Rye bread is not for wimps. The dense chewy texture is for bread lovers who like hearty complexity in every bite. Baker Simo Kuusisto started selling his Finnish ruis bread — a dark sourdough — via mail order four years ago, and now you can find it in New York at Whole Foods, Dean & DeLuca and Fairway, in addition to farmers’ markets. The bread comes in different shapes and sizes, such as large and small flat disks, but the mini loaves are my favorite. They come in three flavors: regular, cranberry and sunflower seed. I like the slight acidity and sweetness that the cranberries add to the high-fiber rye loaf. One of the great things about Finnish ruis is that it keeps forever, as sourdough is a natural preservative. Kuusisto suggests freezing the bread and just popping it into the toaster, which is a good way to soften it and create an oven-fresh effect.
I like to play with the sweet and savory concept and top the bread with my spicy jalapeño hummus. This may sound like an unusual pairing, but the cranberry and the rye bread stand strong and complement the spicy and savory spread.