The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

rye bread

bshuval's picture

100% rye bread -- take two (with pictures)

November 18, 2011 - 8:03am -- bshuval

A couple of days ago, I posted here about my failed attempt to make a 100% rye bread. I had followed a recipe by Hadjiandreou, and experienced some problems: I had a gummy crumb and flying crust. I received many helpful comments from the users of this community. The "post-mortem" of the bread suggested that the reason for my problems was excessive enzyme activity. There could be various causes for this (e.g. bad flour quality, insufficient acidification, etc.). 

codruta's picture

It seems that days and weeks really flies lately and I don't have enough time to write about all the breads I bake. To get upto date, I'll make a resume with the most important breads I've baked in the last days/week:

1. I made semolina bread, in two different days (first it was a 60% semolina + 40% white flour with 67% hydration, next time it was a 70% semolina + 30% white flour and 71% hydration), inspiread by Hamelman's Semolina Bread and Giovanni's bread. I used a stiff levain and I had to add a lot of water to the dough, and I still think it was not enough. But semolina bread is one of my latest revelations, I love it's flavor so much... too bad I have only one bag of semolina left... :(

The crumb is yellow, but not as opened as it i in giovanni's bread, yet, it is a very tasty formula. It's elastic and chewy and it's wonderful sweet when toasted.

Here are pictures from the first bread:

And from the second one: (I dind't realise before how much they resemble, till I put the pictures together)

2. I make baguettes again, using the same formula as the last time, reducing the hydration to 71%. Better than the first time, but still a long way from perfection.


3. I made another rye bread, using a rye soaker and rye chops made from soaked berries, chopped and then soaked again. I started with 90g berries (140g after soaking and draining) and ended with 210g rye chops, soaked and drained.

The bread has more volume than the last time, even if the dough got stucked in the banneton in a couple of places and it deflated a bit while I forced it to come out. (mini, I did not cheat while I sliced the bread, no funny angles while cutting it, and I have 8-9 cm max... well it's better than 6 cm from last time:)

The bigger holes in the crumb are a sign of overproofing, or a sign of air or/and water incorporated in the dough while shaping?

Well, that's about it, for now. Not quite up-to-date, I still have some "san joaquin"s left that I want share with you, but this is already a too long post.



moma's picture

Hi TFL'ers :)

I haven't been posting in my blog for some time. Currently I have startet writing my MA thesis and my spare time for blogging is not much.


I want to share theese min rye on the go/lunch pack snack breads. They are a fave of my daughter and boyfriend.They have a handfull of raisins and cranberrys and some sunflower seeds in. I also found out, that bakers in Denmark use food colour in their rye bread, so i tried it too.

rye logs ready for a sprinkle of wather and a roll in sesam seeds.

Looks almost like chocolate, huh? ;)

the other variant - mini rye breads and mini-mini ones for nursery packed lunch.

the finished mini breads. They taste great and freeze as well. Tomorrow they will be doubble as delicious!


24 mini rye breads

25g dried yeast

5 dl hand warm water

(a hand full raisins, cranberrys and seeds - some brown food colour - "Kulør" in Danish)

600g rye

250-300g AP flour

2 tbs hunny

4 tbs oil

2 tsp salt


- mix the ingridients and let rise for 2 hours. devide the mix into 24 equal size portions, shape and let rise 20min more under a wet tea towel.

- if you want to roll in sesam seeds sprinkle the breads with water.

- before baking cover the breads with som milk and bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25min at 225C.

- cool on a cooling rack


holds99's picture

Pain au Levain - Rye with Cracked Rye Soaker and Caraway Seeds

This formula produces an excellent rye bread that tastes great and is good plain or
toasted.  With  cracked rye soaker and caraway seeds
incorporated into the final dough mix, toasting this bread brings out a pleasant
and more pronounced rye and caraway taste. 
The soaker and caraway seeds gives it a good texture and a distinct rye
taste.  This is a medium rye,
high-hydration dough that produces a rustic type bread with open crumb and nice
color and crust.

Yield: 8 lbs 15 1/4 oz of dough or 4.08 kilograms (4 loaves @ 1
kilogram (2.2 lbs) each, or 2 loaves @ 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs) each.  This recipe may be halved to produce 2 loaves @
1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) each or 1 large miche type loaf @ 2.2 kilograms (4.2 lbs).


