The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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sam's picture

80% rye


I have not made very many high-concentration Rye's, but I do like that you can make 'em in a day.   But then you have to wait a long time before cutting into them.   So I guess it's all the same.   In any case, here is the bake for today.    It is an 80% rye, 25% of it being what I refer to as my own "chunky rye stuff" -- milling rye berries beyond the Grob level of my Komo miller.   It results in a mixture of chunks of berries and meal.

Last week I attempted a similar bread but heavily favored towards a mash in the dough and not a lot of acidified levain flour, and the loaf literally collapsed in the oven, half way through the bake.   :)   For this bread, I did not do a mash, because I was not up to a mash experimentation mood after the last rye failure, and also a friend expressed desire for a high concentration rye bread and I didn't want to mess it up too much, so this bread is for him.  I did a room-temp soaker though, with the chunky rye + rye flour, and increased the percentage of levain.    This one did not collapse on me.  :)

Here was the recipe I made, and pictures.   (Sorry, no crumb shot yet, and apologies for so many pictures).   Yes I did use baker's yeast, but in retrospect, I don't think that was needed.    All weights in grams.

Total Dough Weight: 2000  
Total Dough Hydration: 80%  
Total Dough Flour Weight: 1111  
Total Dough Water Weight: 889

Levain Percentage: 35%  
Levain Hydration: 125%  
Starter Percentage: 10% of levain
Starter Hydration: 125%

Soaker Percentage: 36%
Soaker Hydration: 100%  
Soaker Salt Percentage: 1%  
Final Dough Salt Percentage: 1.5%
Baker's Yeast Percentage: 1.5%

Whole Rye Flour Weight: 372  
Water Weight: 465
Starter Weight: 39

Chunky Rye Stuff Weight: 278
Whole Rye Flour Weight: 122
Water Weight: 400
Salt Weight: 4
Final Dough:

All Levain
All Soaker
Whole Rye Flour: 100
Strong White Flour: 222
Salt Weight: 13
Baker's Yeast Weight: 17


Here is the soaker on the left, the levain on the right:


Closeup of levain:


Another closeup of levain.   It was a little bit past ripened as you can tell from the receeding, but still OK:



Here is the Chunky Rye Stuff + Whole Rye Flour soaker:



Here is the final dough after mixing.   I wasn't expecting any kind of dough ball to form.  I had to alternate between the Paddle and the Hook, several times, to get everything mixed thoroughly.   Probably should have simply used my fingers, in retrospect.  The dough Hook is pretty much useless in the beginning.



I got most of it in the Pullman pan.    I'd say about 90% of the dough.    I was worried it was too much for this size of pan.   The rest of the dough I tossed.    I smushed it in the pan with wet hands and smoothed out the top.



Baking, after the 1st 15 mins of steam:



Here's the final result minus the crumb picture:


I baked it at 475F for the first 15 mins, then lowered to 380F for 75 minutes.  Internal temp registered 207F.

In the latter stages of baking, the kitchen became full of such a strong, powerful Rye aroma, it should have been illegal.   :)  

If I can get a crumb shot I'll update tomorrow.

Happy baking!


Breadandwine's picture

Light-hearted breadmaking!

I teach breadmaking (around 10 hours a week, ATM) – and each session only lasts two hours from start to finish. I run two sorts of sessions; one for adults with learning difficulties, where we make different breads each week; and regular 5-week courses - for parents and children in a local primary school (Family learning); and community evening classes for the general public, where the content is fairly well structured (each course has a session on loaves, rolls, pizzas, etc.)

One of my oft-repeated maxim to my students is that anything that can be made with pastry can be made using a bread dough. Another is that pretty well any sandwich can be taken back a stage, with the bread and filling cooked together – which takes it to a different level entirely.

I’m always looking for new things to try; innovative (to me, anyway!) ways to use bread dough.

So I thought I would start a thread about the different ways in which a bread dough can be used.

Here are a few breads I make with my groups on a regular basis:

Stuffed mushroom en croute. This is simply delightful made with a bread dough. I used to make it stuffed with Roquefort cheese and pesto – now I’m a vegan I use mushroom pate and pesto. But whatever the filling it’s a very tasty dish:

Cheese, broccoli (or onion) and potato pasties. I make these for myself using nutritional yeast and flavourings instead of cheese – and I often include some curry powder in the filling. Great for using up leftovers:

As for taking a sandwich back a stage, what about a cheese and tomato sandwich? These wraps are the bee’s knees!

Instead of a jam (jelly) sandwich, try these healthy jam doughnuts:

Which leads me to petit pain au chocolat (chocolate rolls) – what could be simpler than these. Just squidge a bit of decent chocolate into a small piece of dough, seal it around – and that’s it!

The same method can be applied to anything you want to wrap in bread. I used to make small Brie parcels (Cheddar has more flavour, IMO – but it always finds a way out, no matter how well you seal the dough). If my lad was around when I was making them, he’d tell me, “If you’re making those bread parcels, Dad, I’ll have ham, cheese and tomato in mine!”

