The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

100% rye sourdough

AnyAnnie's picture

100% Sourdough Rye not rising much, distressingly gummy.

September 10, 2012 - 1:29pm -- AnyAnnie

(An introduction before my plea for advice---I've been coming to The Fresh Loaf to learn from your helpfulness for almost six years now---and every one, from the first pita to the recentest baguettes ciabatta, has come out lovely to eat and lovely to learn from. After a recent trip north, I decided I wanted to learn to make 100% sourdough rye, and it's the first thing I've been stuck enough on to feel like I need to ask for help.)

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss


A little while ago Varda posted about her experiences with the Russian Rye from Andrew Whitley's Bread Matters, and there was a longish discussion of the formula.

I posted some photos of the process of making Russian Rye

Andy suggested to use the formula he remembers from his time with Andrew Whitley at the Village Bakery, and I had a closer look at a couple of German standard formulas.

At the end I baked 4 variations -

Russian Rye, Bread Matters version (100% Hydration, preferment 200% hydration, 31% flour from preferment)

Russian Rye, Andy's version (85% Hydration, preferment 167% hydration, 35% flour from preferment)

Single Step Detmolder (78% Hydration, preferment 80% hydration, 35% flour from preferment)

Berliner Kurz-Sauer (79% Hydration, preferment 100% hydration (fermented at 35C for 3.5 hours) , 50% flour from preferment)

Here a comparison of the crumb (pictures of the loaves can be found in the blogs referenced avove):


1. Russian Rye, Bread Matters Version

Rye31% 166g
Water62% 333g
Mature Starter10% 54g
Rye69% 370g
Water42% 225g
Salt1.50% 8g
Sourdough93% 499g
Yield206% 1106g

The surdough fermented for 14 hours at 24C, the paste is mixed and shaped with wet hands and is put directly into a buttered tin. (2X500g tins in my case)

After 2 hours the loaves were risen by about 25% and bubbles started to show, they were ready for the oven.

The bake: 10 minutes at 240C with steam, then 10 minutes at 225C, then 20 more minutes at 200C.

This bread neads a long rest before cutting, at least 24 hours. In my experience the taste is fully there after 3 days.

The crumb is moist and airy, and the bread has a light tang that gets stronger in time.

2. Russian Rye, Andy's Village Bakery version

Mature Starter10%58g

The process is pretty much the same as above.

The surdough fermented for 14 hours at 24C, the paste is mixed and shaped with wet hands and is put directly into a buttered tin. (2X500g tins in my case) This dough is much easier to handle than (1)

After 2 hours the loaves were risen by about 25% and bubbles started to show, they were ready for the oven.

The bake: 10 minutes at 240C with steam, then 10 minutes at 225C, then 20 more minutes at 200C.

This bread neads less rest before cutting than (1), but at least 24 hours.

The crumb is moist and still light, and the bread has a more rye-y taste than (1).

It is difficult to say which one I prefer, but the handling qualities make this one a better candidate for a production environment.

3. Single-Step Detmolder

This method uses a rye starter with typically 80% hydration which is kept at 24C to 28C for 12 hours. The mature starter can then be used in production for up to 6 hours, it doesn't starve quickly and is very robust.

I followed the formula from an earlier post of mine, using 100% rye.

Mature Starter6%36g
Yeast (fresh)1.00%6g

After mixing the paste ferments for 40min (80min without yeast), is shaped with wet hands and put in tins, and rests for another hour.

Baking as above.

The crumb is quite dense as compared with the othe two breads, and there is a distinctive tang.

4. Berliner Kurz-Sauer

This one is a bit unusual: The sourdough matures at high temperature (35C) inb a very short (kurz) time: 3.5 hours.

At this stage the sourdough is almost frothy, very light and fragile, and tastes fruity mild-sour. The aim is to have a lot of LAB producing lactic acid. Therefore this one relyes a bit more on added yeast for the lift.

Mature Starter10%55g
Yeast (fresh)1.00%5g

 After mixing the paste proofed for about 1 hour, is  then shaped with wet hands and put in tins.

At my ambient temperature (24C) the bread was ready for the oven after 2 hours of rest.

The crumb is clearly dryer than the other three breads, and after 24 hours the taste is quite bland.

But I like how this bread developed over time - I had the last bits yesterday - 7 days after the bake. The taste was still mild, with a well developed rye note.


These four breads are a bit like four different characters. And it's hard for me to say which one I would prefer.

Each of them change their character considerably over time.

If I would need some bread tomorrow I'd go with Andy's Russian or the Detmolder, they have a lot of complexity early on.

The Detmolder was the most sour of the four, and developed even more sourness over time.

The Berliner Kurz-Sour might be a good way to introduce people to this kind of bread due to its mildness, and it also goes well with more delicate toppings.

And the "Bread Matters" Russian has this amazing open texture.

The choice is really up to you.





Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi, This is The Making Of ...

Russian Rye

from Andrew Whitley's "Bread Matters.

Photos and timeline from refreshing the "production sourdough" to the finished bread are in this post (** Now with crumb shot **),

you can find notes about the formula here:

The kitchen was around 22C all the time.