  • Ferment: Double levain build (starting with a mature rye
         starter): 1st levain build 12-14 hours, 2nd levain mix 2.5 - 3 hours for a
         total of approx. 15 hours prior to final dough mix, depending on room
  • Soak cracked rye: Overnight
  • Mix final dough: 8 minutes
  • Stretch and Fold : 1 hour with 4 stretch and folds at
         20 minute intervals
  • After 4th stretch and fold, shape the dough into a
         large ball and place it in a lightly oiled covered plastic container and retard
         dough in refrigerator overnight.
  • The following day remove from refrigerator, allow dough
         to come to room temperature (75 deg. F)
  • Pre-shape, rest, and shape: 35 minutes
  • Proof: 2.5 – 3 hours
  • Bake: approximately 45 minutes

Desired dough temperature: 75 deg. F

Levain Build No. 1 Ingredients:

  • 1 Tb (1.2 oz./34g) ripe 100%-hydration sourdough
  • 8 oz (226g) water at 75 deg. F)
  • 8 oz (226g) light rye flour

Levain Build No. 2 Ingredients:

  • All of Levain Build No. 1 plus:
  • 8 oz (226g) water at 75 deg. F
  • 8 oz (226g) pumpernickel flour

Final Dough Ingredients:

  • 10.5 oz (298g) first clear flour
  • 44.5 oz (1,262g) bread flour
  • 1.3 oz (37g) salt (2 Tb)
  • All of the double levain build
  • 35 oz (992g) water
  • All of the soaker
  • .5 oz (15g) caraway seeds (2 Tb.) Note. If you prefer a
         stronger caraway seed taste, add an additional tablespoon of caraway seeds
         to the final dough mix

Soaker Ingredients:

  • 7 oz (200g) cracked rye (1 1/2 cups)
  • 12 oz (500g) boiling water (1 1/2 cups)

Note.  Conversion rate of 28.3495321 or 28.35 grams per
ounce was used in this formula.



Prepare the soaker (at least 8 hours
in advance, or overnight) before you plan to mix your final dough.  Measure out 7 oz (200g) cracked rye (1 1/2
cups) and place it in a 1 quart bowl, e.g.: stainless steel bowl.  Pour 12 oz (500g) boiling water (1 1/2 cups)  of boiling water over the cracked rye, cover
immediately with aluminum foil and allow to sit at least 8 hours, or overnight.

Levain Build No. 1

  1. In a 2 quart container add 1 tablespoon active starter
         to 8 oz (226g) room temperature water (75-78 deg. F).  Mix with a wire whisk until the starter
         is completely dissolved into the water.
  2. Add 8 oz (226g) of light rye flour to the container
         and, using a Danish dough hook or wooden spoon, mix well until the flour
         and starter-water is thoroughly mixed together.  This will be the 1st levain build.
  3. Cover the container and leave out at room temperature for
         12-14 hours, or overnight.  This 1st
         levain mixture should double in volume.

Levain Build No. 2

  1. After 12-14 hours, add 8 oz (226g) room temperature
         water (75-78 deg. F) to the container holding the 1st levain build and mix
  2. Add 8 oz (226g) of pumpernickel flour to the container
         and, using a Danish dough hook or wooden spoon, mix well until the flour
         and starter-water is thoroughly mixed together.
  3. This will be the 2nd levain build.
  4. Cover the container and leave out at room temperature
         for 2-3 hours.  This 2nd levain
         mixture will be much more active and will double in volume at room
         temperature (75-78 deg. F) in approximately 2-3 hours.

Final Dough Mix

  1. Add the 35 oz (992g) of final dough water (75-78 deg.
         F) to the container with the levain mixture and mix thoroughly.  Note. Hold out salt until after autolyse
         (initial final dough rest period).
  2. In a separate large bowl mix the 10.5 oz (298g) first
         clear flour with the 44.5 oz (1,262g) of bread flour for the final dough
         mix and set aside until completion of the next step.
  3. Pour the levain/final dough and water mixture from the
         container into the bowl of a stand mixer. 
         Turn the mixer on low and begin adding the final dough flour (mixed
         first clear and bread flour), a half cup at a time.  When the dough has reached the shaggy mass stage shut off the
         mixer, cover the top of the mixer bowl with film and allow the dough to
         autolyse (rest) for 30 minutes.  Remove
         the plastic film from the top of the mixer bowl, turn the mixer on low and
         slowly sprinkle the salt 1.3 oz (37g) salt (2 Tb)  onto the dough.  Mix until the salt has been thoroughly
         incorporated into the dough, about 3-4 minutes. 
  4. At this point add the cracked rye soaker (19 oz (700g)
         3 cups) to the dough mixture. 
         Continue mixing on low/medium speed until the soaker is evenly distributed
         throughout the dough (3-4 minutes).
  5. Lightly spray the inside of a large enough plastic
         container with vegetable oil.  The
         container should be large enough to hold nine (9) pounds of dough (or alternatively,
         four and a half (4 .5) pounds if you're making half the formula).  Turn the dough out of the mixer bowl
         into the oiled container and cover. 
  6. Give the dough 4 stretch and folds at 20-25 minute
  7. Cover the container and place in refrigerator overnight
         to retard for at least 12 hours.

