The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mini's Favorite 100% Rye Ratio

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Mini's Favorite 100% Rye Ratio

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.



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

"When the SD police come a'knockin"  -  Easter Sunday morning.

Tracy! You were so right!  They (the SD police) showed up before I could even stir my morning coffee!  They didn't even bother to look at my passport, they went straight for the starter,  "Are you she who calls herself, Oven?"

I had to show them an active lively starter and I proudly showed them my cold little dish with a tablespoon in the bottom that just laid there, all that I had.  They sniffed around at it and glared at me over special microscopic spectacles.  (All I could think was do those things come with night vision too?)  They were not impressed.  But the second official commented that the dish was clean.

They donned latex gloves demanding to see my knives,  spraying each with a fine solution in a pump sprayer looking for what, gummy crumb?   They said it would turn purple if the crumb had not gelled properly.  I was glad my instant yeast was resting quietly in a unlabeled peanut can.  That was close!  Had they seen it they might have been joined by the local DIY guys.   Sheesh!  They asked all kinds of questions.

They sprayed my cutting board.  Nothing.  One knife turned up purple and I had to show a scored loaf.  They took impressions of the knife and my last slice of bread to make a comparison analysis, ...they said.  They had the glint of hungry wolves in their eyes.  When I pulled last night's rye loaf out of a bag (bagged at aprox. 4am mind you) they gasped at the aroma hitting their faces.  (I did too. Oh my God! I'm not kidding!) They both stepped forwards.  Oops, I was in trouble now.  They insisted on half the loaf.  I told them it was Easter and they could come back on Tuesday.  That didn't sit well. 

My husband must have caught the aroma as well and decided to chase them out right then and there.  "Enough, out of here!  (whoa!)  Comeback when you have a true violation!"  They tucked tail and left and we made coffee and our holiday breakfast. 

Breakfast was perfect and his omeletts were extra special!  The bread, oh my, this is the loaf.  It was also perfect!  "Honey, this is just like home, just like it!"  He stated cutting us both thick slices.  I'm thinking what a wonderful day this is going to be... and... I gotta get a crumb shot.

He leaned toward me and gave me an Easter kiss, so sweet,  "Who is Elvis?"

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Something else I've been doing -- started when I prepared too little sd starter-- ended up with more natural sweetness and intensity by using only 100g rye starter instead of 150g and trying to speed up the process.  (Well not like added yeast does.)

The rest of the water and flour, 25g each, gets added to a warm wet starter step so the total flour and water stays the same.  All the water is warmed to about 40°C (104°F) and all the water is stirred with the starter & spices (altus) and about 200g flour (if substituting wheat or spelt add now up to 200g, the rest rye.  This guarantees wet time for the wheat or spelt.  (The clock startes ticking when any rye is added.) 

It should be soup like and covered, allowed to sit, whisking occasionally, sit for one and a half hours cooling down to room temp of 24°C.  Then add the rest of the rye and mix well.  A thirty minute pause for the rye flour to soak up moisture before adding the salt and continue.  Shape gently in 1 1/2 to 2 hours and place in a form.  If wheat is added the dough it will have some surface tension when shaping letting you feel like you're actually working on real bread.   Let rise, dock or slash and bake.  The total fermenting time (mix to oven) is still under 8 hours.  And this has just a little bit more rich rye flavor than adding 150g starter right off.  



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I dedicate this next tweak to Christina, for whom this would not be possible.

So I tested it, Christina, I gave my starter old bread to feed it, it wasn't pure but it did open my eyes!    Oh, Mein Gott!  Das ist das!  That is "that" hard to pinpoint flavor, fermented sd bread!   I bless you!  Bless your children and your children's children, Forever!

Here's how it happened...  all I wanted was rye on steroids!

I forgot to refresh my starter so I had about 60g cold very mature rye starter.  It was rather late already but I just refreshed 20g with 80g water and 80g rye flour, my normal routine for 170g starter and then got to cutting up some altus.  Then I got to thinking about what Christina posted here.   The Chemical reaction is mentioned in the links there.

