The Fresh Loaf

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Why is my rye bread exploding in every direction?

clazar123's picture

Why is my rye bread exploding in every direction?

I am trying to develop a recipe for a WW/potato/rye loaf and have just made my 4th loaf. The first 2 weren't great but the last 2 literally exploded in every direction.This last one was the wildest-doubling itself in a little over 1 hr. I expected it to double in about 3hrs based on the experience I had with the last 3 I baked. When this one was shaped and proofing, it really expanded and was tearing already so I re-shaped it and even slashed it. I proofed it for about 30 min. It looked alright when I put it in the oven but talk about oven spring! It looks like the blob! Wish I had a camera.

Recipe: Sourdough Potato Rye

1 c rye flour

1/2 c active rye starter (100% by wt)

Vit C

1 c potato water

All this soaked for about 3 hours


Then add:

1 c WW

1 c kamut

1 c better for bread flour

1 tsp instant yeast

2tsp salt

140g mashed,cooked potato (1 medium)

1/2 c buttermilk

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp oil

1 tsp bread spice (mix of fennel,cardamom,caraway and coriander)

Mixed in K5 for 5 minutes

Rested 15 min

Stretch and fold x 1

Rise to double (1 hour this time!)

Shape,proof,bake with steam at 375F

It was sticky but seemed to have good gluten formation.


How can I get this under control so I can get a decent shaped loaf out of this? Wartiest looking thing I've ever seen.



clazar123's picture

I cut the loaf this AM and the crumb and flavor are excellent. I may be able to cut it into roll size pieces and use it that way but I really wish I could figure out what I am doing to cause this. It has occasionally happened on other types of loaves I've made but not to this extent and it always seemed to be a fluke-something that happened rarely.

Is it a factor of too much yeast?(1/2 c rye starter and 1 tsp instant yeast) not enough time for the rye to soak in with the sour?(3-4 hours,this time), overworking the dough?(5 min in K5 and a few minutes of manual work).

Comments always welcome.

xaipete's picture

You've got a lot of different ingredients in your recipe. One-half a cup of starter seems like a lot to me; you could try reducing it. You could also try reducing some of the additives, e.g., vitamin C and mashed potatoes.

I guess my approach would be to start with a basic recipe for rye SD and then add things little by little.

There was a post last week about a supposed problem with a rye crust that was cracking. The outcome of that discussion was that that was suppose to happen.


clazar123's picture

I did scour the whole site and googled, also. The post last week talked about a single-type blowout. My loaf seemed to act like a baking soda/vinegar volcano when it hit the oven heat. Poof!  Every slash,every possible weak spot spread apart. It did NOT start as a slack dough-it held the shape nicely until the oven. It ended up being about 1 1/2 inches (36 mm?) tall but the crumb was just what I wanted to achieve as a potato loaf-dense and a little chewy but not pasty in the mouth. It does taste very good-just can't make a sandwich!

In all the research on the internet and here, it is often asked if the proofing loaf dried out but that isn't the case here.It was kept moist and steam used the first 10 min.It baked in a 375F oven. I cannot find a reason why a loaf would do this, even if it is a wheat only loaf. Maybe it needs to rise to triple? Less yeast? 1/2 c active wheat starter is pretty standard in all my recipes without a prob but it is a little warmer here now-maybe it's more active?

Or maybe I need to pan this dough?



xaipete's picture

Come to think of it all the rye loaves I made (various recipes) have been panned, so perhaps that is worth a try.


clazar123's picture

I know I posted this on a holiday weekend but I really would like some additional feedback.

I have the recipe mixed up and rising, as I type, and I've used a totally different technique. Since this is a low percentage of rye flour (25%), I am treating this just like I would a whole wheat loaf. I didn't soak the rye flour for hours, I mixed the dry ingredients with the wet in the K5 for just a few minutes after it came together, then:

rested for 20 min,......stretch and fold , 45 min,....stretch and fold....

and then rise to double.... and shape.

It does seem like the gluten is more fragile than my all whole wheat but not as fragile as the last couple loaves. Presently,I'm waiting for the loaf to proof-shaped nicely.

suave's picture

You have so many things in that recipe that it is sorta hard to figure out what's doing what.  Can you really taste kamut under ww and rye? What's ascorbic acid doing there? Why do you need two souring agents? Why the baking temperature is so low?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Try baking it in a loaf pan.

You could also try switching the liquids: the buttermilk for souring the rye, spices and starter and adding the vitamin C to the main dough.  You might also try to mix up the wheats, autolyze and mix again developing the gluten in the mixer before adding the rye stuff to it. Just a thought...


clazar123's picture


I shaped the dough and as it proofed, it expanded very quickly and started tearing. So, I put half of it into a container and in the refrigerator. It's like the yeast is supercharged. I had reduced the instant yeast to 1/2 tsp.Maybe I need to leave it out altogether.

The other half is in a pan.It will have a short proof and bake.

My standard mix for my WW bread is equal parts kamut,hard red spring wheat and Gold Medal Better for Bread. I mill the WW myself. So when I started working on this recipe it started with my standard WW mix. Essentially the recipe is a WW,potato,rye sourdough. THis rye recipe actually started as a WW Potato recipe with a wonderful crumb I thought would work well as a rye.So I substituted 1 c rye for some of the other flour and that's what I've been working on. I really thought that a 25%rye would be easier to work with and a good intro to rye than a higher percentage recipe.


xaipete's picture

What's happening is very interesting. I can only think that there is something in the combination of ingredients that the yeast must really like. I can't understand how a loaf would do this with such a small amount of yeast. Maybe leave the yeast out or reduce the amount of starter.


clazar123's picture

The pan loaf baked into a rather mediocre loaf. I made it rather small for the pan (thinking it would expand a lot ) but the short episode in the refirgerator really put it in check. SO the texture is ok but a little dense,taste is ok.  Seemed to pan better than freestyle.

I work today but will take the dough out later and let it rest for 1-2 hrs,shape,pan,bake and see what happens.

This is taking a whole lot more than I thought it would to develop this recipe.I discovered the best way to work with WW was to do WW rather than hybrid (WW and white) recipes. Now I can do WW and hybrid recipes because I've learned to pay attention to the idiosyncracies of WW. I may have to do the same with rye and jump in with a lot of practice on high percentage rye to learn its idiosyncracies. I predict more birdfood is coming.  :)