I have searched for this recipe for Finnish Democradie rye bread for decades. The recipe, which I actually knew as “democratie”, was given to my father by his dear friends Dick and Lennie Merrifield, who lived in Harrisville, New Hampshire, when we lived across the border in Putney, Vermont.

I have such fond memories of visiting the Merrifields, and playing with their three children, Afton, Brander, and Sienna. And then of making this bread with my father, his teaching me how to knead the dough, waiting for it to rise, and the heavenly smell while it was baking.

This bread is so fragrant, and so flavourful. There is nothing better than a thick slice of this bread, hot from the oven, slathered with butter.

And I always think of my father, and the Merrifields, when I make it.

A few years ago Sienna and Afton and I reconnected on Facebook, and I am so very grateful to them for sharing their mother’s rye bread recipe with me!

And now, I’m sharing it with you.

Democradie Pumpernickel Rye bread

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup molasses
2 Tablespoons caraway seeds
1 Tablespoon salt
3 Tablespoons soft oleo margarine
2 Tablespoons yeast
2 cups rye meal
4 cups sifted unbleached white flour

Pour lukewarm water over caraway seeds, salt, oleo and yeast. Add rye meal and beat well.

Add enough of the flour to make a stiff dough.

Turn out on to a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Let rise for two hours in a warm location.

Prepare a cookie sheet by greasing well, and then sprinkling with cornmeal.

Preheat oven to 450 f.

Shape dough into ovals or circles, and place on the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes at 450, and then reduce heat to 350 for another 20 to 35 minutes, until done.

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