The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rye sourdough

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hanseata's picture
hanseata

A while ago I bought a new baking book full with mouth watering photos of gorgeous looking loaves: "Brot", an introduction to Germany's best bakers and their signature breads. Luxurious as this book is, its principal purpose seems to be promoting culinary travels to the featured bakeries, not giving readers understandable instructions on how to make those lovely loaves at home.

The sourdough starter you simply "buy from a bakery" - no mention of hydration levels - and breads are baked "at falling temperatures". And if you obediently follow the recipes' baking temperatures and times you will end up with howling smoke alarms, crazed pets, and charred bread corpses - the instructions are probably meant for wood fired ovens. The publishers obviously printed the recipes in as they came from the bakers, never bothering with having them edited.

So I was up for a great challenge - would I be able to overcome these handicaps?

The first bread I tackled was one from my hometown Hamburg, "Hamburger Kräftiges", a hearty rye sourdough. In the book it looks like this:

"Hamburger Kräftiges" from "Brot - Deutschlands beste Bäcker"

This is the original recipe (2 breads)

520 g rye sourdough (from a bakery)

500 g rye flour type 1150

350 wheat flour type 550

540 g water (25 - 28 C)

 25 g sea salt

 16 g Bioreal-yeast

 

Knead all ingredients for 8 minutes at low speed, adding the yeast after 2 minutes. Cover and let rest for 1 hour. Shape into a round loaf, place on a baking sheet and proof for 1 - 2 hours, in a draft free location.

When surface shows distinct tears, place in 260 C/500 F preheated oven (no slashing). Pour 50 - 60 ml water on another hot baking sheet or oven floor. After 20 minutes, drop temperature to 220 C/425 F. Overall baking time: 60 - 70 minutes.

 

Wanting to start with one bread only, I took half of the recipe. To make the rye starter, I used the 3-step build from Martin Pöt Stoldt ("Der Sauerteig - das unbekannte Wesen) with 60 g ripe rye starter, 100 g rye flour and 100 g water and had a pleasantly sweet smelling active rye sour (100%).

A cold retardation seemed a good idea, and working with P.R.s stretch and fold technique, also. All went well, but when I took the dough out of the refrigerator I wasn't quite sure whether it had overproofed, it seemed to have grown more than I expected.

I shaped a boule and proofed it on a parchment lined baking sheet, waiting for the "distinct tears" to appear. The loaf grew, showing a little cracking, but not anything dramatic. I didn't want to wait until it overproofed, and put it in the oven. I knew that the baking temperatures and times had to be off, so I reduced the heat after 10 minutes, and checked the bread after a total baking time of 40 minutes, the internal temperatures registered already 210 F.

The bread didn't look bad, but not at all like the one in the book:

Was the photo in the book photoshopped? It looked much lighter than my loaf. And why didn't I get those pretty tears in the crust?

The bread tasted pretty good, too, but I wasn't satisfied - I wanted the one from the stupid book!

I posted those pictures, and friendly TFLers made some helpful comments, but nobody could figure out why my bread looked like a disadvantaged sibling.

Revengefully I didn't touch the book for a while and worked on other projects. But since I usually don't give up easily, and so far had managed to adapt many German bread recipes to American ingredients (and better techniques), I started pondering over the recipe again.

What made my bread look so different? Why had it almost overproofed in the fridge? And then, belatedly, I did some research in the "internets". I started with the mysterious "Bioreal" yeast. No wonder it had risen so much - this organic instant yeast contains less yeast cells than regular one, therefore 8 g was too much. For the amount of flour 6 g should be enough.

For the wheat in the recipe i had used bread flour - I know it's approximately the equivalent to German type 550. But what about the rye? Without thinking I had taken what I had: whole rye flour. And there it was! With help from Wikipedia I found out that German rye type 1150 was an "in between" white and whole rye. After some calculations I believed I could substitute type 1150 with a mix of 52% whole rye + 48% white rye. (I had some white rye from testing NYBakers recipes, but didn't use it).

Finally, why had the bread on the photo such dramatic cracks, and mine only puny little tears? I found the answer to this question in a TFL post, about proofing a boule on a baking sheet seamside up, not down - to achieve just such a distinct pattern!