At 10am, I removed a tablespoon of the refreshed starter and put it to the side.  I added the rest of the mature refrigerated starter, warm (40°C) water to make about 400g and fed the starter my two old bread slices (or end of the last loaf) that I had just crumbed in the blender.  Stirred up soup with the spices and covered it. 

The plan is to ferment and use in 4 hrs. and bake between 8 and 10pm.  Using my favorite ratio with flour 50% each Rye and 12% protein Bread flour.  Then I put my dough together at 2:30 pm 4.5 hours later.  Room temp 23°C.

4:00  The salt was added and lightly kneaded into the dough.  Working with wet hands.

6:00 pm and all is well.  This will be a keeper.  No added yeast!  Folded and rested, wet surface, dough fermenting quickly.

7:30 Noticing a slight leveling or flat top to the rising dough so it was high time to bake. Noticing bubbles trying to push up to the surface on the sides.  I popped large ones and smoothed out the surface, rubbed a little water onto the surface.

7:45 pm into the oven.  Did a palm leaf slash.   Almost doubled in size to block out the darn oven light (my Korean standard of maximum height.) Amazing the oven spring!

9pm put onto rack to cool.   Total 11 hours including refreshing starter and 5.25 hr ferment after mixing the dough and the baking.   The loaf was put inside a plastic bag around 4 am to prevent drying out and move moisture to the crumb, I just happened to get up.

Now it is Easter Morning and the bread is fantastic!  Oh my!  The flavor I've been tweaking for is there!  The soft moist, firm crumb, the color, the taste!  This is an Easter I will not forget!  There are no longer doubts... The American can bake like an Austrian!  Wow!  I feel like I graduated or something.  All you really have to do is mix the altus with the starter when refreshing, and let it ferment.  That would do it.

Crumb shot Easter RyeSlice Crumb shot Easter Rye

Mini O Smiles!

Yippee's picture

All you really have to do is mix the altus with the starter when refreshing, and let it ferment. 


Is the altus something in addition to a regular feeding? Or does it replace the flour that's used to feed the starter? Thanks.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I added altus to the regular feeding, what would be the overnight ferment.  My fear is that if I give it only altus, the acid levels might get so high I would have to add yeast to raise the loaf.  High acid slows yeast production.  Adding flour lowers acid. 

I've already thought up an experiment to test this.  Christina is also feeding a starter with just altus.  Lets see what she does with it.  Meanwhile try both.  Mix up two starters one with added flour one without and see how they look the next morning.  Use the one that looks good to you.  Although I must say that after this Easter loaf I'd use them both no matter what they looked like.  Up for two small loaves or two big ones?

I like the yeast balance that I have in my refrigerated firm starter.   If the acid were to increase (like its protective levels when I leave it for months at a time) the yeast may reduce their number too low.  It takes me a few days with sitting out time and fresh food twice a day to get the yeast levels back to high concentration.  So I hesitate to feed it altus.

Interesting is that the Detmold process starts out like a normal 100% hydration starter, then gets thickened to firm (60%) and then thinned,  with different temps (or speeds of fermentation.)  I think feeding a little firm starter to 100% hydration and adding the altus with maybe some water to balance it (like one would do if using in the dough) and an overnight fermentation would achieve many of the same goals yet maintain a high level of yeasts to raise the dough. 

I would love to now incorporate this into my 100% rye or a pumpernickel.  I only need the flour and the berries.  I'm down to 600g rye flour.  Now I work at just keeping my starter going until I get more flour.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Nova askes:

I have been re-reading your section on feeding the starter with altus and am getting ready to try sometime this week...when you did the Easter loaf, 50/50 rye and bread flour, were you using the 1:3.5:4.16 ratio for your starter, water and flour?   you added the remaining 60 grams of cold mature starter, arfter you used 20 grams for the did the 60 grams count in the ratio?  I am trying to move into the 100 % rye with your approach....I do remember yo said that was where you want to take the "rye on steroids" next but have concerns about the acidity the altus might create for 100% rye...

