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Good jewish rye bread in Boston

Hey folks, I've got a brisket curing and on its way to magically becoming pastrami... but I realized that I don't know the first thing about where to find a good loaf of light seeded rye bread in this town. Your suggestions would be much appreciated.

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  1. Iggy's (they call it dark rye, but it is really just a good seeded rye.)

    When Pigs Fly also has an excellent version.

    Oh, and by the way, what time is lunch? ;-)

    1. Just read a great article about Jewish Rye in the latest Saveur (yes, I'm pimping it cuz I think it's that good). Apparently the travesty that is the bread at Katz's and Carnegie is because "no one buys this old skool product anymore". I'm sure fans of Langers in LA would disagree.

      But I digress. The rye from Pigs Fly is very good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: yumyum

        The ny rye from When Pigs Fly is the only rye I've found that is close to a traditional jewish rye. Iggy's is good and the Butcherie sometimes has a packaged rye from a Brooklyn bakery that is ok, but neither of these equals WPF. For some reason only known to the gods of marketing, WPF often runs out of NY rye at the Brookline bakery. I've asked why they don't increase the supply, but it seems an unanswerable question. Clear Flour, which I love, does not make a NY rye and I don't care for it's deli rye.

      2. Speaking with authority as a Yiddishe Maidela, I can highly recommend When Pigs Fly rye!

        1. Interesting that the When Pigs Fly version is so good! I haven't loved many of their bagged and sliced breads that I've tried, but I've never tried the rye. I also had no idea that they had a bakery in Brookline, so perhaps I'll swing by there!

          3 Replies
          1. re: celeriac

            Well, a store in Brookline. All their breads are made in southern Maine.

            1. re: celeriac

              They also have a location in Somerville. I actually like the slightly lighter style that Iggy's makes. Again they call it "Dark Rye" but it's not.

              Both are excellent.

              1. re: celeriac

                at the brookline store, the bread is sliced for you and you can immediately take it out of the darn plastic wrap which alters its texture irrevocably. i much prefer the bread i buy from the bakery when compared to their wrapped bread from the supermarket. the bakery also carries a great sicilian pepper bread.

              2. I'm working on a piece on Clear Flour. We picked up a selection three today and will be going back on the days when they do some of their rye and pumpernickle breads. I would call before you go and see if any of the ryes they do during the week fit your needs. There are some breads they only bake on specific days of the week.

                And, like others here I like the rye at Pigs Fly and even asked if they would take a loaf over to Michael's deli because I think it's better than the rye he uses.


                3 Replies
                1. re: BostonZest

                  Oh, I bet that would go over big with Michael.

                  1. re: BostonZest

                    I read that Slim hates the rye at Michael's I never had a problem with it as I see it mainly as a vehicle for corned beef.

                    1. re: BostonZest

                      The Clear Flour seeded deli rye is better overall, IMHO, than WPF's, though WPF's crust is a tad better. It's available every day. Their dark German rye is one of the best breads available in Boston and it's available, I think, 4 days a week. You can check their website. They also make a Porter Pumpernickel, which I've only had once, that's available on like Wednesday or Thursday only. It was very good.

                    2. Have you ever tried Bazaar on Cambridge St. in Allston ? It's a Russian supermarket and has a big selection of breads , including rye breads. The breads there are more of the Lithuanian/ Russian variety rather than New York, but they're pretty good. Very different from When Pigs Fly New York Rye though, which I agree is great.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: nachovegas

                        Those Russian ryes are really not the same as NY rye ideal for a sandwich.

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          Back in the day, Dershowitz opened a deli in Harvard Square bemoaning the fact that, as far as he was concerned, there was no good Jewish rye in this region, which he believed was the reason why there was no good deli. That said, the rye at Hi-Rise is delicious though it has nothing to do with NY style ryes; as a rye bread, the Hi-Rise version is spectacular.


                      2. If you can get to Worcester Widoffs has great rye bread. Or, call and see if anyone in Boston sells it fresh.

                        1. Sorry to bump this, but I'm gearing up for some turkey leftovers.

                          I'm looking for seeded rye with a nice crust and soft, pale interior. Is the WPF NY rye the way to go for this? Or Iggy's dark rye? Or Clear Flour? Or just get one of each? ;-)

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: emannths

                            Not Iggy's nor WPF. They are very different from the classic NY deli rye. So expect some disappointment.

                            1. re: emannths

                              I'd pick Clear Flour's seeded deli rye as the most traditional deli bread. WPF is crustier and a little heartier.

                              CF's deli rye should be available every day. The dark German rye is really, really good but it's only available on T, Th and weekends.

