The Fresh Loaf

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3-stage detmolder rye

dmsnyder's picture


One of my thoughts in purchasing a Brød & Taylor Folding Proofer was that I would be able to make Three-Stage Detmolder rye breads with more precise temperature control than I could otherwise achieve. After using this device for fermenting other starters, fermenting doughs and proofing loaves over the past couple of months, I my first rye by the three-stage Detmolder method employing the Folding Proofer this weekend.

My one previous bake of a Detmolder 3-stage rye was almost 3 years ago. (See: I do recall that bread as having a delicious, sweet, earthy, complex flavor. The bread I baked this weekend was the very similar 80% Three-Stage Rye from Bread. This bread has an hydration of 78%. 37.8% of the flour is pre-fermented.

As described by Jeffrey Hamelman in Bread (pg. 200), this method, developed in Germany, “develops the latent potential of a mature rye culture through a series of builds,” each of which optimizes the development of yeast growth, lactic acid and acetic acid production, respectively. The builds differ in hydration, fermentation temperature and length of fermentation.

Hamelman calls the three stages or builds “Freshening,” “Basic Sour” and “Full Sour.” The first build encourages yeast multiplication in a moist paste fermented at a moderate temperature. The second build is much firmer and is fermented for a long time at a relatively cool temperature to generate acetic acid. The third build is, again, moister, and it is fermented at a warm temperature for a short time. This build is to increase the lactic acid content of the sour. After that, the final dough is mixed.



Wt (g)

Baker's %

Medium Rye flour






Mature rye culture






Ferment 5-6 hours at 77-79º F.


Basic Sour

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Medium Rye flour






Freshening sour






Ferment 15-24 hours at 73-80º F. (Shorter time at higher temperature.)


Full Sour

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Medium Rye flour






Basic sour






Ferment 3-4 hours at 85º F.


Final Dough

Wt (g)

Medium Rye flour


High-gluten flour






Instant yeast (optional)


Full sour





  1. Mix all ingredients 4 minutes at Speed 1 then 1-1 1/2 minutes at Speed 2. DDT=82-84º F. (Note: Hamelman's times are for a spiral mixer. If using a KitchenAid, I double these mixing times.)

  2. Bulk ferment for 10-20 minutes.

  3. Divide into 1.5-2.5 lb pieces and shape round.

  4. Proof about 1 hour at 85º F.

  5. Dock the loaves. Bake for 10 minutes at 480-490º F with steam for the first 5 minutes, then lower temperature to 410º F and bake 40-45 minutes for a 1.5 lb loaf and about 1 hour for a 2.5 lb loaf.

  6. Cool on a rack. When fully cooled, wrap in linen and let rest for at least 24 hours before slicing.

These loaves scaled to 807 g. After baking and cooling, each weighed 700 g.

Crumb and loaf profile


I sliced the bread after it had sat, wrapped in linen, for 24 hours. The crust was chewy, and the crumb was moist and tender. The flavor was very mellow and balanced. It was not as sweet as I remember the 3-stage 70% rye being, but that was 3 years ago(!). The sourdough tang was present but subdued. A lovely flavor.

I had been planning on leaving the loaves unsliced for another 12 hours, but my wife decided she wanted rye with smoked salmon as an appetizer for dinner. How could I refuse such a tempting proposition?


I also made a couple loaves of Hamelman's Pain au Levain today. As simple and straight-forward as it is, this is one of my favorite breads.

Pain au Levain bâtards

Pain au Levain crust

Pain au Levain crumb


Submitted to YeastSpotting

Mebake's picture

Having lusted over High percentage, multistage Rye breads for some time now, and being inspired by recent posts such as Phil’s and Cordruta’s, I finally took the plunge.

This is one time consuming, precariously scheduled recipe, that leaves you wondering at the end, whether or not crafting this bread is worth it.

Medium Rye is not available where I live, and so I improvised by sifting whole grain rye flour. The resultant flour consistency is close to a medium rye (I think).