Tried the 100% rye with your ratio two times, the second time with Horst Bandel altus...the flavor of the bread really changed after about 4 days and got better...I hear people say this all the time but for me this was the first time I could agree...usually as naturally leavened bread ages, it does change but usually flavor fades as well...not with this last rye....THANK YOU for sharing all this info with TFL!!!

Please read the last entry  "That would be the next experiment" about how I feel about my firm starter without using the altus.

What I did with the starter was a 1:4:4 (or 2:8:8) ratio of feeding the starter but I didn't want to wait the 8 hours or longer for it to mature.  (I removed 20g to continue with my starter letting it mature before feeding.)  That left me with a diluted starter of 80g water & 80g flour so I added the 40g mature starter which made it closer to a  1:2:2 ratio starter (reducing the fermenting time.)  Then I stirred in warm water from the ratio to thin it and speed it up in two ways; heat and hydration (further reducing fermenting time.)  Then I added the altus crumbs (cubed and hacked in a blender) to boost it even more and hoping for added flavor as the bread get caughts up into the fermentation!

I'm sure it was ready before 4 hours but I couldn't get to it until 4.5 hours later to even look at it.   Not a big problem if I was gone another hour or two because I was still dealing with the starter, not the main dough. 

The dough used the 1:3.5:4.16 ratio.   The water had been previously weighed (using some of it with the starter) so I simply added the rest before adding the mixture of flour.  Working with wet hands, I made up for any hydration corrections I thought the dough needed. 


Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Just mixed up a loaf with 2/3 rye, 1/3 spelt. Was meant to be all rye but ran out of rye flour. We'll see. I'm hoping to bake at about 5 hours. We're at about 78 degrees in the camper right now so hopefully that will work out. I put it directly into the pullman pan to see if it really will work without having to be transferred/shaped.

Results to follow!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sounds like a good mixture.  That will fluff up the rye!   If the rising dome starts to just hint at flattening, bake it before the 5 hours.


Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

The spelt worked. It wasn't ready at 5 hours so I left it overnight. I woke up at 3:30 this morning to pop it in the oven. It went a full 10 hours! It didn't self destruct! The spelt makes for a slightly less sour, milder loaf. Still fantastic but not quite as strong in taste as the pure rye. Probably would be preferred by someone who wants a milder bread but still wants the experience of a sour, dense rye.

I used a little bit of dried onions, 2 tsp fennel and 2 tsp of caraway for my spices. Yummy!!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

right away into the dough?    Crumb shot?   Glad you extended the rise!

I once threw in the rye crutons I had made (desperate for old bread) they also had bits of fried onion in them and a bit of olive oil,  was also a good loaf.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

April 20, 2010

I've been trying to bake off the last of my flour, cleaning out the cupboards, trying not to think of the volcanic ash that may influence my journey. 

I found 220g of spelt flour! I was very curious how different the spelt is to the bread flour after Doc Tracy's 10 hour ferment.  Spelt can give a dough a good deal of stretch and fluff so here's a comparison opportunity!  I'm not into baking overproofed bricks to test the limits, but I will see how long they hold up against each other.  I have to stager the loaves to bake them.  The spelt is 30 minutes ahead of the wheat in mixing.

Easy enough. 

  • I have two identical starters already made. Each chilled starter contains 85g rye and 85g water with 20g starter and 100g altus (70% rye). 
  • Both recipes contain 490g rye and 600g water 35°C.  (making finished loaf 73% rye)
  • One with 220g Spelt, the other with 220g Bread flour. 
  • Room temp 23°C.
  • The ratio is 1:3.5:4.16
  • salt added after one hour: 15.9g   2% of 795g total flour (I use a little less salt)

Must be my starters and the warm water, they fermented rather quickly and caught me by surprise at the 4 hour mark.  I shaped the dough and it was incredibly wet, and would not cooperate well.  I let it rise more and put the wheat loaf into the oven before the spelt.  The spelt rose higher and seemed to be in better shape when it went into the oven.   The spelt had the longer fermenting time of 1.5 hours.


Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Any thoughts of using this information to make volkornbrot? I have 150 gms rye chops, 100 grams flax seed soaking with 150 grams water/1tbsp salt. I built a 100% starter with rye meal instead of flour last night, pinch of salt. (about 150 gms)

I'd like to to use what I have to bake a volkornbrot. How should I use this formula?

