The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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dmsnyder's picture

Greenstein's Sour Rye

Greenstein's Sour Rye

Greenstein's Sour Rye Crumb

Greenstein's Sour Rye Crumb


Back in May, 2007, there was an extended discussion about Greenstein's book and how come he provided only volume and not any weight measurements for ingredients. For anyone interested in that discussion, the link is:

I have made Jewish Sour Rye from Greenstein's recipe many times. It's one of my favorite breads. But, although I always weigh ingredients when the recipe gives weights, I have always made this bread according to the volume measurements in the book – that is, with adjustments to achieve the desired dough characteristics.

Today, I actually weighed the ingredients and can provide them for those who get all upset when they encounter a recipe that instructs them to use, for example, “4 to 5 cups of flour.” By the way, if you make this bread using ingredient weights, and the dough doesn't seem right, I advise you to add a little bit more water or flour accordingly. (Irony intended.)


750 gms Rye Sour

480 gms First Clear Flour

240 gms Warm Water (80-100F)

12 gms Sea Salt

7 gms Instant Yeast

½ cup Altus (optional but recommended)

1 Tablespoon Caraway Seeds

Cornmeal for dusting the parchment or peel.

Cornstarch glaze for brushing the breads before and after baking.


  1. If you have a white rye sour, build it up to a volume of 4 cups or so the day before mixing the dough. If you do not have a rye sour but do have a wheat-based sourdough starter, you can easily convert it to a white rye starter by feeding it 2-3 times with white rye flour over 2-3 days.

  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the yeast in the water, then add the rye sour and mix thoroughly with your hands, a spoon or, if using a mixer, with the paddle.

  3. Stir the salt into the flour and add this to the bowl and mix well.

  4. Dump the dough onto the lightly floured board and knead until smooth. If using a mixer, switch to the dough hook and knead at Speed 2 until the dough begins to clear the sides of the bowl (8-12 minutes). Add the Caraway Seeds about 1 minute before finished kneading. Even if using a mixer, I transfer the dough to the board and continue kneading for a couple minutes. The dough should be smooth but a bit sticky.

  5. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

  6. Transfer the dough back to the board and divide it into two equal pieces.

  7. Form each piece into a pan loaf, free-standing long loaf or boule.

  8. Dust a piece of parchment paper or a baking pan liberally with cornmeal, and transfer the loaves to the parchment, keeping them at least 3 inches apart so they do not join when risen.

  9. Cover the loaves and let them rise until double in size. (About 60 minutes.)

  10. Pre-heat the oven to 375F with a baking stone in place optionally. Prepare your oven steaming method of choice.

  11. Prepare the cornstarch glaze. Whisk 1-1/2 to 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch in ¼ cup of water. Pour this slowly into a sauce pan containing 1 cup of gently boiling water, whisking constantly. Continue cooking and stirring until slightly thickened (a few seconds, only!) and remove the pan from heat. Set it aside.

  12. When the loaves are fully proofed, uncover them. Brush them with the cornstarch glaze. Score them. (3 cuts across the long axis of the loaves would be typical.) Transfer the loaves to the oven, and steam the oven.

  13. After 5 minutes, remove any container with water from the oven and continue baking for 30-40 minutes more.

  14. The loaves are done when the crust is very firm, the internal temperature is at least 205 degrees and the loaves give a “hollow” sound when thumped on the bottom. When they are done, leave them in the oven with the heat turned off and the door cracked open a couple of inches for another 5-10 minutes.

  15. Cool completely before slicing.


  • Comparing Greenstein's recipe to Norm's, the former is a wetter dough and also has a higher proportion of rye sour to clear flour. Both recipes make outstanding sour rye bread. Interestingly, Greenstein says, if you want a less sour bread, use less rye sour.
  • Having never weighed Greenstein's ingredients before, I've never even thought about baker's percentages and the like. FYI, the rye sour is 156% of the clear flour. A rough calculation of the ratio of rye to clear flour indicates that this bread is a "50% rye."



Traci's picture

So!  This time there were numerous changes in my method.

1. Ingredients were weighed instead of measured by volume

2. The dough was kneaded longer

3. I paid strict attention to the time - 

   a.1.5 to 2 hour ferment

   b. 20 minute rest

   c. proof for 60-90 minutes

   d. bake for 35-45 minutes, rotating 180 degrees midway

4. Brushed the top with egg wash

5. Scored the loaf



sandwich loaf #2

sandwichloaf #2 cut 


Is my loaf pan is too big for that much dough? It says to use an 8.5in x 4.5in loaf pan and mine are 9x5.  Doesn't seem like that would be that much of a difference. It did rise very well, it just rose out and not so much up.  Kinda like me!

