But America's very best deli rye? No contest. We found it in Ann Arbor, Michigan, when we noticed that the bread that Zingerman's Deli used to construct our Diana's Different Drummer sandwich (brisket, Russian dressing, coleslaw, and horseradish) was sensational. It comes from Zingerman's Bakehouse, which makes loaves of rugged rye that are dense and springy, laced with the taste of hearth smoke. Of the 500 or so loaves Zingerman's might bake in a day, about 20 or 30 are set aside to be sliced and mixed with water to become mash used in the next day's batch—a trick traditionally used by thrifty bakers who wanted to put day-old bread to use and turbocharge its flavor. This infusion of already risen and cooked bread combines with a high ratio of rye—to—regular wheat flour and a good measure of the rye-sour culture originally created when the bakeshop began to produce the great holy grail for rye bread lovers, in 1992. Comanaging partner Amy Emberling calls it "turn-of-the-century rye; Lower East Side American rye." Frank Carollo, the other comanaging partner, explains that their rye gets its firm, shiny crust because, after being mixed, rising, being shaped, and rising again (five hours in all), each loaf is brushed with water and baked in a chamber full of steam for five minutes. The steam is drawn out of the oven, and about 40 minutes later, when the bread is done and still hot, it is brushed with water again, creating a distinctive crinkly, crisp surface. It's a traditional technique that was common among Jewish bakers in New York City during the 1960s.