                              1. re: lergnom

                                Agreed - Clear Flour is the closest in the area to real traditional Jewish rye. When Pigs Fly is a good bread but heavier and whole-grainier than your classic deli rye.

                                1. re: BobB

                                  Also more sour, and the completely wrong crumb. It has the moistness, but the wrong crumb. And it's too squat in form.

                                  1. re: BobB

                                    Thanks everyone--the CF deli rye was a big hit. I think my mom ate half a loaf before the turkey was ready.

                                    1. re: emannths

                                      Fantastic! Thanks for reporting back.

                              2. Get the WPF, it's the closest to what you are looking for and very tasty.

                                1. just fyi, WPF makes a terrific and addictive Sauerkraut Rye which is dark and dense and moist. Hoping they're going to start carrying it again in the Davis Sq. store. a number of us have been clamoring for it since it went out of rotation a few months ago.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                    WPF's ny rye is closest to my brooklyn ny rye - i love cf, but find the dark german rye a very different bread from a ny jewish rye and the regular deli rye too light in flavor and texture. i disagree with Karl S.: I find it neither sour nor the wrong crumb or shape: merely a bit heavier. Kupfel's, which makes almost nothing well, makes a decent sissel rye of a softer textue (not my cup of tea but not a bad bread). I love all of iggy's breads, but none of them resembles a ny rye.

                                    1. re: teezeetoo

                                      I have to say that, while I've not lived in NY for the past 28 years (though I visit family several times a year), in all that time, plus the 22 years before that, I've never encountered a Jewish deli rye in the boroughs, Manhattan, NJ or CT burbs that is like the WPF NY Rye. That doesn't mean there couldn't be examples, but generally the crumb is much tighter than WPF's. The moistness comes from using rye with first clear flour and altus, not from the higher proportion of water that the more open crumb of WPF's rye reveals. Also, the tighter crumb means the bread has enough structure to be more evenly formed for use in sandwiches, less flattened than WPF's. The crust is also not quite right.

                                      Btw, I like the WPF rye. I just would never confuse it with classic NY Jewish deli rye.

                                  2. I like the Jewish rye from Butcher Boy in North Andover.

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: phatchris

                                      The Milton Marketplace carries Iggys, and several other options. Has anyone tried Dressers Deli in Randolph? You will never need to travel to Brookline again. Or New York, for that matter. Amazing stuff.

                                      1. re: dmullin699

                                        I'm going to comment on an old thread. I grew up in the NY/NJ area. I remember rye breads that had a little paper union label that I believe was baked on the loaf.

                                        Clear Flour's deli rye comes closest to that style of rye bread. However, my father lived in Montreal for a while, and what is called "corn bread" there, and called "corn rye bread" in the states, is a lot better IMHO. For that, WPF rye bread is a better match.

                                        Panera's stone-milled rye is also a good bread, although not of the Jewish Deli style.

                                        1. re: jira

                                          I lived in Coolidge Corner in the early 80s, and there were a couple of Jewish bakeries that sold what was then called "Polish corn bread" - I think that's the same as you're describing. It was a tart sourdough rye with a fairly dense, moist texture, so, yes, WPF's bread is probably the closest match, although still not quite it.

                                          1. re: Allstonian

                                            jira, this post always pushes my "nostalgia" button" do you remember real pumpernickel with the flour and the label on the bottom? Pletzel bread and warm bialis? Growing up in Brooklyn I honestly didn't realize until I went out of NY to college that people ate packaged bread. The first time someone served wonder bread in a bread basket at school I thought it was fit for spit balls and not much else. Haven't changed my opinion.

                                            1. re: teezeetoo

                                              I grew up in NJ, but we frequently went to Manhattan. There were two Kossar's Bialy Bakeries, on on 14th St and I think the other around 20th. My aunt lived in Stuyvesant Town, so a stop for bialies was part of the trip. Likewise, my father, who owned a children's clothing store (aka "Kiddie Shop", a rather weird name IMHO) frequently hit the wholesale Schmata stores on Sunday. And although they were more uptown, he always used the Holland Tunnel so he'd be near Kossars.

                                              My father, BTW, was born in Bialystok and lived in Montreal in his 20s and 30s. Great culinary heritage.

                                              1. re: jira

                                                Only one Kossar's left, on Grand Street, and whether it is memory or reality, it isn't as good to me, though I still stop in when I'm in NYC. At home, I've mastered my grandmother's pletzel bread (my mother called it onion board) but never the bialy, alas! And what a heritage you have jira: a genuine Bialystoker!

