Dithmarsch Cabbage Rye

This has proven to be one of my favorites of the breads I’ve made from Stanley Ginsberg’s The Rye Baker. It is Dithmarsch Cabbage Rye from page 125. Click through to see my review of the bread and recommended pairings.

Dithmarsch cabbage rye bread

About the bread

Preparation: This bread required both rye flour and all purpose flour and the creation of a sourdough starter and use of an instant yeast. At this point I have the sourdough starter and I have to feed it everyday. So it is no extra work to make it and quite a relief to get to use it. I am beginning to feel as if the sourdough starter would eat me out of house and home if it could.

The hardest part about making this bread was incorporating the cabbage, parsley, and onions. I didn’t see how this could work but I kept folding the dough and adding the vegetables and eventually it was all incorporated.  Then I let the dough ball with its silly looking cabbage strands poking through rest for about 40 minutes and that was when the cabbage seemed to finally become part of the bread.

I am taking a cooking class and one of the early lessons was on cutting and preparing the mise en place, which just means cutting and setting everything up before beginning to prepare the food. I did that with this bread and it made it a joy to work on. I think with breads that have a lot of ingredients or inclusions, mise en place is the way to go.

Taste: This is one of my favorites from his book. The bread is comforting in the way that I remember potato bread as being comforting. The crumb is moist and the onions and cabbage give it a comforting heartiness with just the slightest whiff of sulfur from the cabbage. There is a subtle vegetable sweetness along with a salty sour taste in the bread.

I looked up Dithmarsch and discovered that it is a rural area of Germany that was once an independent peasant republic. That seems entirely appropriate for this bread, which has the hearty, delicious taste of a peasant bread combined with the thrifty incorporation of cabbage and onions to stretch the flour. It creates a very hearty bread that is also beautiful with the spots of purple cabbage. 

Pairings: I served this with black bean walnut burgers and mushroom gravy and it very tasty. The book recommends (among other things) pastrami, salami or lamb meatballs. If I were not trying to lose weight I would make some seitan salami or pastrami to try with it.

This bread demands a wine that can stand up to it. We served an Austrian varietal, Blaufränkisch, which is a fruity red wine with moderate tannins and a spicy profile that went perfectly with the bread.

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