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Jan 12, 2015

Potato Onion Rye Meteil

Potato Onion Rye Meteil

This Potato Onion Rye Bread is called a meteil because it has less than 50% rye flour in relation to wheat flour. The bread is sort of a cross between a New York deli onion rye and a soft potato bread.

The interior has a tight crumb, yet it is incredibly soft and moist. It is excellent sliced and buttered, especially on the day it is baked. I definitely will be using this recipe for dinner rolls.

Potato Onion Rye Meteil

When first I read that #BreadBakers would be baking with rye, I immediately (in bread terms, that means over a couple of days) made this amazing sourdough, rye, pumpkin, and stout boule that would warm the heart of any bread baker who fantasizes about loaves with crackling crusts with big airy interiors. Then I read the "rules" of this month's bake again. Whole grains only. Doh! While rye and I work together on a regular basis, bread flour always joins the party, just to lighten things up and to give the bread some structure.

In addition, rye with whole wheat can taste pretty "strong," and get even stronger over time. If you have grown up with rye, this flavor will bring back childhood memories. If you have grown up on Wonder Bread, rye/whole wheat is definitely an acquired taste.

Potato Onion Rye Meteil

Potato water! Mashed potatoes! Onions!

Using potato water (the leftover water from boiling potatoes) with any bread dough will soften it, as well as keep it fresh longer. Adding mashed potatoes to this bread totally mellows the flavor of the whole grains. The raw onions add additional moistness. If you leave out the onions and caraway seeds, and blindfold your dinner guests (not recommended), they'll never know that this is a 100 percent whole grain bread.

Rye is an amazing grain, with the ability to survive under the worst growing conditions. it contains a lot of fiber, even when it has had some of the bran sifted out, making it a very filling food. It has about half of the gluten of wheat. On the flip side, it can be frustrating to work with because it can become very gummy if it is kneaded too much. I once tried making a 100 percent rye loaf. Not pretty. It's also used to make other health foods such as beer and whiskey. Think of it as "juicing."

Rye, like wheat, can be purchased as light (white or medium) or whole rye. Pumpernickel is whole rye that has been coarsely ground. I've had to mail order white and medium rye, but, until recently, could easily find whole rye in the grocery store. It seems that lately the shelf space has been taken up by amaranth, barley, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff, and stuff like guar gum and xanthan gum. When I finally found a store with rye, I felt like I'd scored the last Cabbage Patch Kid in Toys R Us (think "That 70's Show), or the last gallon of gas when Jimmy Carter was president. I bought 3 bags. It's amazing what a sense of scarcity will do to your levelheadedness.

Then there's pastrami on rye. Sigh.

Potato Onion Rye Meteil

After the recipe, check out what all of the other #BreadBakers magically created with rye. I hope you are inspired.

This bread takes two days to make, mostly inactive time. The bread is about 25% rye, but you can up the rye percentage by substituting more rye for some of the whole wheat.

Potato Onion Rye Meteil


142 g whole rye flour (1 C plus 2 T)
85 g whole wheat flour (2/3 C)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C potato water (water from boiling potatoes) cooled to 75 degrees F
1 T vital wheat gluten

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. You can chill it in the fridge if you need more time. 


71 grams 80 percent hydration sourdough starter. 
213 grams (1 2/3 C) whole wheat flour
3/4 C water

Knead the ingredients and let sit at room temperature, covered, for 4 to 8 hours, until almost doubled in size. Knead it briefly after it has doubled. Refrigerate until you are ready to mix the final dough. Let it sit at room temperature for an hour prior to making the final dough. 

Final Dough

All of the soaker
All of the starter
128 g (1 C) whole wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 T instant yeast
227 g (8 ounces) cooked potatoes. You can also use leftover mashed potatoes.
113 g (1 small) fresh onion, diced
2 1/4 tsp honey
1 T caraway seeds
Extra flour for adjusting the dough


  1. Chop the soaker and starter into pieces and place them in the bowl of a stand mixer. 
  2. Add all of the rest of the ingredients except the extra flour into the bowl. Mix first with the paddle attachment for one minute. 
  3. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium low for 2 to 3 minutes. Add flour or water as needed to achieve a soft, tacky dough. 
  4. Hand knead the dough for about 4 minutes on a lightly floured work surface. Let it rest for 5 minutes. 
  5. Knead by hand for one more minute. 
  6. Place the dough into an oiled bowl or container and cover with plastic wrap. 
  7. Let it rise until it is about 1 1/2 times its original size, about 45 to 60 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F with a rack in the middle and a broiler pan on the lowest rack. 
  9. Shape the dough into two loaves or 20 rolls. Spray lightly with spray oil, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 45 to 60 minutes. 
  10. Place the loaves/rolls in the oven, add a cup of water to the broiler pan, and close the oven door, Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. 
  11. Bake the loaves for 40 to 50 minutes, until they reach an internal temperature of 195 degrees F. The rolls will take less time. 
  12. Cool on a wire rack.
Recipe adapted from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor

    #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
    We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. This month's host is Ansh at Spiceroots.

    If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to
Tangzhong Rye Bread by Stacy at Food Lust People Love
Sourdough Rye Bread by Ansh at Spiceroots
Potato Onion Rye Meteil by Karen at Karen's Kitchen Stories
Artisan Dark Rye Bread by Cindy at Cindy's Recipes and Writing
Chocolate rye bread by Rocio at Kidsandchic
Danish Rye Bread by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm
Rye and Whole Wheat Bread by Kelly at Passion Kneaded

Would you like to comment?

  1. Do you ship or deliver? Because I want some loaves right now and that sandwich - oh my!!!

  2. Whoa, Karen! I love this (and I absolutely want to see the first loaf you made too--with the pumpkin in it)! Even though you had to reboot, this is totally a winner. And I'm with Renee about that sammich. Wowza!

  3. What a fantastic bread. Loved the information about potato water. And Yes, I also want to read about the pumpkin, stout rye boule.

  4. What great advice about the potatoes and cooking water. Thanks and yes please I will have a bite of that sandwich!!

    1. I've used potato water for cinnamon rolls too. It keeps them fresh longer. =)

  5. That is one of the lighter and airier 100% rye loaves I've seen, you certainly would have fooled me! I also never knew about the potato water effect, thanks for sharing!

  6. Ah, pastrami…potato and onions…odd and even days… Okay, scratch that last one. I always look forward to seeing what you've baked and you never, ever disappoint! And if anyone could manage a fluffy looking whole grain rye, it would definitely be you. That sandwich…to die for. Wowza!

    1. Seriously, I was trying to figure out how to put the odd and even days thing in this post!

  7. I like potato bread alone so I know this rye must be out of this world good!

  8. I am always impressed by your breads and this one is particularly special! I think the potato-onion-rye combo is fantastic and love this whole grain bread.

  9. Potato water is a genius addition, Karen! This sort of thing is why I love these challenges. I love reading through the posts and seeing how different bakers with different skill sets solve the problems they are facing. Your loaf turned out beautifully! I would love a slice spread with butter. If only.

  10. What a wonderful loaf! It looks so soft and very very tasty.

  11. Your crumb is amazing! I would have never guessed it was rye + whole wheat. I definitely want to read about that other loaf too. It sounds amazing!

  12. potato is a great way to yield a soft loaf with all whole grains

  13. Whoa! This looks amazing Karen and that sandwich just looks fantastic. Must try!

  14. Potato Bread! Onion! Rye! All in one! I must make this. If it is even half as good as it sounds and looks, I would be a happy camper!

  15. That richer bread, I loved .Thanks for the recipe


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