Baking Day

Remove the container of dough from the refrigerator and
allow the dough to come to room temperature (75-78 deg. F).  This will take approximately 3 hours.

  1. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, divide
    the dough into either 2 or 4 pieces and pre-shape each piece into a ball.  Cover the pre-shaped dough and allow it to
    rest, covered, for 10-15 minutes before final shaping.
  1. For the final shaping, lightly dust a section of the
         work surface with flour and place the dough on the floured area.  Using the flat of your hand gently degas
         the dough and flatten it out into either a round or oval shape. Move the
         flattened dough to an area of the work surface that's free of flour.  Gather the outer edges of the flattened
         dough and fold it into the center. 
         Continue turning the dough and folding the edges tightly into the
         center forming a roughly shaped ball or oval.  Tuck and rotate the dough and tuck the
         edges of the dough underneath and tighten the dough surface. This final
         shaping is done on a clean work surface free of flour to provide resistance
         needed to get the ball very tight.  After
         final shaping, the seam will be on the bottom of the dough ball.  Don't bother trying to seal the bottom seam.
  2. Lift the dough off the counter and place it, seam side
         down, into bannetons that have been generously dusted with a mixture of
         50% rice flour and 50% bread flour.
  3. Proof, covered, at room temperature, for 2 – 3 hours,
         until the dough passes the "finger poke" test, an indentation
         left by a fingertip comes back slowly.
  4. Note.  One hour prior to putting the loaves
         into the oven, preheat the oven, with baking stone along with a cast iron
         skillet, or pan, on the oven rack located below the baking stone.  Preheat the oven to 500F. You will need steam during the initial phase of
         baking.  Heat a cup and a half of
         water in the microwave on high until it's boiling (approx. 3 minutes) just
         prior to putting the loaves into the oven.  Immediately, after placing the loaves
         into the oven, pour about a cup of the boiling water into a cast iron
         skillet or pan sitting on the oven rack located below the stone.  Use oven mitts to handle the cup of
         boiling water.


the loaves

  1. When the loaves have passed the "finger poke"
         test, they're fully proofed and ready to bake.  Turn the loaves out of the floured bannetons
         onto parchment-lined baking pans that have been liberally dusted with
         semolina, with the floured side up.
  2. Score the loaves and place the baking pans on the stone
         in the oven.  Pour the boiling water
         into the skillet or pan on the shelf beneath the stone.  Close the oven door and don't open it
         until midway through the baking cycle, 20 minutes).
  3. After 10 minutes at 500 deg. F, reduce the oven
         temperature to 475 deg. F.
  4. Midway through the baking cycle (about 20 minutes), open
         the oven door and turn the pans around a full half-turn to ensure even
         baking and also allow the steam to exit the oven.  Reduce the oven temperature to 450 deg.
         F. for the remaining baking cycle.
  5. About 35 minutes into the baking cycle, check the
         internal temperature of the loaves using a digital thermometer.  When they reach an internal temperature
         of 205-208 deg. F, remove the pans from the oven and transfer the loaves onto
         wire racks to cool.  Allow loaves to
         cool at least 3 hours before cutting them. 


dmsnyder's picture


It has been a while since I last made Jewish Sour Rye, but it is still a favorite of mine. Learning to make this bread, which I could no longer get locally, was a major reason I started baking bread again 4 or 5 years ago. I use a formula based on that in George Greenstein's “Secrets of a Jewish Baker.” In 2008, I worked out the ingredient weights. Greenstein gives only volume measurements. The formula for my version can be found here: Sour Rye Bread from George Greenstein's “Secrets of a Jewish Baker”

Traditional Jewish Sour Rye is made with white rye flour and first clear flour. Once I started making more German and Russian style rye breads, the flavor of white rye became less appealing to me. I started making a version of Jewish Sour Rye using dark rye instead.