So I tried the "Hearty Rye from Hamburg" again, with these modifications. I also changed the temperatures and baking times to the ones I use for "Feinbrot" and many other lean German mixed rye wheat breads.

I liked this result much better:

It also tasted better - according to my husband this was: "the best bread you ever made"! (He is the best of all husbands - he says that every time, when he likes a new bread).

Hearty Rye from Hamburg - crumb

This is my recipe adaptation:

HEARTY RYE FROM HAMBURG

STARTER
60 g rye sourdough starter (100%)
100 g water, lukewarm
100 g whole rye flour
 
DOUGH
270 g water (95 F)
6 g instant yeast
all starter
110 g whole rye flour
140 g white rye flour
175 g bread flour
13 g salt

 

DAY 1
Prepare starter.

DAY 2
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add to all other ingredients in mixer bowl. Mix at low speed for 1 - 2 min. until all comes together. Let rest for 5 min.

Knead at medium-low speed for 2 min., adjusting with water, if necessary. Dough should still be sticky. Resume kneading for another 4 min., the last 20 sec. at medium-high speed.

Transfer dough to lightly floured surface. Stretch and fold 4 times, with 10 min. intervals (total time 40 min.) After last S & F, refrigerate overnight.


DAY 3
Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hours before using.

Preheat oven to 500 F/260 C, including steam pan.

Shape dough into boule, place seam side UP on parchment lined sheet pan. Proof at room temperature for 45 - 60 min., or until dough has grown 1 1/2 times, and surface shows distinct cracks.

Bake 10 min. at 475 F/250 C, steaming with 1 cup boiling water, then reduce heat to 425 F/220 C and bake for another 10 min. Rotate bread and remove steam pan. Continue baking for 20 - 30 min (internal temperature 200 F/93 C).

Let cool on wire rack.

UPDATE 10/15/11: in the meantime I made a side by side comparison with American medium rye (a lighter variety, not a medium grind!) and imported (so to speak) German Typ 1150. American medium rye is a perfect substitute for German medium rye types 1150 or 1370, and my sample tasted even better: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/25482/who-winner-medium-rye-comparison


hanseata's picture
hanseata

German Feinbrot


When I moved to Maine in 2001, to get even - with the guy who had sold me a houseful of furniture - but refused to give me a rebate - I knew I would be in big trouble. And I was right, after two days my stomach started complaining and my brain kept sending "gag" signals, when I walked the supermarket aisles and encountered nothing but row after row of "wonderbreads".


Poking so-called rye, multigrain, oat nut or wheat breads with my finger, I found no resistance. I could squeeze them through their plastic bags and they would  spring back to their original size when I let go. Even when toasted they retained their squishyness and would not tolerate butter or jam without getting soft and soggy. 


The only place that sold some good bread in Bangor was (and still is) the "Bagel Factory". This bakery cafe was my oasis in the desert, and still, whenever I go to Bangor I take a bag of poppyseed bagels home. But great as these bagels are, they are white, a bit sweet and soft, and not dark, tangy and crusty, like the everyday rye sourdoughs I craved.


Having two warm meals a day was another thing my stomach refused to adapt to. German families usually eat bread and cold cuts either for lunch or for dinner.  German schools don't offer lunch, and Mother cooks at home. As a working mom I used to see this daily cooking as chore and a bad idea - until my daughter went to Bangor High, and had to eat at the school cafeteria (this experience made her learn how to cook, and gave birth to a career as chef!).


Finally I couldn't take my stomach's growling anymore. I started seeing bread Fata Morganas by day, and dreamt of crusty loaves by night. So I went on the quest to make "Feinbrot". The first step was, of course, a recipe. That was already a big hurdle. Nobody in Germany bakes Feinbrot at home, you can buy several varieties in every bakery and supermarket. There was none in my baking books, and none in the internet, only specialty breads, but not the simple loaf I was looking for.


And then, how to make sourdough? I didn't have the slightest idea. At a gift shop in Bangor, I found the "French Farmhouse Cookbook" and there was a recipe for Pain au Levain, with soudough. Full of enthusiasm I started my first starter, and, also, as backup and comparison, I mixed a starter from a store bought package.