Thanks Mini! Everyone who tastes this rye bread says it's the best they've ever tasted. Even non-rye lovers are converted. It's my daily bread now and we're going through over a loaf a week.

Because of you I was forced to buy a nutrimill. Thanks a lot!!:)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

hold back on some of the water for the recipe because I don't know what those jelly coated flax seeds will do other than slide all over the bowl!  I might put the soakers and starter together and then add the flour (150g less) slowly adding water.  Leave the dough a little stiff because it loosens up.  Fold it in an hour and see if you need more water.  You know what the dough feels like.  Are you thinking of adding any other seeds or nuts?


If you credit me for the mill, use it outside, stay upwind and don't breathe in any of the dust.  Fine flour dust is something I don't like around and you shouldn't breath it either! Oh and stay away from open flames with it.  :)


Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I'll give it a whirl! Starter is raring to go but I'm trying to time it so that it's fermenting for the cool of the night. No other fruits or nuts this time although I'm hoping to try some orange zest if I can dig up an old tangelo out of the fridge. I have these hybrid lemons that look/smell just like oranges and if there are any still left on the tree could zest one of them instead. Otherwise, just the spices I usually use. Have a regular starter building too so I'll have a plain-Jane bread to compare. Although now you got me thinking about all the nuts, fruits and seeds I can add! I'm grinding outside for now. Can you imagine grinding in the RV? I'll try to stay away from open flames. Haven't had the best of luck with fire lately,lol! Did I mention vie tried to burn the rv down about 5 times so far? Once when I pre-heated the oven with "Bread" on the vent. Now "Bread" has scorch marks! I'll try not to breathe the flour either since I have asthma. My lungs wouldn't like that either. My nose dod like the smell of freshly ground whole wheat and rye flour though. I'll let you know how baking goes if I have time before work in the AM. Thanks for your fantastic advice!

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Mini-check out my blog. It worked great!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I fed my rye starter 100% altus and it was forgotten in the refrigerator for about 3-4 weeks.  The starter had turned liquid and had not so pretty scum on top if it.  I poured it off and took a good clean scoop off the bottom of the jar.  Put that heaping teaspoon of glop into a measuring cup, added about 60g of water and rye flour to make a sloppy wet paste.  I figured I was into a feeding project for a few days to get the yeasts up in number.  This morning I was surprised to find it bubbling away and wanting to go into bread!  So a loaf is in the works. 

Mini in Austria

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Wanted to get these water holding chia seeds to work for me.  The idea (Thank you Shiao Ping!) is to get them to hold water so that I can handle the dough easier or have a firmer dough with a higher hydration.


The pictured loaf was put together in this order:

150g 100% Rye starter

525g cold water 

50g chia seeds

50g raw sesame seeds

50g crumbled altus (50% rye)

bread spice & whole caraway

150g wheat flour (AP) with 10% sprouted flours (Keimkraft Weizenmehl)

Mix well

475g rye flour  (type 960)

Mix well, but add

100g more water  to pull the dry flour together.

Sit 30 minutes and then fold in 12g Salt.

Shape in 3 hours with wet hands and place into form.  Let rise 2 - 4 more hours.

Baked covered in a cold convection oven 225°C for 30 minutes then reduce heat to 200°C convection for another 10 minutes.  Remove top covering exposing the loaf.  Switch bake using upper/lower 200°C heat for a total baking time of 1.5 hours.  Finished when center of loaf reaches 95°C.


AnnaInMD's picture

masterpiece !



nicodvb's picture

This bread looks really very inviting!!

The rye you used seems to be the white one, or at least not completely wholemeal, right?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

This article LINK refers to type 960 as a Light Rye flour.  

My current package reads... 

That for every 100g:

Energiewert: 1384kj/ 324 kcal

Eiweiß or Protein: 8.6g

Kohlenhydrate or Corbohydrates: 69.1

davon Zucker or Sugar: 1.7g

Fett or Fat: 1.7g

davon ges. Fettsäuren: 0.2g

Ballaststoffe or Roughage: 7.6g

Natrium or Salt: 0.003g

And here's a new one...