Tuesday night, 23.09 hours: Took the mature culture from the fridge and mixed up the "production sourdough"

Mature culture:

Production sourdough right after mix at 23.14 hours:

Production sourdough at Wednesday, 6.09 hours: Quite frothy, but smelling not yet right

Another view:

The production sourdough at 11.58 hours, smelling and tasting fruity/sour, ready for mixing:

The paste, mixed, at 12.32 hours:

The paste shaped, in loaf tins at 12.36 hours:

Slightly overproofed (I had left the house for longer than I intended) at 16.40 hours, ready to go into the oven:

After the bake, at 17.22 hours:

No oven spring - as I said, the proof was on the long side.

Out of the tins:


Crumb shot at Thursday, 06.07 hours:

The crumb has not quite set at this time, the taste is very promising, but needs as well more time to develop.



MmeZeeZee's picture

100% Rye Sourdough not rising much

August 19, 2010 - 12:10pm -- MmeZeeZee

I did it once.  Haven't done it since.  I'm using Lepard's recipe and it worked a charm once (same flour, same levain), but hasn't worked since.  I am so disappointed.  I even had my oven's thermostat re-calibrated (by a professional--it's a free service).  This is the third time.  I am concerned that the bread crusts over before I put it in the oven.  I spray it well before putting it in, and again after five minutes, but it looks like there's hardly any oven spring!  And what spring there is, is from the bottom, so there is a ridge all along the bottom of the loaf.


josswinn's picture

First 100% Rye Sourdough, OK on the outside, hollow on the inside.

June 25, 2010 - 1:06pm -- josswinn


My first post here and my first 100% Rye Sourdough. It's a failure and I'm wondering why. I followed Andrew Whitley's directions in Bread Matters (p. 165). Everything seemed to go according to plan from making the starter to the 12hr proof. But on taking it (actually, I made two - both came out the same) out of the oven, the inside of the loaf was as you see below. Where did I go wrong? Thanks for any suggestions.

100% Rye Sourdough - Rubbish!

Mebake's picture

A Loaf of 100%Rye sourdough in a pan.


aclovell's picture

First time question about Nourishing Traditions Sourdough Starter

February 2, 2010 - 10:09pm -- aclovell

I realize I probably need to toss what I did today and start over.


But before I do, I thought I would check with this group.


I was trying to make the starter from Nourishing Traditions.  On the first day, she wants you to grind 2 C. of rye flour, which I did.  However, I ground 2 C. of rye, which made a lot more than 2 C. of flour.  I used it anyway (so I'm actually not sure how much flour I used, maybe 4 C?), and instead of addingthe 2 C. of water called for, I ended up using 4 C. to make it "soupy" as she described.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I've been playing with rye loaf ratios (starter/water/flour) and I came up with one using any amount of rye starter that when refreshed is a paste (100% hydration) and as it ferments loostens to a thick batter.  I was looking for basic numbers (like 1/2/3) and I found them they're  1/ 3.5/ 4.16.   It makes Rye so much easier!  The starter should be generously refreshed 8-12 hours before and mixed into the dough just before peaking and in a 22°c room (72°F) the dough ferments 7-8 hours before baking.   Dough should not be folded or shaped 4 hours before going into the oven.

Basic Ratio> 1 part starter: 3.5 parts cold water: 4.16 parts rye flour    

4 tablespoons bread spice for 500g flour    Salt 1.8 to 2% of flour weight

Hydration of dough aprox 84%.  Handle dough with wet hands and a wet spatula.  Combine starter and water then the flour, stir well and let rest covered.  Add salt about one hour after mixing and any other ingredients.  If room is warmer add salt earlier.  Three hours into the ferment lightly fold with wet hands and shape into a smooth ball.  Place into a well floured brotform or oiled baking pan.  Cover and let rise.  Don't let it quite Double for it will if conditions are right.  Before placing in the oven, use a wet toothpick and dock the loaf all over to release any large bubbles.  Bake in covered dark dish in cold oven Convection 200°C or 390°F (oven can reach 220°C easy with the fan on.)  Remove cover after 20 to 25 minutes and rotate loaf.  Reduce heat by simply turning off convection and use top & bottom heat at 200°C.   Remove when dough center reaches 93°C or 200° F.

All kinds of combinations are possible including addition of soaked & drained seeds and or cooked berries or moist altus and whole or cracked walnuts or a little spoon of honey.

How it works:  I have 150g rye starter at 100% hydration.  I figure for water: 150 x 3.5 gives the water amount or 525g.  I figure the flour: 150 x 4.16 gives 624 g Rye flour.  For salt:  2% of 700g (624g + aprox. 75g in the starter) makes salt 14g or one level tablespoon of table salt.

This amount of dough took 1 1/2 hours to bake and included moist rye altus.  It was baked in two non-stick cast aluminum sauce pans (20cm diameter) one inverted over the other .  The rounder of the two on the bottom.  No steam other than what was trapped inside.  Top removed after 25 minutes.  It has a beautiful dark crust with a light shine.  Aroma is heavenly.


Susan's picture

And it's delicious!  The recipe is 100 Percent Whole Rye from Bread Alone.

Mini Oven gave me her Austrian stamp of approval and tells me it will be truly ready to eat in a couple of days. Thanks for looking, and Happy New Year to All!



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