Jewish Rye Bread
A pastrami on rye sandwich from Katz’s Deli in New York City, made with Jewish Rye Bread.
Alternative namesNew York Rye Bread, Jewish-Style Rye Bread, Rye Bread, Sissel Bread, Cissel Bread, Double-Baked Rye Bread
CourseAppetizer or Main
Place of originJewish communities of Central and Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Canada, the United States, Israel
Created byAshkenazi Jews
Main ingredientsWheat flour, rye flour, water, yeast, caraway seeds (optional), egg wash, salt
VariationsSeedless Jewish Rye Bread, Everything Jewish Rye Bread

Jewish rye bread is a type of rye bread commonly made in Jewish communities. Due to the diaspora of the Jews, there are several geographical variations of the bread. The bread is sometimes called sissel bread or cissel bread, as sissel means caraway seed in Yiddish.[1]


In Israel, rye bread is very popular due to the large Jewish population of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. It is popular with Israelis of Middle Eastern and North African Jewish descent (Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews) as well. It is also commonly used in restaurant kitchens and is a staple at many bakeries. It can be found in virtually every bakery and grocery store in Israel. The mass-produced version is very similar to the American; however, it is often very soft. Many bakeries in restaurants in places such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are redefining rye bread and are baking their own versions that are sometimes a twist on the traditional Jewish rye bread, and sometimes harken back to the most traditional Ashkenazi-style rye bread.[2]

United States

In the United States wheat-rye bread, including light rye (sissel), American pumpernickel, and the combination of the two as marbled rye, is closely associated with Jewish cuisine and Jewish-American cuisine, particularly the delicatessen. The bulk of the flour is white wheat flour (often a less-refined form known as first clear), with a substantial portion of rye mixed in for color and flavor. The dough is often leavened, in whole or in part, with sourdough, but sometimes uses a small addition of citric acid or vinegar to achieve the lowered pH needed to neutralize the rye amylases. The so-called Jewish rye is further seasoned with whole caraway fruits and glazed with an egg wash, and is traditionally associated with salted meats such as corned beef and pastrami.

High-gluten wheat flour can be used with rye flour to make a dough suitable for bagels. Jewish-style American rye bread is sometimes referred to as corn rye, possibly from the Yiddish korn ('grain'), or from the use of cornmeal as a coating and handling aid.[3]

The Jewish-American variety has Eastern European Jewish antecedents, including Russian Jewish style brown bread, Polish Jewish style rye bread and Latvian Jewish style rye bread.[4]


In Canada, there are several different types of Jewish rye bread available in the country. Breads containing caraway seeds often referred to as "kimmel bread" (from the Yiddish word קימל, cf. German Kümmel).[5] There are mass-produced, prepackaged brands such as Oroweat. In communities with significant Jewish populations such as Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver, authentic Ashkenazi Jewish style rye bread is available at many kosher and kosher-style bakeries, delis, restaurants and kosher grocery stores.

In addition there is also Winnipeg-style rye bread which does not actually contain much, if any, rye flour. Instead, this Jewish-influenced bread is made from cracked rye or coarse rye meal, added to wheat flour.[6][7] Winnipeg-style rye bread does not contain caraway seeds.

See also


  1. ^ Rye, a Grain With Ancient Roots, Is Rising Again. New York Times, January 10, 2017.
  2. ^ Solomonov, Michael. Zahav. HMH.
  3. ^ Nathan, Joan (1998). Jewish Cooking in America. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 80. I have always wondered by American Jews call a very heavy and sour rye bread or Bauernbrot "cornbread." Somehow the word corn got lost in the translation. In Germany, Jewish rye bread was made with all rye flour. not here. In this country [USA] some wheat is thrown in. In Yiddish corn means grain so a cornbread could be any bread with grain. Some say that the bread got its name because cornmeal is thrown on the baking sheet when it is baked. [Via Olver, Lynne (15 January 2015). "Bread, beer & yeast: Jewish rye". The Food Timeline.]
  4. ^ Von Bremzen, Anya, and John Welchmann, Please to the Table. New York: Workman Publishing, 1990, ISBN 0-89480-753-6.
  5. ^ Benor, Sarah Bunin (ed.). "Kimmel". Jewish English Lexicon. Los Angeles: Jewish Language Project. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  6. ^ Staff Writer (2008-10-08). "Give us this day our daily Winnipeg rye bread..." Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
  7. ^ "Winnipeg Rye Bread Recipe". Archived from the original on 2015-08-27. Retrieved 2013-05-26.