Finnish Rye Bread Recipe from My Youth

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I have searched for this recipe for decades. This recipe was given to my father, when I was a child, by his dear friends, Richard “Dick” Merrifield, and Dick’s wife, Lennie Merrifield. I have such fond memories of my father and I making it at our home in Putney, Vermont, him teaching me how to knead the dough. I had always thought that it was called ‘democrate’ (pronounced “democratie”) but it turns out that it is “democradie”. I know this, because a few years ago I found Dick and Lennie’s daughters, Afton and Sienna, on Facebook, and Sienna had the recipe and gave it to me! (Thank you, Sienna!)

So, at long last, I have the recipe for this toothsome, wonderful, fragrant pumpernickel-style rye bread, chock full of molasses and caraway seeds! The only thing that is better than the smell of this bread baking is the taste of a thick slice of it, hot from the oven, slathered with butter.

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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