And iced buns. At its simplest, sweetened bread rolls covered with icing when baked – but very tasty (not to mention cheap!) indeed:

Pane frattau, from Sardini: One of the most far out (IME) uses for bread is to take a thin, crisp bread (musica da carta), split it and soak it in broth. Used instead of pasta in a lasagne it adds a whole new depth of flavour to the dish – and is a regular favourite of mine. It’s a bit fiddly, but, oh so worth it!

All these breads can be made with a dough as rich or as simple as you wish. They could even be made using sourdough!

I would love to hear from other posters about any unusual breads they make.

Cheers, Paul

Salilah's picture

Light Rye Rolls

Based on a recipe from cityhippyfarmgirl through Yeast Spotting:

I thought I'd give these a go.  I didn't have the malt flour, and my shaping is not quite up to scratch - so I went more for the rustic look and didn't do the rye wash.  Also I didn't have flaxseed so used linseed instead!


200g starter at 100% hydration (I did this as a preferment from starter to make sure it was lively after a week in the fridge)
250g strong white bread flour
100g rye flour
50g golden flaxseed
250g water
10g salt


Mixed all except salt for an autolyse of about an hour.  Quite a few S&F over about a 4 hour period - quite a sticky dough!

Cut into 6 chunks and roughly shaped for a 20min rest; shaped into batards (couldn't quite get the points from the original) and proofed for about 2 hours on a teatowel until well risen.  Bedtime dictated timing for baking - so I didn't really check if they were fully proofed.  10mins under a cover at 220C, then 20mins uncovered at 220C (turning once) - this felt quite long for rolls, but they are quite big!

And - for those who would prefer to see the real colour rather than the jazzy iPhone photo:

Toasted for breakfast - very nice flavour, "yum" said OH, "tasty - but a bit like a crumpet" (not too sure what this bit means!)

Would do again...

ph_kosel's picture

Trying to match Acme Whole Wheat Walnut Bread

I liked the Whole Wheat Walnut Bread I got back in July from Acme Bread Company in Berkeley so much that I decided to try to duplicate it.  I posted photos of the Acme walnut loaf previously in my description of my July bread pilgrimage. 

I found a description of the bread and it's ingredients on acme's website:

The recipe I came up with after a couple of attempts is as follows:

Whole Wheat Walnut Sourdough


100g of whole wheat starter (containing 50g water, 25g whole wheat flour, and 25g white flour)

350g whole wheat flour

100g white bread flour

250g water

1.5 teaspoons salt

0.5 teaspoons diastatic malt powder

200g walnuts


After a first attempt was so dry the loaf cracked up the middle I concluded the walnuts soak up a lot of water.  Soaking them in advance in hot water and draining them in a collander before adding to the dough seems to overcome that.

I mixed the dough in a stand mixer, let stand until it rose, and baked it in a dutch oven, about 25 minutes at 450F, with the cover off in the last minutes for browning.. 


It came out pretty good, maybe not the equal of the Acme loaf but very tasty with butter or cheese!

^The loaf

^The crumb

^The cooled loaf in the cooker

Elagins's picture

Book Release: Inside the Jewish Bakery

As many folks on the site know, long-time TFL community members Stan Ginsberg (Elagins) and Norm Berg (nbicomputers) have been working for a couple of years on a baking book. Their hard work is about to pay off as Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking will be released on Camino Books October 15.

I was lucky enough to receive page proofs of Inside The Jewish Bakery and have to say it is tremendous. Norm's recipes collection from his years as a professional baker was already legendary on this site, but Stan and Norm together were able to put together a wonderful book that mixes in the cultural, historical, and religious contexts that make these recipes so precious.

Congratulations, Stan and Norm.


Inside the Jewish Bakery will be released October 15th and can be purchased on the Inside The Jewish Bakery website, on,, Barnes & Noble, or at your local bookseller.

As you can imagine, Stan and Norm are extremely busy with the book release, but as time and energy permit they've offered to answer anyone's questions about the recipes or the book. Just comment below.

3 Olives's picture
3 Olives

Hydration Level of Rye Sourdough Starter

I've been reading Hamelman's BREAD and he appears to be very fond of rye. I have used rye but not as the main flour, and I want to give it a shot. I just activated some rye starter I received from the generous folks at NY Bakers. Is 125 hydration the most common level for rye sourdough starter? Thanks.

loydb's picture

Sourdough Biscuits

I've been disappointed that all the sourdough biscuit recipes I found included baking powder. A search here, however, revealed David's attempts at an all-sourdough version (

I keep 8-10 oz of starter at 100% hydration in small quarter containers in the fridge. Yesterday it had been 7 days since I fed my King Arthur New England starter. I divided into a 3 oz portion and a 5 oz portion. Both were fed 1:1:1, and left on the counter. After 5 hours, the 3 oz batch (now 9 oz) was returned to the fridge. I left the 15 oz batch on the counter overnight in a larger container. It was bubbling wildly this morning. I followed David's recipe with the following alterations:

1) All butter. I had no lard (rectified that at the grocery this afternoon, I'll try again with 50/50 lard/butter). I used a food processor to mix the chilled butter with the AP flour (KA bread flour in this instance), sugar and salt. I hand mixed in the starter, and just barely got it to hold together as per David's advice. After a 45 minute rest, I did the 4x stretch/fold/roll.