My first breads, two twin loaves from the different starters and the recipe from the book, resulted in two almost identical bricks. Saving always a cup of dough to use as starter for the next bread, I kept on baking, producing more bricks on the way - my husband suggested keeping a supply next to our bed in case of a home invasion - and experimented with different amounts of rye, bread flour, temperatures and baking times, using the original recipe only as initial guideline.


After several weeks - and bricks - my homemade starter was way ahead of the store bought mix, in flavor and activity. Slowly, in trial and error, I figured out what bread flour/rye ratio I liked best, and what temperature settings and baking times gave the best results. Finally my bread had the right taste and right crumb - but the crust was either thick and and hard, or thin but too soft. Nevertheless, that was all I thought I could do - and Richard, the best of husbands, ate it all!


An open house tour with my daughter at the New England Culinary Institute in Burlington, left me green with envy. Valerie was going to learn how to make baguettes - from a real French pastry chef! I went home, and, since I couldn't be one, at least I could buy one "Bread Bakers' Apprentice".


Reading the instructions I was struck by an epiphany! I had always (as stated in my recipes) just placed a cup with cold water together with the bread in the oven. And now I learned how to set up my oven for hearth baking - with stone and STEAM. Finally I was not only able to bake French bread, but my humble everyday Feinbrot was transformed, too!



Feinbrot crumb


Recipe:    http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20242/karin039s-german-feinbrot


 


 


 


 


 

SaraBClever's picture
SaraBClever

I keep my own blog with my sisters at www.threecleversisters.com, but as I have a question about this bread I figured I'd repost it here too!  I'm not sure if that's how TFL community works/if others do this as well?  Do people keep parallel blogs around here?  I think my bread stuff is a little technical sometimes for the rest of my blog, though here probably pretty basic stuff ;-)  All in the name of better bread, right? 


Anyway here is the post (link is http://threecleversisters.com/2010/09/12/dark-pumpernickel-bread-with-raisins/)



This bread, Dark Pumpernickel Bread with Raisins, from Dan Leader's Bread Alone, was a lot of fun to make.  However, it takes a LONG time-two ferments rather than one (that's three rises) and 1 1/2 hours in the oven. 


I halved the recipe (and Lord knows how I would have kneaded all that dough if I hadn't) and as the rye starter I maintain (from Dan Leader's Local Breads) seems to be different from the Bread Alone book in composition (and since my starter is drastically smaller in amount than required for this recipe), I built the necessary proportions using the rye sourdough elaboration from the Local Breads recipe for Whole Rye Berry Loaf.  (I added about 5oz of water rather than the 4 oz called for in the pre-ferment as the Bread Alone sourdough seemed wetter).   I meant to only add 9oz of the final starter but ended up adding the full amount which was nearer to 11 oz.  This turned out not to be a problem, as far as I could tell. 


The recipe gives a wide range of flours, I stayed within the lower end of this range.  This seemed to work out well.  The only problem was that I think my oven got too hot over the long baking period, so as is obvious, the crust was burnt.  The inside is just fine, and I was thrilled by the dramatic oven spring.  Plus it's the first pumpernickel I've made that was truly dark (which is what I think of for pumpernickel).  It was quite sweet from the molasses and raisins, and deliciously moist:  I was happy to eat it plain.  I put half in the freezer as this is one massive loaf (and I only made a half batch!  Unbelievable.  I'll have to keep this in mind when making more out of Bread Alone-Leader is clearly baking for a crowd!)


Final question:  if anyone uses both of these books, do you know if the starters are interchangeable, as they seem to be different formulas to me?  If you use a local bread starter, how do you convert to the Bread Alone starter (not only in the hydration proportions but in the quantities required!?)