This loaf tastes really creamy.  It also smells really good.  (Wait does bread baking ever not smell good?) Good thing even bread mistakes taste great!  The french toast I made from this same loaf last week was really good. I think this loaf will be utilized that way also!




ahhoefel's picture

Today I baked my first loaf that came from a real recipe; Reinhart's pain de campagne. I had attempted a version of pain a l'ancienne before I had the book in my hands, but found it hard to shape. After reading the real recipe, I found that this is how the dough is intended to be --- pulled instead of shaped in a traditional way. 

The loafs made with the pain de campagne recipe were very easy to shape. I was able to tighten the skin quite readily and when I scored it, the bread peeled away from the cut nicely. The cuts are almost too deep.

So here are a few questions I have:

  • How big should a boule be? This one is 10oz and I found it rather small. I made 2oz buns along with this that also seemed small.
  • Also, how deep should the cuts be?  These seem disproportionately large for such a small loaf.

Cheers, Andrew.

 Pain de campagne from Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice. This is my first attempt at a loaf from this book, as well as my first post.

nbicomputers's picture

norms roll 2

Just got back from the suppler.

picked up everything but the shortening dam i forgot it ill get it in a week or so i do have enough on hand to het stared for the holidays

just so it was not a lost day i made these

norms roll

roll crumb

 i made a video showing the way to shape  but it did not come out well i will edit it and post it i guess to you tube and link to it latter.

when you see the vid note thst the thumb does not move or come out of the roll untill the last fold. about 1/3 to 1/2 of the dough is folded over the thumb. you will also see that each bloomed in the oven and is  not atached to the other folds. by the look you can tell the roll is hand shapped and not cut or stamped. rye flour helps this with out it the roll will look like the shape is cut into the dough rather than formed.

Robin_Sun's picture

Sprouted Wheat Sourdough

My wife started an anti-arthritis diet that called for wheat only in a sprouted form so I revived my interest in sprouted wheat bread. I notice there are recipes for 100% sprouted wheat bread on the internet but they used a blender. My suggestion is to use a meat grinder to process the sprouted wheat. The meat grinder does not get the wheat as finely ground as regular flour but it works very well and you get a little exercise in the process. Plus you can make large batches of dough. We bought our meat grinder from Leman’s online catalog. It’s called a Porkert, which gives us a laugh as vegetarians. I use a sourdough starter but I have had trouble with big loaves not getting completely cooked in the middle so I’ve reverted to making bread sticks, which I love. After the initial sponge has risen, I use some non-wheat flour like rye or rice when I kneed the bread. I like the sweetness that the sprouted wheat gives the bread and I enjoy watching the wheat berries coming to life. I put them in the sun at the end to get a little solar energy. This has been a fun process for me drawing on experiments from my hippie days. If anyone has suggestions, it would be much appreciated.

Eli's picture

I finally found time to make Maggie Glezer's levain challah, the taste is amazing, rich, creamy and seems the longer it sits the sweeter it becomes. I didn't get the crumb I had tried to achieve but this is the first attempt. The dough was easy to work with and it worked great with my motherdough levain. It has a very unique taste which I think may be a result of the sourdough and the honey.

This has to be my favorite for a natural levain Challah. The yeasted version is PR's Challah in Crust & Crumb.


Maggie Glezer Challah (all four photos)



Bob F's picture
Bob F

Ihave tried several of the bread recipes in the Fr. Dominic book series with poor results.

 My most recent attempt produced a very dry, dense, tough bread which tasted OK but was very disappointing. I ate theree slices the rest went in the waste can.

 I must be doing something wrong because I can't believe that anyone could win a state Fair Prize with this loaf as claimed in the book.

 Can anyone share some comments as to why I seem to get such poor results?

   Bob F

ehanner's picture

4 Pound Onion Rye
4 Pound Onion Rye

The image doesn't give the scale of this loaf justice. This was the last batch I baked today and I wanted to make a statement. I mixed 8 Pounds of Sour Rye starting with 1000 grams of rye sour that had 5% WW included. I stayed with the rye percentage of my usual loaf. Staying with my theme of onion rye breads with various seed combinations, onion and garlic chips. I made 2 2lb loaves in bannetons and one 4Lb loaf free form. Managing the slack dough from counter to pan was a trick let me tell you. Once it's down on the parchment, that's it, you don't get a second chance to adjust it.

This might be a little dark for some people but I'm shooting for a crispy crunchy hearty loaf that's loaded with after taste. I haven't cut into it yet but it smells really good.

I also baked 2 loaves of SD with Onions today similarly topped with abundant seeds and what not. That was just my daily bread with the dough made up with onion water and a handful of re hydrated onions in the dough. My daughter who says she doesn't like onions is drooling over her 3rd piece. Here's a close up.
SD-Onion close
SD-Onion close

So it was a fun day of baking. That re hydrated onion trick I learned from Norm is a real winner!
Thanks Norm !



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