Rye probably originated from the mountains of North Africa and
the Near and Middle East, evolving as a food crop about 3,000 BC.
It is able to withstand colder climates than wheat and by the 16th
century was used for bread making in Russia and Northern Europe
as well as in Britain. Very little rye is now grown in Britain.
With only a low gluten content, rye flour must be mixed with wheat
flour to produce a good quality bread. However, the flour can be
used for baking rye crispbreads, or the flaked grain used in health
foods. Rye is also malted for rye whiskey.