 

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I've been seeing some comments about Hamelman's Multigrain SD with a rye SD starter and how good it is. I think I've gone past this recipe in the book a few times because of the high % of high protein flour. I decided to bake it today but with a lot of changes. Cut home formula in half


1.Replaced all high protein flour with whole wheat flour +4tbsps of vital wheat gluten


2. Replaced sunflower seeds with millet


3. Replaced rye chops with rye berries (I just haven't found rye chops anywhere and don't have a mill yet)


4. Added spices-dry onion, caraway and fennel, plus poppy seeds on top


5. Autolysed for a total of one hour and added a bit of extra water at 30 minutes to accomodate the flour change


Very curious to see how this turned out, I put it in the oven in two loaf pans, spritz the top of each with a spray of water and covered with aluminum foil. I baked 10 minutes covered  and then 20 minutes uncovered, brought them out at 205 degrees. (oven first at "hot" then "between 350 and Hot" in the RV oven).


After cooling, I sliced into this lovely, brown bread. What a wonderful surprise! It was soft with a lovely texture. Incredibly light! Who would have guessed? Multigrain, whole wheat/rye with a light, soft texture? Amazing!


Here's a picture of my pastrami sandwich with fresh arugula from the garden. I sure wish the arugula wasn't bolting. I hate to see the end of arugula and lettuce season. But, with the end of arugula comes tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.


inlovewbread's picture
inlovewbread

The first rye that I made can be found here. It was a 80% Rye with a Rye Flour Soaker from Hamelman's Bread. I have to add to my previous post, that the flavor developed over the next few days and the crust softened up. I liked the bread a lot and it was good with just a little butter on it :-) At first I wasn't that impressed but as time went on I came to really like it. I saved the last third or so of the loaf for use as altus. 


The next rye I tried was a 70% Rye. The formula for this loaf can be found here. It is Hansjoakim's favorite rye using dmsnyder's write-up. (thanks for the clear instructions!) 



I really liked this rye! The taste was really good- hard to describe, but better than my last rye. I think this was partly due to the fact that I had used Hodgson Mills whole rye flour with the first loaf (which is course ground) and with this loaf here I used an organic medium whole rye flour from PCC. The texture was dense but moist and the crust was perfect- not too hard. I was happy to get this "cracked" pattern on the bread from placing the dough seam side down in the brotform. I love how it looks- Hansjoakim's turn out way better of course.


Overall, I like this bread. I think I may use it as a base in the future for a bread with caraway seeds, anise and something else in it- cardamom maybe. 


Third Rye:



This is a Jewish Deli Rye using (again) dmsnyder's write-up which can be found here. I didn't know if I like caraway seeds or not, turns out....I do! This bread is really good and would make a great sandwich. Very flavorful.


I used First Clear Flour for the first time with these loaves, and again used the organic PCC medium rye flour. I built-up my rye starter over the preceding three days to make this loaf which calls for 750 grams rye sour. I'd like to try this bread again with a WHITE rye sour instead of the whole rye starter/sour that I used. I think it would have been lighter in color and more authentic? tasting. I don't know- I have nothing to go off of since I have not had rye breads before except the ones that I have made!


It is important to me to try different breads, and rye bread in particular. I appreciate history and learning of different people groups, their culture and heritage, and making these rye breads is a tiny way to be better connected to them. Every country in the world has their own breads, and I find it interesting and poignant to eat the same types of flavors they did/do, and learn the "why" behind the ingredients they use. Fascinating to me.


So, I'm going to keep on with rye for a while. I was going to move on to the Detmolder Rye's but I think I may wait until I can fashion a proofing box for that (you have to keep certain temperatures for each sour build). Next rye? I'll take suggestions. Maybe "Eric's Favorite Rye" or a swedish rye...we'll see.


 

anemic's picture

Seeking recipe ideas for a long acidic fermentation sourdough

January 22, 2010 - 5:58am -- anemic

Loafers,


I have done much research on TFL and all over the web (two weeks)and I am not seeing the solution to my quest. I have the Hamelman bread book on reserve at the library and I hope it will teach me a lot about how to design a proper recipe, as I see it is often referred to on TFL & elsewhere by skilled bakers. 

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.



 

LindyD's picture

To toast or not to toast? That is the question.

April 28, 2009 - 8:31am -- LindyD

I plan to start Hamelman’s five grain sourdough rye tonight, now that my KAF order arrived and I have high gluten flour.

While the recipe doesn’t call for it, have any of you who have  baked this bread toasted the sunflower seeds before making the soaker?  

Any reason not to?

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