The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starting Hammelman's Ryes- which flour?

inlovewbread's picture

Starting Hammelman's Ryes- which flour?

Hi everybody,

I'm baking through Hammelman's "Bread". I'm approaching the Rye chapter and I want to be prepared with the right flour and techniques. I have read many recent threads on the topic of rye, and more recently, this thread:

I too am wondering if my Hodgson Mills Rye flour will work for most of Hammelman's formulas. From what I can gather, it is whole rye flour, coursely ground and I think it would be categorized as a dark rye flour. If the formula calls for a finer grind, can I just re-mill this flour on a finer grind setting? I don't have a local source for rye flour here, or rye berries. I am thinking about making an order with King Arthur or from Azure Standard and grinding my own. Which would be better? 

Any thoughts appreciated as well as any advice on working with rye. I'm also interested in hearing if anyone has baked with Hodgson Mills Rye Flour (comes in a 2lb. box in my store and the ingredients read: Whole Rye.) and if you have- did you write about it or post pictures? How did it turn out?


LindyD's picture

I personally don't care for Hodgson Mills rye.  It's too coarse and gritty and I didn't care for the results when I tried it last year.  

I've gotten the best results with Arrowhead Mills organic rye, which is a whole rye flour. I checked the Hodgson Mills website and there's not a mention of the word "organic" on their rye page.  Arrowhead Mills is available at natural food stores.

If you read page 48 of "Bread," you'll see that JH writes that dark rye is coarse, sandy, and quite difficult to work with. I don't know if the Hodgson Mills is a dark rye, but its texture sure fits that description.   

As for advice on rye, if you study pages 43-49 and 188-193 of "Bread," you'll be in good shape.  

Can't help you on the milling questions, as I don't grind my own flour.

Finally, rye dough is sticky, so don't add more flour to try to "fix" that.  Daniel Leader sums it up in "Local Breads" by advising anyone making a rye dough should embrace stickiness.

You said you were "baking through" Hamelman.  That's cool.  

caraway's picture

I've used Hodgson Mills Rye and found it to be a very good flour for bread and for initiating sourdough starter.  It will produce a little heavier loaf than a medium or a white rye but I'm not sure what you're looking for.  My favorite loaf that I refuse to be without is a light one much like a Jewish Rye.  I've adapted it from BBA's recipe and use medium rye which I buy from our local bakery.

Only other suggestion I have is to be careful not to over knead a rye recipe - it requires less than half the time needed for a white or wheat loaf.

Happy baking, enjoy!

suave's picture

Hodgson Mills in boxes is a good rye flour, considerably better than the stuff they put in bags.  It's not sold any longer around here, but I liked the way it worked.  Of course with Hamelman's recipes asking for medium rye you'll have to resort to mail order.

Yerffej's picture

If grinding the rye berries is an option for you then by all means buy rye and mill it yourself.  Many recipes call for coarse meal or cracked rye and this is something you cannot create with a high impact mill but you can with a stone or adjustable burr mill.