Today's bake was made with a rye sour built from my stock sourdough, which is kept at 50% hydration and is fed with a 70:20:10 mix of AP:WW: Dark rye. I went through 3 builds at 12 hour intervals, doubling the volume of sour with each build. The first two were fed with BRM Dark Rye. The final build, which contained approximately half the total rye flour, was fed with a nice, finely milled medium rye flour from I kept the half-ripe, final sour build refrigerated overnight and let it warm up for an hour before mixing the dough. The first clear flour I used was also from I also added a half cup of altus – German-style pumpernickel (baked 5 months ago and frozen) cut in cubes and soaked overnight in cold water, then wrung out before adding to the dough. 

I needed to add an additional 1/2 cup or so of first clear flour during mixing to get the dough consistency I wanted. I suspect this was necessary because of the additional water in the altus. This dough is very slack and very sticky as it comes out of the mixer, but it shapes well with judicious flour dusting and a light touch when handling it. I divided the dough into three 528g pieces and shaped as logs. For the first time, I proofed this rye on a linen couche. This stuff is magic. Even these sticky loaves released with no dough sticking to the linen. I transferred the loaves to a sheet of parchment on my peel, because I didn't want the cornstarch glaze getting on it. The bake was as described in my previous blog entries.

I sliced and tasted the bread about 3 hours after it came out of the oven. I feared I had somewhat over-proofed the loaves. They had less oven spring than usual. However, I was very happy with the crumb structure and the texture of the crumb. It has a delicious rye with caraway flavor. It was moderately sour. The pumpernickel altus added a depth of flavor, as well as a different texture due to the cracked rye berries in in the pumpernickel dough.

This bread is still a favorite.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

codruta's picture

This is my first atempt to bake a 66% rye bread. I don't know if it looks as it should, but it was incredible good! Sweet, not too sour, nice crumb texture, I enjoyed eating this bread, plain, or toast, with goat cheese or salmon.

I begin with hamelman's recipe for 66 percent sourdough rye, but it helped me a lot reading other's TFL members posts about 66-70% rye breads, and I decide to eliminate the comercial yeast from the recipe, I increased the first bulk fermentation to 1 hour, and the second fermentation to 1h:45min. I'm not pleased with the shape, it is more oblong than I wanted to be, but the taste compensates.

I made the rye sourdough in two builds (5g mature active sourdough + 40g water +40g rye flour... wait 5 hours, and then I added 114g rye flour and 83g water, and wait again 8 hours)

The recipe was:

-283g rye sourdough 80% hydration, made as described before

-soaker: 10g caraway seeds and 70g water (made 12 hours before)

-133AP flour + 3g gluten

-103g rye flour

-100g water

-8g salt.

dough hydration: 75%

I baked it with steam for 15 minute, and then without steam 30 minutes.

I only cut it after 20 hours (that was a hard wait...)


Complete recipe and more pictures can be found here, at my romanian blog Apa.Faina.Sare.


dmsnyder's picture



This is the “80 Percent Rye with Rye Flour Soaker” from Jeffrey Hamelman's “Bread.” It's a wonderful bread about which I've blogged before. (Sweet, Sour and Earthy: My new favorite rye bread) These loaves were made applying a number of tips and tricks contributed by a number of TFL members, and I have to say, I was pleased with the results of every tip I used. So, a big “Thank you!” to MiniO, hansjoakim, nicodvb and the other rye mavens who contributed them.

I followed the formula and methods according to Hamelman, with the following techniques added:

  1. Rather than dividing and shaping on a floured board with floured hands, I wet the board, my hands and my bench knife. I kept all of these wet, and experienced much less sticking of this very sticky dough to the everything it touched.

  2. I shaped the boules “in the air,” rather than on the board. Again, less dough sticking to the board, and I think I got a smoother loaf top without tears.

  3. I proofed the loaves in brotformen, floured as usual with a rice flour/AP mix, with the seams down. This results in the loaves opening at the seams, yielding a lovely chaotic top to the loaves and no bursting of the sides.

I am very happy with these loaves. I'll continue to use these techniques and recommend them to others struggling with high-hydration, high-percentage rye breads.





jennyloh's picture

I finally tried this recipe and I certainly was happy with the result. Thanks to Eric for the recipe.  It one of those that are on my repeat list certainly.  




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