2) Nearly a 5-hour proof. They hadn't risen enough after 2.5 hours, so I went to the grocery store. When I came home, they were nearly doubled, and got to sit another 45 minutes while the oven warmed.

3) 19 minutes @ 425 versus 15 mins.

 The biscuits are light, and perfectly sour with just a little butter (also great with honey). We'll be having them with spiral ham and Tillamook cheddar tonight.


nicodvb's picture

I'm beginning to tame the durum beast

I hate durum wheat. One moment it seems it doesn't want to stop absorbing water and few seconds later you find in your hands an unmanageable paste.

I've been trying to bake a decent durum wheat loaf for several months, and after countless failed attempts finally I obtained (twice in a row!) something satisfying.

Rather than using preferments (that always made matters worse for me) I prepared a straight dough with this ingredients:

-500 gr semola rimacinata (13% proteins.... if the seller is to be trusted)

-400 gr water

-10 gr salt

-20 gr butter

-20 gr of rye starter from the fridge (133% hydratation).

I used the bread machine to knead the dough, starting with 350 gr of water (with the starter dissolved within) and adding the remaining liquid in tablespoons.

Reading a description of the disciplinar of "pane di Altamura" I decided to follow the instructions (only in part, of course, or I wouldn't be myself :-) ) and rather than using a no-knead method I kneaded extensively for 30+ minutes.

After the first fermentation I gave two sets of double folds and proofed for 2 more hours, than I scored the dough 1cm deep and finally baked the bread. This one was baked at 185°C, the former one (maybe a bit taller) at 230°C, in both cases starting from cold oven.

I'm satisfied both by the soft crumb and by the intense taste.

The more I deal with durum wheat flour the more I'm convinced that you have to overknead it to make it develop the little and poor gluten it has.



Another specimen tamed, with a different recipe based on the disciplinar for Altamura bread. 70% hydratation with 20% additional biga and 1% dead yeast (it supposed to release the anti-oxidant glutathione, not expected in the dusciplinar).

The consistence of the crumb and the taste of the bread are exactly like that of Pane di Matera, the less know twin brother of Pane di Altamura.


ronnie g's picture
ronnie g

The Tartine has become a staple

My hubby can't get enough of these babies.  If I ask him 'What bread should I make?' his reply is ALWAYS 'Baguettes!'  I just use Chad Robertson's baguette recipe, but substitute 150g organic wholemeal stoneground flour for part of the all purpose flour in the final mix and add 65g extra water.

wassisname's picture

In Search of Salzstangerl and a Nice Surprise

     I've had salzstangerl (salt sticks) on the brain for a while now. I loved these in my younger days and ever since I saw them mentioned in Bread I've been looking for an excuse to try them.  Hamelman recommends his 40% rye sourdough dough for the purpose.  It's been quite a few years since I've had one, but I can say with confidence that the German bakeries in southern California I once frequented were not using a dough like this.  They were more like straight pretzels.  Probably no rye and certainly not sourdough.  As with most breads I'm sure there are innumerable variations, but I'm a sucker for rye sourdoughs so I went in the Hamelman direction. 
     I already have a 30% rye that I like so I used that instead of the recommended 40% rye.  The dough came together nicely, then I began shaping...  oh, the poor unsuspecting dough.  The look I was going for was a long, slender, gently tapered roll.  Imagine a croissant, without the layers, and straight, and not so plump in the middle, and sprinkled with coarse salt and caraway seeds.  Easy, right?  Heh, heh, heh...   I was laughing aloud by the time I "shaped" the last of them.  "Sea slug" was the first association that popped into my head.  Having since looked-up photos of sea slugs I don't think that was entirely fair... to the slugs.  Ba-dum-bum!
     They still turned out pretty well, but not quite what I was after.  The recipe for Czech Crescent Rolls in Leader's Local Breads actually sounds closer to what I remember.  I think somewhere in the middle is where I want to be.  The next batch will have less rye, less prefermented flour, and lower hydration.  I'll add some butter and maybe some yeast.  And now that I know how not to cut the triangles the dough will be less abused during shaping. 


The nice surprise came from the other half of the same dough:

Clearly this is what this dough was meant for.  I was really happy with this one (though, by the look of the crumb, I still need to work on the ol' shaping skills) and it only got made because I didn't feel like shaping another pan of salzstangerl!  The dough is 30% whole rye (all fermented @ 100% hydration) with a final hydration of about 70%.

I've been tinkering with my oven set-up, testing the lower limit of my top stone placement.  The loaf sprang more than I ever thought it would and just touched the rack above it.  That's cutting it a little too close!