The rye plant (Secale cereale) looks like wheat, but grows taller. At Kialla we stock rye husks, kibble and flour. It’s taste has been described as hardy and nourishing.
The gluten in rye is less elastic than that found in wheat, which means that it holds less gas during the leavening process, making rye breads more compact and dense. They also tend to stay fresher for longer.
Since it is difficult to separate the germ and bran from the endosperm, milled rye flour usually retains a large quantity of nutrients, unlike refined wheat flour.
The cultivated grain may have developed from a wild Mediterranean variety, or from a Turkish variety. However the perennial grass that was the original ancestor was native to North Africa and the Middle East.
It’s likely it was first cultivated in the mountains of Turkey and Armenia were wheat or barley didn’t grow so well. Rye came to Europe later than wheat, barley & oats, probably arriving in eastern Europe around 2000 BC. It developed a reputation as a pauper’s grain and Pliny considered it suitable only for the ‘very hungry’. It’s adaptability to cold climates meant it was well suited to the Germanic and Scandinavian tribes. The Anglo-Saxons took it into Britain and for some time it was the chief grain used for bread across Northern Europe.
It arrived in the Americas with European settlers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and finally spread to South Africa and Australia during the mid-nineteenth century.
During the 1800s rye was the main cereal grown, due to it’s hardiness, however it has since been superseded by wheat.
Rye is a very good source of manganese and a good source of phosphorus, copper, pantothenic acid, and magnesium. It also contains lignan phytonutrients.
Rye is a rich and versatile source of dietary fibre, especially a type of fiber called arabinoxylan, which is also known for its high antioxidant activity. It’s also an excellent source of iron.
It has been linked with improved bowel health, better weight management, and better blood sugar control, thus helping to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Bread made from wheat triggers a better insulin response than bread made with rye bread.
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