fingers to make it a bit larger. As the dough rises a second time (and in the oven while it bakes) the diameter of the hole will shrink. You'll get a better final shape if you start with a bigger hole.
It means "rye hole bread".
This bread was historically baked in large batches and then hung on a pole near the kitchen rafters to age. Because the bread was intended to keep for a long period of time, the maturing process yielded a rather tough rye loaf by the time that it was eaten. While this recipe for Finnish Rye Bread Rings is in the spirit of the original, the texture is pleasantly soft and tender and is not meant to be dried for long-term storage.
This bread stores well at room temperature for about 3 days wrapped in plastic. For longer storage, wrap the loaves tightly in plastic, place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to two months.
Yes, but you will have to proof it in warm water first. Reduce the amount of boiling water added to the chops/cereal to 2 ¼ cups. Combine 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast, ¼ cup lukewarm water (100-110 degrees F) and a squeeze of honey in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes. Add the proofed yeast to the cooled chop/cereal mixture when you are ready to mix the dough together.
I hope you give these EASY Finnish Rye Bread Rings a try! They are as charming as they are delicious. Looking for more simple Nordic breads to add to your baking repertoire? Here are a few blog favorites:
Easy Finnish Rye Bread Rings
- Heavy duty stand mixer
- 2-inch biscuit cutter
For the dough:
- 1 ¼ cup rye chops or 7 grain cereal mix
- 2 ½ cups boiling water
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 cups dark rye flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
- ¼ cup honey
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 1 tablespoon fine salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- Place rye chops or cereal mix in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer. Pour boiling water over the grains. Let the mixture sit for about an hour or until it has cooled down to 100 degrees F.
- Whisk bread flour, rye flour and yeast together in a medium bowl. Set aside
- Once the grain mixture has cooled, add honey, melted butter and salt. Mix briefly with the dough hook attachment to combine.
- WIth the mixer running on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix on low until it is just combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Increase the speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes. The dough should be clearing the sides of the bowl but will still be sticky to the touch.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature for an hour or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and set the oven racks in the lower third and upper third positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Generously flour a clean countertop or work surface.
- Scrape dough out onto the work surface and dust generously with flour. Divide the dough in two and shape each half into a ball. Flatten into a disk about 1 inch high and 7 ½ inches in diameter. Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter, cut a hole in the center of each loaf, gently stretching the hole with your fingers to make it a little larger. Transfer each loaf to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes at room temperature.
- Prick each loaf all over with a fork and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown, switching the position of the loaves halfway through. Brush the finished loaves with melted butter and transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
If you loved this recipe, give it a star review! Also, snap a picture of your Easy Finnish Rye Bread Rings and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #truenorthkitchen and tagging me @true_north_kitchen.