The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Novice bread baker in Minneapolis, dreaming of rye

Weatherwax's picture

Novice bread baker in Minneapolis, dreaming of rye

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to introduce myself properly . . . I'm a mostly-new baker located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  I've made plenty of sandwich loaves, but not much else. They were ok, but nothing to inspire passion.  In fact, I didn't think bread was something I'd ever BE passionate about.  I didn't understand why "real French bread" was such a big deal, even after going to France (!! I know).

Then I went to Germany, and I suddenly got it.  I still dream about those breads. Turns out I just like whole-grain breads more than white ones, even good white ones.

In the absence of a book on German bread, I threw myself into whole-grain baking. It flopped. I baked four whole wheat loaves that were variously flat tasting, bitter, heavy, and heavier, and decided that RLB was right to mix her whole and refined flours. 

But then I found this website, and Peter Reinhardt's Whole Grain Breads, and yesterday I baked my first-ever successful 100% whole wheat sandwich loaf. I am ecstatic! And I have the biggest crush on this website . . . the pictures, the detail, the sheer amount of information is astounding. Thanks to the kneading videos and the threads on higher-hydration doughs, I got that recipe right on the first try.  I'm not plunging right into Real Pumpernickel. But with this website to refer to, I think one day I just might go for it.





LindyD's picture

Welcome, Weatherwax,

Many of us share that same passion, so we know where you're coming from!

Rye, glorious sourdough rye.  May I suggest a trip to your local library where hopefully they will have a copy of Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread, a Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes," which contains the best information on rye flour and baking rye breads I've come across.

You can't go wrong if you pay attention to what he has to say and follow his instructions.

(I don't have PR's WGB book - if Hamelman's not available at your library, am guessing PR offers some excellent information as well)

xaipete's picture

Welcome Weatherwax.

There are a lot of whole grain fans on this site! I 2nd Lindy's recommendation of Hamelman's book.


crunchy's picture

Be sure to check out Dan Leader's book Local Breads, he's got lots of great rye recipes there.

fsu1mikeg's picture

I got into bread baking for much the same reason. I met and eventually married a gal from Germany. I was hooked on the bread after the first visit there. I would echo others who have recommended Hamelman's book. I also have Leader's book, which was my first bread book. The ryes in his book are mostly light ryes that call for a high percentage of wheat flour. They are excellent breads, just thought I'd mention that since you seem to appreciate the darker ryes. I was never able to successfully make Leader's 100% rye, but I had much better luck with Hamelman's version.

Soundman's picture

Hi Weatherwax, and welcome to TFL!

Don't miss dmsnyder's rye recipes, techniques and tips, which you'll find included on this page:

I second, or third, or fourth, etc., the recommendation of Hamelman's Bread. It's a gem!