Rye flour came up in a recent thread, and I thought it convenient for everyone if I started a separate thread devoted to just rye. This way you can cut and paste it to a document if you wish to save it for future reference.
From my books so far, I have gleaned that:
RL Barenbaum in her Bread Bible discusses it in 2 paragraphs towards the end of the book but leaves quite a bit left unsaid. She does not specify what type should be used in her recipes although Leader and Hamelman do.
Peter Reinhart in his last 2 bks has said rather little on the topic.
Daniel Leader in his recent bk Local Breads points out the following:
- Most rye flour sold in the US is whole, with none of the germ and bran sifted out. To confuse matters, it is labeled not 'whole' but medium, to distinguish it from pumpernickel flour, which is a more coarsely ground whole rye flour. Unless otherwise noted, whole rye labeled 'medium' or fine is called for in the recipes in his book.
- Medium flour has some grit from the bits of bran
- Fine rye flour will be more powdery. You can use pumpernickel flour in the recipes that call for rye flour, but your breads will be a little darker than breads made with medium or fine rye flour.
- White rye flour, from which the bran and germ have been sifted, used in lighter Polish and Czech rye breads, is paler than whole rye, grayish white rather than gray. It is rarely available in stores but easily ordered by mail.
Hamelman in Bread discusses it at very considerable length and to summarize some of that says:
- That it is higher in bran, minerals and fiber than wheat
- Has more soluble sugars than wheat
- It is high in a substance called pentosans and amylase enzymes
- In Germany it is categorized by its ash content.
- In the US, one has far fewer choices of rye flour-usually sold only as white, medium,medium dark, and whole.
- White rye flour has little in the way of flavor or color, and is generally a poor choice in bread making.
- Medium rye is better, producing more nutrition and flavor.
- Whole rye flour is better yet in terms of flavor and food value. It is the rye flour of choice for most of the recipes in his book.
- Dark rye is the flour milled from the periphery of the grain. It tends to be coarse and sandy, to absorbe quite a lot of water and in general is difficult to work with.
- Pump0ernickel rye, often called rye meal, is just that: a coarse meal rather than a flour; it is made by milling the entire rye berry. It can substitute for whole-rye flour, the main diffence being the mealy consistency of pumpernickel.
- Rye chops, similar to the German Schrot in that the rye berry is chopped rather than ground, cracked rye, and whole rye berries.
Mike Avery has said in another thread that:
- In the USA, there are 4 commonly available rye flours. White rye, medium rye, dark rye and whole rye. As you move from white to whole, the taste of the rye becomes more intense, and the rye flour will reduce the rise of your bread. Medium rye is a good all-around rye. Good taste and you still get a good rise. However, in recent trips to the store, all I am finding is whole rye. Which will make a BIG difference in your recipes.
- Dark rye is the least well defined rye. In some cases it is whole rye. In others it is a lightly sifted whole rye. In others, it is the stuff that is left over after the medium rye has been sifted out of the whole rye.
- Also, rye has very little gluten in it, and what there is, is of very low qualty. Most bakers tend to develop the dough, form loaves and bake it as soon as it rises. Some bakers will tell you that a good loaf of white bread can sit for up to an hour after it has risen to it's optimum height and still bake up OK. This is called tolerance. The same bakers will tell you that a rye bread has about 6 minutes of tolerance.
Mike I did not ask you for this attribution but if you wish I will edit it out. Just let me know. Actually your discussion was the kernel that got me to start this thread.
Since so many people on the Forum are very experienced they are probably aware of all of the above. However there may be more aspects to rye flour than have been mentioned here. Since we have such an international make up of the forum others may have their own particular guidance to suggest.
I would start things off with two questions
- How is it that Hamelman bakes with 80% rye and more in his bread but some members here have said that one can not have more than 15%. It is possible that they are both right but referring have numbers refering to different things. Can some one clear this up for a Novice?
- Since nomenclature is rather loose when it comes to labeling and selling of rye, could someone tell me if they have ever used or know from experience about the flour that sells as:
Hodgson Mill All Natural, Stone Ground, Whole Grain Rye Flour