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Rye sourdough starter: a question

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davidg618's picture
davidg618

Rye sourdough starter: a question

I'm about ready to tackle rye breads made with a sourdough starter, but I have a question.


I've been reading Hamelman's Bread, and he poses two ways to make a rye sourdough starter: one begins with an established starter--presumedly, all white flour; the second way begins by making a rye sourdough starter from scratch. I have an all white sourdough starter I'm happy with, but somehow it seems I might be cheating myself converting, rather than creating a rye starter. Please offer your facts, opinions and comments.


Thanks beforehand,


David G

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I just asked Eric about this. He said to do a couple of feeding of your regular starter (i.e., make a rye starter out of part of it) with rye and then let it sit out on the counter for about 24 hours.


--Pamela

xaipete's picture
xaipete

David, you have PR's books don't you? He talks about converting a white to a rye in his whole grain book. But it is really a simple process. You just start feeding your starter with a rye for a while. Then you can convert it back if you want. But why not keep two going for a while!


--Pamela

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Remember, I ran a poll. Hamelman's Bread emerged the single book I think I needed to buy. I did. Based on the advice, so far, I think I'll convert a bit of the starter I have. I'm very happy with it.


David G.

suave's picture
suave

How do you store your starter?  If you store it in fridge it would take about the same amount of time and flour to wake up and convert the starter and to grow a new one.  So in this case I'd say - go with a new starter.  If you store it at room temperature it will be much easier to convert.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

It took me a couple of weeks to get my first starter going. Or am I not understanding you?


I'm just suggesting taking part of the discard and feeding it rye for a few days.


--Pamela

suave's picture
suave

Three-four days - that's what it always takes me.  I assume that for anyone who has done it once growing a new starter won't take longer than that.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hi David,


I just made Hamelman's 40% rye for the first time recently and loved Loved LOVED it.  I've been making it ever since.  I have an onion version fermenting right now.  Anyway, I was so taken with the whole rye deal that I dried and froze my other starters just to get them out of the way.  For my first foray I used 17g of my mixed grain starter to end up with 680g of rye starter.  Seems a pretty miniscule bit of non-rye to start with, but I suppose purists could squawk about different bacteria and/or yeasts and I may get to a purer experiment in time.  I personally don't get a lot of the really subtle differences that some observe - could be my less than controlled kitchen area.  Anyway, the point is, I used my regular starter to get going and it worked great and the flavour is fantastic.  I've moved over to maintaining that culture exclusively.  I only bake with wild yeast (except for Danish :-) and when I'm doing a white bread I go the opposite way, I start with a tiny bit of the rye starter and elaborate it out to a white starter.  Or, if the bread calls for 10% rye, which I often like in my white breads, I include that 10% rye flour in the form of starter. 


:-Paul


 

Alpine's picture
Alpine

My bakery makes sourdough old world black bread, dark rye, light rye, and blue cheese walnut. All these ryes contain some wheat flour.

Just to see if it made a difference, I used my regular 90 yo starter to inoculate a rye starter, it thrived on rye flour.

Since the microorganisms in the starter remain the same regardless of what they feed on, there was little or no difference in taste in the light and dark ryes using rye instead of wheat starter.

We use about 150 lbs of sourdough starter for each bake, and I was really hoping the rye starter would do something special for the rye breads...it really didn't. I discontinued the rye starter because it just wasn't worth the extra expense.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Peter Reinhart says much the same thing in his book on whole grain breads.


You don't need to use a rye starter to make rye bread unless you want to.


--Pamela

suave's picture
suave

I imagine in a bakery setting every bit of starter gets used, there's no waste.  So how does work out that you incur additional expense from second starter?  Is it simply from extra labor and equipment?

davidg618's picture
davidg618

As I said above, based on your consensus, I used my established starter, and converted a small portiion to enough rye starter for this bake.  Made Hamelman's 40% rye with caraway. Yvonne and I both like it. It's been years since I've had any really good rye bread--NY deli--so I've nothing to compare it to.




Thank you all for the good advice.


David G

Pablo's picture
Pablo

It looks perfect to me.  Beautiful crumb.  Now a good mustard and some pastrami...


:-Paul

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I already tried it with swiss cheese, and home-cured ham. Ahh--h-h-h!


D G

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Nice loaves, David. Pretty darn good for a 1st try. I have a question on your scoring. Why did you score horizontally rather than vertically?


--Pamela

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Pamela,


I got the idea from The Village Baker, p. 201, as a recommended scoring for a Jewish-Style Rye Bread. It seemed to me the athwartships scoring would maximize spring along the bread's long axis, and upwards. Although its only a 40% rye, 68% hydration, the dough is fairly slack, and flattened a little as soon as I transferred it to the peel for loading. I was relying on ovenspring to give me the desired volume. I feel I got it.