                                                1. re: teezeetoo

                                                  I'm actually a double Bialystoker: my father met my mother at a dance at the Bialystoker Center. Kossars is under new ownership (probably over a decade ago) and is not as good as I remember. Mimi Sheraton's book "THE BIALY EATERS The Story of a Bread and a Lost World" has a recipe, but I don't think it works.

                                          2. re: jira

                                            I agree with jira. Also When Pigs Fly's rye bread is somewhere in the vicinity of Jewish rye. Their pumpernickel, however, is its own creature.

                                            1. re: lergnom

                                              I just have to say this: I LOOOOOVE WPF. Even though I only regularly eat their Dark Rye, and Sauerkraut Rye (as regularly as they make it, that is, unfortunately) I still am a huge admirer of their product and delighted to see the varieties they create. A real New England treasure. Some take WPF for granted, but if they travelled much,they would quickly realize how lucky we are to have them.

                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                Barry's Deli in Newton has good loaves of rye bread. I usually get the marble.

                                      2. Somewhat related, as a NY/NJ expat I grew up on Grossinger's Rye, this is slightly OT as this is was a commercially available loaf you find in supermarkets, not produced in a Mom & Pop bakery.

                                        I was at Karl's new outpost yesterday and I stumbled across a loaf of Rudolf's "Bavarian Rye Bread" (Bayerische Brotzeit) and it seemed, just by a gentle squeeze of the package, that this loaf was was going to be very similar to what I grew up with, I took it home and it was ( although the crust is a bit softer).

                                        Looking at Rudolf's website, it looks like that they also have versions of what I would consider a more "traditional " Jewish rye too, heartier crust and tighter, more dense crumb. The link to Rudolf's site is below ( They are based out of Toronto) and while I found this gem at Karl's ( Sausage Kitchen, Peabody), I would expect that it's available at other places locally as well.

                                        Rudolph's Bakeries:

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Food4Thought

                                          you remind me that a decent packaged rye (polish or lithuanian in style) can be found at Lamberts in Dorchester - I think it is packaged by "alice" and made locally

                                          1. re: Food4Thought

                                            WF sells the square shaped very thin dense Rudolph's multigrain in their freezer section and i loooove it, but i have to put on the darkest toast to firm up enough for me; then it's kate's and kosher salt. yummmmmola. TrJ has a similar product too.

                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                              Not Jewish rye, but Polish/Lithuanian style at Baltic Deli near Andrew Square - also very good frozen pieorgkis and cheese babka

                                          2. My favorite rye bread these days—including what I'm able to get in New York now—comes from the Pittsfield Rye Bakery in Western Massachusetts (they're actually on the Lenox border now, behind the Guido's Market on Route 7). A superb seeded rye that brings back memories of the ones my family used to get from Zaro's with the paper union label stuck to it. Pittsfield Rye also makes unbaked loaves that they sell to several supermarket chains for in-store baking, but the ones I've gotten at Big Y stores are not as good as what Pittsfield Rye bakes and sells themselves. http://pittsfieldrye.com/

                                            The next-best alternative I've found is the seeded rye baked and sold at Wegmans in Northborough. It's certainly worth trying if you have an excuse to visit Wegmans.

                                            1. The type of rye bread that I am always looking for is a large heavy round or oval shaped loaf, very dark shiny crust, very dense dark moist crumb, slightly sour rye taste. It's not the square presliced packaged volkornnbrot, though I like that too, and it's not the softer floppy sliced bread sold as pumpernickel. I have bought this type of bread in Alsace, Bavaria and Hungary, and I believe it's very common in Germany. Has anyone seen it here?

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: cassis

                                                Has anyone tried the International Bakery in Watertown?


                                                1. re: bear

                                                  International Bakery does mostly Russian style breads that are okay, but not the style folks are describing. Decent bread, but nothing really that special.

                                                2. re: cassis

                                                  Clear Flour does several German-style breads, including a German rye (although the "touch of honey" suggests that it may not have that sour rye flavor you're looking for.) They also bake a (NOT pre-sliced!) Vollkornbrot and a Leinsamenbrot (flax seed bread.)

                                                  I'm also intrigued by the description of their porter pumpernickel, which I don't think I've ever tried. Not to mention the soft German pretzels they're now offering on weekends - since when???? I need to check this out!


                                                  1. re: Allstonian

                                                    Sweet Mandel (sweetmandel.com) makes wonderful german pretzels, pretzel rolls, sour dough rye, gorgeous german things, for delivery - they bake from home in Newton. Lovely ladies too.