I followed Hamelman’s instructions, including 1 tsp of yeast at the end. As usual, this is a paste rather than a dough, and therefore to boost the 20% bread flour strength , I added 1 Tbl Vital wheat gluten to the final mixture.

The Paste, rounded by wet hands. Bowl oiled slightly with water.

 The paste, divided and rounded by wet hands.

Smooth top Heavily Dusted with whole Rye flour.

Inverted into a 50% bread flour, 50% rice flour dusted kitchen towel.

 After 50 minutes of proofing.

Inverted on to parchment, with corn meal at the bottom.

32 hours later.

Lovely slightly moist crumb, and chewy rye-infused flavored crust. Very typical of German Rye.

The verdict: worth it, only if i could afford a whole day at home.

What spreads would best complement this bread? anyone?

This was my last bread of 2011, happy New year everyone!



breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Hey All,

Wanted to share with you something that I have been working on for the past 2 days or so.  I was poking around my local Gristede's supermarket the other day and found Hodgson Mills Stoneground Rye Flour for $5.99.  I usually only go to Gristede's if I'm lazy or desperate as there are much better places to get groceries in NYC.  Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to find what I did.  Also, I have some organic spelt berries that I'm trying to get rid of or use as it's not my favorite grain.  So, when I got home I consulted Hamelman's Bread book along with the Hofpfisterei München website looking for some inspiration.  I found the following.  If you click on the links on their website as follows: Sortiment => Natursaurteigbrote => Pfister-Oko-Dinkel-Grunkern-Volkorn...  It's a 92% spelt(dinkel) and 8% rye(roggen) bread...  I was inspired by this, but did the complete opposite and thought it was a 92% rye bread...  Anyways, my inspiration doesn't need to be correct, right?

Anyways, back to the 90% rye/ 10% spelt bread that I'm making.  I've tried to make a very detailed photo documentation for all of you.  So here goes!

This is what started it all.  The Hodgson Mill Rye Flour I found at the local Gristede's around the block from me.  $5.99 for 5 pounds.  Not a bad find...

My recipe page 1

My recipe page 2

8/25/10 - Stage 1 (Freshening)

16g Rye Flour

24g Water

8g Sourdough Starter (100% Hydration)

48g Total

7:00pm - Mix all, cover, let rest for 5 hours.

8/26/10 - Stage 2 (Basic Sour)

100g Rye Flour

78g Water

48g All of stage 1

226g Total

12:00am - Mix all, cover, let rest for approx 17 hours.

Stage 2 after mixing a bit

Stage 2 smoothed over with water before covering and letting rest for 17 hrs.

Stage 2 after approx 17 hrs

Stage 2 after approx 17 hrs - detail of what's inside

8/26/10 - Stage 3 (Full Sour)

270g Rye Flour

270g Water

226g All of stage 2

766g Total

6:45pm - Mix all, cover, let rest for approx 3-4 hours

Stage 3 mixed

Stage 3 smoothed over with water before covering and resting

Hand grinding spelt grains for final dough with a hand crank grain mill

Spelt flour close up out of the hand crank mill

Stage 3 after 3 1/2 hrs

Stage 3 side view - gas bubbles

Stage 3 - inside texture

8/26/10 - Final Dough

514g Rye Flour

100g Spelt Flour (freshly ground)

408g Water

18g Kosher Salt

766g All of stage 2

1806g Total

9:15pm - Mix all, cover, bulk ferment for 20 minutes.

Stage 3 in pieces in large mixing bowl with pre-measured amount of water

All ingredients of final dough in mixing bowl

Mixing with rubber spatula

More mixing

More mixing and mushing...  Just mix well so everything is well combined...

For nice ball with spatula, smooth over with water...

Place in plastic bag, bulk ferment for 20 minutes...

Final dough after 20 minute bulk ferment

Inside texture of dough after bulk ferment

9:45pm - Divide dough into 2 equal weight pieces

Form into boule, dusting lightly with rye flour to prevent sticking

Place in linen lined baskets for proofing

Place in baskets in plastic bag for proofing, approx 1 hr.  Place baking stone on 2nd rack up from bottom, place steam tray, preheat oven to 550F with convection.