David G

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Beautiful shaping, scoring and crumb.


The transverse scoring is traditional with Jewish Sour Rye. The French traditionally use a "sausage cut" or "chevron cut." All of these encourage upward expansion during oven spring and a resulting round cross section. The rationale that Suas gives is that rye breads, having less CO2-trapping gluten and don't have the oven spring that wheaten breads do and require those cuts to prevent the loaves from ending up too flat.


David

davidg618's picture
davidg618

praise from you is inspiring. I have a couple of question for you.


You can see in the photos there is a coating of white flour covering the loaves, and I don't like it. This is from the couche. I'm reluctant to try to brush it off before scoring and baking, but it's firmly in place after baking. I also think it interferes with browning. I use course brown rice flour in my brotforms,less of it seems to cling to the dough,. and it seems to brush off more easily after baking. However, I've been reluctant to try it on the couche because it's a bit more messy--scatters on the counters when I roll up the couche to put it away. (Although I imagine there is a perpeptual cloud of flour in the kitchen's air since I started this obsessive baking.) Have you any suggestions how I can minimize, or even eliminate the coating of flour I get on all my loaves when I use the couche for proofing?


Also, Ortiz, in The Village Baker, instructs using an egg wash glaze on Jewish-style rye. Is that also traditional? I vaguely recall egg-washed crust on bread we bought from local bakers when I was a child, but I don't recall if it was rye bread.


 


David G

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi , David


I proof rye breads either in a brotform or on a baking parchment paper couche.


When I do proof on a linen couche, I generally use a very light dusting of AP flour, which I massage into the fabric. I use a heavier dusting only for very high hydration doughs that are very sticky.


My couche is made from a treated linen that is supposed to be non-stick. I know I paid a premium for this, but it works really well. I can't compare it to "regular" bakers' linen.


The traditional Jewish Sour Rye is brushed with a cornstarch glaze before and after baking. To make it, dissolve 2 T cornstarch in 1/4 cup cold water. Pour this gradually into 1 cup of slowly boiling water, whisking constantly. Cook until it reaches the desired thickness (a very few seconds, generally).


David

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Until now, I've only been using parchment paper to bake on, and since buying a smart peel, I've stopped preferring placing the loaves directly on the heated stone. I will try that next time, in lieu of the linen couche. I treat mine, exactly as you do with AP flour, but perhaps I'm being a little more heavy handed than you.


Thanks for the information re the corn starch glaze. I'd heard of it, but have never used it, and didn't know the water/startch ratio nor that it's to be applied before and after baking. I'll try that next time too.


David G.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Yes, thanks, David. I figured you would have the answer to my question and that the transverse scoring was probably traditional.


--Pamela

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

First try, those are awesome. I've saved this and I don't think I've made it yet. Guess I better get going. Thanks for the inspiration.


Betty

shellee888's picture
shellee888

Here in West Oakland, where my kitchen clock says the relative humidity is 70% and the temperature is usually 67 degrees, I made my first flour/water starter using red mills dark rye starter as follows: 100% hydration 1/2 cup dark rye and water in an Ikea plastic container with a Bounty paper towl taped across the top.  I was shocked when I removed the paper after 24 hours to see beautiful bubbles.  My loaves are sour.


As a complete newbie to sourdough starters I am convinced that it's my weather, just like the weather across the bay where Boudin is located, that makes starters so easy.  It is my understanding from my training as a property inspector that the necessary humidity for molds to thrive is 70% (for example, the mold spores on a piece of wood will wake up and start eating at 70% humidity of the wood - which I know I'm not articulating exactly correctly, but I hope you get my point). I am going to take my starter to Pine Grove (Sierra foothills) next week and see what it does up there.  And I'll bring my kitchen clock to take some data.  And anyone who wants some of my starter should let me know.

gcook17's picture
gcook17

Here in Mountain View, across the bay from Oakland, it must be a lot dryer or something, because when I was trying to start my first starter it failed 9 times before I got a starter going.  I was using Reinhart's procedure in the BBA.  I went through a lot of spring water and organic pineapple juice.  I tried King Arthur pumpernickel, medium rye and whole wheat flour from Whole Foods and elsewhere.  Finally I saw some pretty crusty looking cracked wheat in an Indian grocery store and tried that with pineapple juice.  Voila!  It's still alive and thriving today.  Anyway the moral is: If after nine times you don't succeed, try, try again.