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Rye : A powerhouse grain with excellent flavour profile

‘Secale Cereale’, commonly known as Rye is a grain closely related to barley and wheat. Its origins can be traced back to as early as the Middle Ages (5th century to the 15th century) when its cultivation was widespread in Russian, European and Egyptian regions.  It was a staple cereal of that time and is widely loved and used in these parts of the world even today.  Rye grain is refined into flour and is widely used to bake breads like the extremely nutritious Pumpernickel bread, Rye Bread and Nordländer Brot(Norlander bread with sunflower seeds) to name a few.

Nutrition wise, Rye is lower in gluten, high in gliadin(a type of protein that is water soluble) and also has a higher content of soluble fibre when compared to wheat and barley.  It is packed with so many nutrients that one might wonder how such a small grain can hold so much goodness in it.  Rye is rich in minerals like Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron and also the vitamin B-6.  It comprises of 10% protein and its total fat content is a mere 1.6% including saturated fats, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.  It does not contain any trans fat or cholesterol and contains 15% of dietary fibre, thereby helping in weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Since rye contains no harmful fats, it is an exceptionally beneficial food for people who suffer from cardiovascular diseases.  The high fibre content in rye also aids digestion and is a grain of choice for people with metabolism and gall stone issues.

The last decade has seen a steep rise in diabetics due to lifestyle changes and hence keeping it in check is critical. Rye bread tends to have a low glycemic index thereby taking longer to digest and in turn preventing random spikes in blood sugar levels, allowing for better control of diabetes.  This also means that because it stays in the stomach for a longer time, it gives the feeling of being full and hence is also an excellent food choice for those on a weight loss program. High blood pressure can also be kept under control by introducing rye grains into one's diet as they contains minerals which help in lowering blood pressure levels. Rye can also help prevent cancer due to the presence of the antioxidants and phenolic and should especially be consumed by people who have a history of cancer in their family. The presence of antioxidants also increase immunity by eliminating free radicals leading to a stronger immune system preventing us from falling sick often.

Introducing Rye grains or Rye flour in our diets will provide us and our families with a plethora of nutrition. This does not mean we should be undermining the importance of grains like wheat, barley, pearl millet, foxtail millet, etc that are current staples.  Every grain has a specific set of nutrients that are essential for overall nourishment and well-being. However, by adding Rye grains into our diet we increase the spectrum of vital nutrients that are attained from our meals thus helping us consume more nutrient rich and wholesome foods.  It is rather easy to include this super food in our diet, just replace wheat or barley with rye and you have a new dish with a different taste profile using the same recipe. 

In European countries, rye flour is used along with coarse rye grain to make breads like Pumpernickel.  This method of consuming rye maybe conventional but it is also best in terms of flavour, texture and taste.  Rye breads are extremely versatile and can be accompanied with soups, various cheeses, jams, fresh fruits, meats, pickles and sautéed vegetables or can simply be used as a side dish along with the main course. Those who do not want to give up on their sandwiches, rye bread is an excellent alternative to make your sandwich a nutritious snack or even a meal by itself if accompanied with vegetables or meat.  The variations using rye bread are limitless and there is absolutely no way that one can get bored of this dense, fibre rich, delectable bread.  It can be enjoyed at any time during the day as breakfast bread, a mid-morning snack or part of lunch/dinner.

In conclusion, rye is a powerhouse of nutrients and has been used in traditional European meals for centuries, it is time for all of us to wake up to the wholesome benefits of this grain and make it a part of our daily diet.

SwissBake offers a range of authentic German Rye based premixes including Roggen Brot, Norlander Bread, Pumpernickel Bread and the other country breads.  For more details contact your SwissBake representative or email us at [email protected]