Boules after proofing.  Notice cracks on surface.

Close up of cracks

Turn out on to peel

Dock loaf with chopstick

10:50pm - Turn off convection.  Place loaves directly on baking stone, add 1 cup water to steam pan, close oven door.  Turn oven temp to 500F and bake for 10 minutes without convection.  Then remove the steam pan, turn oven down to 410F and bake for another 60 minutes or until internal temp of loaf reaches 205F or more.  Sorry for the blurry shot...

I'm tired...  To be continued...


This is about 10 minutes into the bake right before I remove the steam pan.  Notice the oven spring...


Loaves out of the oven 1 hr after removing the steam pan


Thanks for reading...  Enjoy!

dmsnyder's picture

Inspired by the gorgeous rye breads hansjoakim has been showing us, I made Hamelman's 70% 3-Stage Rye Sourdough today.

I've made lots of light rye breads and enjoyed them, but I had not yet tackled a rye with over 50% rye flour. I had also never made a rye using the "Detmolder 3-Stage" method. It was time.

I'm glad this was not the first rye bread I attempted. My acquired comfort level with slack doughs and sticky rye dough helped immensely. Working this dough, which has so little gluten it never develops perceptibly, would have been discouraging and confusing without that experience. A 70% rye dough is a different critter from a 40% rye. The latter feels like a "normal" dough, except stickier. The former is like moulding clay. A light and  quick touch is needed to successfully handle the dough, especially in shaping. I was pleased that, using this approach, almost no dough stuck to my hands.

The 3-Stage Detmolder method was developed by German bread scientists to optimize flavor and, particularly, the balance of yeast, lactic acid-producers and acetic acid-producers in the dough. This requires some advance planning. I started the whole process 3 days ago by activating my rye sour with two feedings prior to starting the first "stage" of the Detmolder process. The 3 Detmolder stages are rye sour elaborations that differ in hydration, fermentation temperature and length of fermentation. The final dough adds to the rye sour some high-gluten flour (I used KAF Sir Lancelot.), more water, salt and, optionally, instant yeast. It has a very short fermentation of 10-20 minutes and proofs in bannetons until expanded somewhat less than 100%. I proofed for 1 hr, 15 minutes. In hindsight, I could have proofed for another 15 minutes. (My kitchen was around 79F.)

The dough is divided into rounds which are "docked" rather than scored. Docking involves poking multiple holes in the crust before baking. There are toothed rollers that professional bakers use. I used a "Susan from San Diego Special Mixing Implement," otherwise known as "a chopstick."

The 1.5 lb loaves were baked in a "falling oven temperature," starting out at 490F for 10 minutes to maximize oven spring, then at 410F for another 30 minutes. I left the loaves in the oven, with the oven off and the door ajar, for another 10 minutes to dry the crust.

Steaming should be intense but brief. I poured some hot water over lava rocks in a pre-heated cast iron skillet 3 minutes or so before loading then poured some more water on the rocks just after loading. The skillet was removed after 5 minutes, and I left the oven door open for a few seconds to let some of the steam out before continuing the bake.

Hamelman says to delay slicing for at least 24 hours. 

70% 3-Stage Rye Sourdough, with this afternoon's crop of cherry tomatoes.

70% Rye profile

70% Rye crumb

Slicing the bread, one gets the sense that this is a heavy bread. However, in the mouth it doesn't feel dense or heavy. The crumb is quite tender. The first flavor hit is earthy rye with a very mild sourness. (The sourness may well increase over the next few days.) The surprise is the long-lasting aftertaste which is decidedly sweet!

I think this bread is made to eat with a hearty stew. Too bad it's way too warm for that. Smoked meats or smoked fish are more appealing. How about some Cotswold cheese? I'm off to go fishing for some smoked salmon.


Submitted to Yeast Spotting on Susan FNP's marvelous Wild Yeast blog

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