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Old Fashioned Bean Soup with Rye Bread

yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photoAs a really picky eater when I was a child, Old Fashioned Bean Soup with Rye Bread (almost) was one meal my mother could always count on me eating.  She made the best bean soup in the world and always served it with homemade bread.  Mom made really good bread, but I don’t recall her making rye bread.  I love rye bread and this is a not too heavy lighter rye bread that goes together really easily.  I make it the day before I make the soup and refrigerate it after its first rise.  Then it just has to be shaped, risen and baked so it is fresh with the soup.

It is necessary to use dry beans and not canned.  The beans have to be soaked to soften them so it doesn’t take so long to cook.  There are several ways to soak them.  They can be covered with water, and the vinegar, which keeps gastric distress to a minimum and bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes, turn off the heat and let them sit for one hour, after which you make the soup.  This results in a longer cooking time.  A second method is the one I use.  I put the dry beans in a pot and add about five or six inches of water.  I do this before I go to bed and in the morning they have swelled immensely which shortens the cooking time almost in half.  The beans on the left are dry and the ones on the right have been soaked overnight.  You can see  how much water they absorbed and how they swelled.yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photo

The Old Fashioned Bean Soup is really easy to make and by soaking the beans overnight you cut the cooking time from three hours to one and one half hours.  I used to wait until I had a ham bone to make this but with just the two of us now, that doesn’t occur very often.  I noticed one day that ham hocks or smoked shanks were available and reasonably priced.  I used the smoked shank which adds a great flavor and then pulled the meat from the bones and added it to the soup.

yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photoThe rye bread is just as easy.  The liquids are mixed and added to the flours and salt.  After it is beaten, it rises and at this point it can be refrigerated for finishing the next day.  I was talking to my son, Dirk and he reminded me how much he liked the Russian Rye Bread, which is a darker, denser bread he used to have with this soup.

I was at work last week and someone mentioned bean soup.  I hadn’t thought of it until then.  I went straight to the store on the way home and picked up what I needed.  Old Fashioned Bean Soup with Rye Bread was the perfect dinner while we watched ourselves being snowed in.  It can be troublesome to cool soup fast enough to get it into the fridge.  If you have a backyard full of snow, it’s a snap.  yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photo

yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photo

It’s also really good if you’re not snowed in!

Rye Bread
1 package active dry yeast (not rapid rise)
1/4 cup water (90 to 100 degrees)
3 1/4 cups bread flour (454 grams or 1 pound)
1 1/2 cups rye flour, preferably stone ground  (225 grams or 1/2 pound)
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon salt
2 to 2 1/4 cups water

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Set aside.

Combine the flours, caraway seed and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook if you have one.  Combine the yeast with 2 cups of the water and pour into the flour mixture.  Mix on low to combine, raise the speed to medium and beat 3 to 4 minutes to knead.  The dough should be soft and sticky.  Add more water if necessary.  I take the dough and divided it up several times during the beating as the top never seems to get kneaded unless you do.

Spray a bowl at least twice the size of the dough and place the dough in it.  Turn the dough over, cover the bowl, mark it with the time and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch it down and either refrigerate it for the next day or shape it immediately.yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photo

To shape it, turn the dough out so the bottom is facing you.  yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photoShape it into an oval and with the heel of  your hand make a deep indentation from top to bottom.  yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photoFold the dough in half along the indention, yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photopinching the edges together. yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photo Turn the loaf over and finish shaping it into an oval.  yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photoCover it with a towel and let it rise until doubled, about an hour.yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photo

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Slash the dough from about 1 inch from the top to one inch from the bottom.yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photo

yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photo

Bake it for 15 to 20 minutes until it picks up color.  Reduce the temperature to 375 and continue baking for 20 minutes or until the loaf sounds  hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Cool and enjoy!yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photo

Old Fashioned Bean Soupyeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photo
2 cups navy beans (454 grams or 1 pound)
1 teaspoon vinegar
Ham bone, ham hock or smoked shank
1 1/2 cups diced onion
2 cups diced celery
1 cup grated carrots
3 quarts water
1 large white potato, cut in 3/4 inch dice
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Wash the beans very well and pick over for shriveled ones or even rocks which I have found in the past.  Cover with lots of water, add the vinegar and soak overnight.  Drain well.

In a stockpot, combine the beans, bone, onions, celery, carrots and water.  yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photoBring to a boil, cover loosely and after about 15 minutes, skim off the foam that accumulates on top.  yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photo

yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photo

Repeat this in another 10 minutes.  Cover looselyyeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photo and cook at a very low boil or a simmer for 1 hour.

Add the potatoes, salt, pepper and thyme.  yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photoCook for another 20 to 25 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  If there is meat on the bone, shred it while picking it off and add to the soup.  Correct the salt.  I was surprised that I added another teaspoon or two of salt to bring up the flavor.  It will be very flat without it.

Yields:  Approximately 4 quarts.  The soup freezes well if  you have leftovers.

yeast bread soup Rye bread ham bread beans bean soup  food photo

4 comments to Old Fashioned Bean Soup with Rye Bread

  • Cop Car

    You had me scratching my head until you wrote that you didn’t recall your mother’s having made rye bread. Having spent only a small fraction of the time that you have spent eating your mother’s bread, I certaily don’t recall rye having been on her menu.

    Your Wichita niece makes bean soup that is very close to what your mother made; so, you can imagine that your brother loves to have her soup. Somewhere, I still have the recipe for bean soup that your mother wrote out for me. Mostly, though, I make the pinto bean soup on which I was raised, of course! Pintos nearly always have rocks among them.

    • Helen S. Fletcher

      I’ve found rocks in navy beans also. I never had a recipe for Mom’s soup. I just made it from memory of the taste. But love the rye bread with it. Dirk likes the Russian Rye which is much darker and deeper in flavor.

  • Kim

    Hi Helen, new to your blog and love bean soup yet have only made it turn out once in the past where it was flavorful and creamy. I’ll try your recipe this week for our Lenten soup supper at church. thanks.

    • Helen S. Fletcher

      Hi Kim and welcome. So glad you found me. This soup won’t be creamy unless you blend it or process it after cooking. Cool it first though. Also, be sure to adjust the salt at the end as it will need more. I add a little, taste, add a little more. Sometimes, I almost eat a bowl while correcting the seasoning. Please let me know how it comes out for you.