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Polish Ham Baked in Rye Crust Recipe


Polish Ham in Rye Crust

Polish Ham in Rye Crust

© 2009 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
This recipe for Polish ham baked in rye crust works best with a small boneless, fully cooked ham. A pit ham would be ideal and, in a pinch, a canned ham would also work. The crust is really not meant to be eaten. Its purpose is to impart flavor and help retain the juices. But it's certainly edible if you care to indulge.

Here's a larger photo of Polish ham baked in rye crust. Serve with horseradish sauce or mustard sauce.

Makes 6 to 8 servings of Polish Ham Baked in Rye Bread

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes


  • Dough:
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup warm water (no higher than 110 degrees)
  • 1/3 cup caraway seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dark molasses
  • 3 cups dark rye flour + 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cup (or more) all-purpose flour
  • .
  • Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • .
  • 1 small (up to 5 pounds) fully-cooked, boneless pit or canned ham


  1. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add caraway seeds and mix well. Let stand 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, make the glaze by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

  3. Add remaining 1/2 cup warm water, molasses, rye flour and salt to yeast mixture, mixing well. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead in as much all-purpose flour as necessary to make a soft, nonsticky dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 20 minutes.

  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll rye bread dough on a floured surface or lightly floured parchment paper to an 18x10-inch (or larger, as necessary) rectangle. Don't roll the dough too thinly because it will tear and the glaze will leak out during baking.

  5. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown sugar mixture in center of dough. Wipe away any gelatin from the ham and place on top of brown sugar. Sprinkle remaining brown sugar mixture over top of ham.

  6. Fold dough over ham, completely encasing it in a single layer of dough. Trim excess dough and pinch together to seal. You can make decorations, if you like, with the excess dough -- roses, leaves or a braided trim. Place seam side down on a rack in a shallow foil-lined baking pan. Brush with a lightly beaten egg white.

  7. Bake 15 minutes per pound or until instant-read meat thermometer registers 140 degree. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with horseradish sauce or mustard sauce.
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