The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rye (40%) with Caraway

SteveB's picture
November 4, 2006 - 5:25pm -- SteveB

Formula from Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes"


Paddyscake's picture
Submitted by Paddyscake on

That looks very good!! How was it?

SteveB's picture
Submitted by SteveB on

Thanks.  It had a subtly sweet, almost nutty flavor with just a hint of caraway (I cut back quite a bit on the caraway seeds from the original formula).  The crust was crisp and the crumb had a nice 'toothiness' to it.  It made one great ham sandwich with whole grain mustard!   

JMonkey's picture
Submitted by JMonkey on


Your rye is beautiful, btw. I was wondering whether you follow Hammelman's formula and add instant yeast, or whether you let the sourdough do its own thing? I love rye breads, but find I don't make them that often and I'm curious as to why so many of the rye sourdough recipes I see call for yeast.

I usually follow the recipes and, unlike the other "hybrid" sourdoughs I've made, the rye sourdough with added yeast actually has a nice crisp tang to it. I ought to try it without the yeast one day, but just haven't.

SteveB's picture
Submitted by SteveB on


Thanks for the compliments.  I did, indeed, follow Hamelman's formula and added a bit of instant yeast to produce a "hybrid" dough.  One day, I plan on trying the formula using only sourdough culture but right now, it's way too cold in my kitchen for that! 

JMonkey's picture
Submitted by JMonkey on

I hear you. We haven't seen 32 degrees F here in New England for well over a week, but that's cold comfort (har!) to those of you in the upper Midwest, where creeping above zero would be positively balmy. My wife and I just narrowly escaped Oswego, NY last Saturday morning before the big storm hit (my wife was up there for a job interview). Since then they've gotten more than 6 feet of snow.


I suspect that it may be that rye ferments so very well, that allowing the sourdough to work all alone would produce a very sour bread. I remember working out the multiplication factor for the creation of the rye sourdough in his recipes, and was stunned to see that he was increasing the amount of flour in the starter by up to 30 times! So I guess rye sourdough is just plenty powerful stuff ....

pmccool's picture
Submitted by pmccool on

SteveB and JMonkey,


I made a batch of basic sourdough from BBA a couple of weeks back, replacing 50% of the white flour with rye flour.  The starter was the only leavening.  The loaves, which I shaped into boules and baked on a stone, didn't have a spectacular rise.  Perhaps I could have left them to ferment a little longer and perhaps they can't help but being heavier with that high a percentage of rye flour.  In spite of that, they are delicious (I just finished eating a ham sandwich made from the loaf that had been stashed in the freezer).  The crumb texture is very even, with small bubbles, and chewy.  Sliced thin, it's great in sandwiches or with hearty winter soups. 


The flavor is mildly sour, rather than intensely so.  Partly due to the character of my starter and partly due to cool temps in the kitchen during the final rise, I suppose.  In any event, yes, you can make a successful sourdough rye without adding yeast, unless you need to goose the final rise for schedule reasons.  Enjoy!



SteveB's picture
Submitted by SteveB on

In the 40% rye dough used for the bread shown above, there is enough gluten present that a small amount of instant yeast added along with the rye sourdough can act to improve the loaf's volume and crumb structure.  With high percentage rye doughs, however, yeast is typically not needed.  Loaf structure is dense and most of the flavor comes from the rye sourdough.  Care needs to be taken that the dough does not become too acidic, hence the short (10-20 min.) first fermentation times for 90-100% rye doughs.    

xma's picture
Submitted by xma on

Your rye bread is beautiful!  Hamelman's 40% was my first attempt at rye bread, which I tried before ever seeing your photos.  Boy, am I jealous when I saw your photo because my scoring is nowhere like yours, in fact it barely blossomed at all! It ended up being a pathetic, maybe less than an inch wide, down the middle which of course flattened out and became one sorry line.  Modesty aside, I don't think it's my scoring per se that's the problem, but the bread itself.  Maybe it's because I added a bit more flour, thinking I used regular unbleached instead of high-gluten (because I can't find any)?  I know you've said you followed Hamelman's formula.  Did you follow proofing times as well? I would appreciate any advice you could give.  Thanks.