Broteinheiten:  5.8 BE 


I would roast the seeds, both the chia and the sesame before using.  I think the raw sesame leaves a green grass taste.  Right now we are toasting the slices for more toasted flavor.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Rats!  Welcome to Chile!  I just threw in raw sunflower and sesame seeds into my first loaf...   Normally I have roasted hanging around in the cupboard (but being new and all) just got these at my local super duper super market.  Didn't think.  :(    Been here almost two weeks.  Should be over jet lag.

I am pre-heating the oven early today because it is new.  (A virgin!)  Electrical ovens almost always smoke and smell like an electrical fire when first turned on and I want smell and smoke to leave the kitchen before filling it with fresh rising & baked bread aromas.  Can't wait to kill the smell of dirty socks coming from the living room rug (wool.)  I might do better laying it upside down in the sunshine.  Or hanging it out in a stiff wind.  Please private message me with a better idea soon.

Just mixed up a batch of rye dough with Chilean home grown rye.  There are little flecks in the flour (bran) and I added 0.5% more flour to the recipe so I'm guessing this rye has a lower ash content than my Austrian 960.   We will see soon enough.  Meanwhile, I water my germinating garden seeds hoping to see little green baby kitchen herbs and radishes.  Three months of sunny summer weather ahead!  

Another interesting aspect of central Chile, I have a bird of prey (falcon?) taking a fancy to a perch outside my kitchen window.  Flew in yesterday and watched us eat breakfast for a few minutes.  I slowly got the camera and took his picture from two meters away!  Then he flew off...  I then placed a little piece of fresh meat on the perch and waited...  ...and waited.  It turned dark and was drying up in the sun.  (Alas, fresh mice to offer my visitor.)  Later in the afternoon, the meat was gone.      

Ah!  Not a snob after all!  It just wasn't ripe yet!  Should have known.   :)

Update:  The loaf proofed quickly (about 3 hrs early) and I almost overproofed it.  An hour too late with the salt addition made for speedy fermentation but got it into the oven after docking.  I got a "dent" on top and it took forever to brown nicely so I think I was too close to overproofing for comfort.  

Note to self:  need to pick up a timer!  Dough handling was comparable to what I've done, no surprises there.  Baked in a glass casserole with a double aluminum foil tent over the top.  No convection in the electric oven so had to remove foil for nice browning after about an hour in the oven.  I used 110g of starter in the formula.

Koyae's picture

Mini -- after seeing you post in "countertop baking" I felt the inclination to ask a few things here about your ratio, and ryes in-general.

I've given the ratio one try, and instead of switching over to something different after a not-perfect set of loaves (200g starter made for 3 small loaves which went into 2 toasterovens and 1 bread-machine), I'm inclined to stick with it because the flavour of the crumb was really to-die-for.


I stuck as close as I could to the proportions you recommended, having refeshed the starters once the day before and once 11 hours-ish beforehand. I did 1/3 of the dough by hand and mixed the other two using in the pan of my Red Star. Since the paddle is parallel to the ground, the flour after a short while just sortof formed a floor underneath in the space where the paddle clears the bottom of the pan. I stopped the machine and scraped the dough out, and decided that I would do the remainder by hand, because I felt like the dough was getting beaten up too much with that happening.


I set the three loaves aside for about 24 hours at about 65F (18.3C) in bowls with plastic zipper bags closed over each of them.


Then I went on greasing the two clear pyrex pans (for the toaster ovens) and a thin all-black ceramic bowl for use in the toaster oven (loaves that come out of the actual pan from that machine have the most terrible spring and most hideous shape in the world.) I docked each one repeatedly on top with a little sharp two-pronged metal tool (olive-spear? fancy fish-eating device? it came from a thrift-store anyway).

I used a silicon brush to apply a little over 2 tablespoons of water to all three loaf-tops.


I just picked "dark" for the Red Star and did 400F (204C) for about 20 minutes covered not-tight-not-loose with foil in the toasterovens, before turning the toaster-ovens down into the mid-to-high 300s (187-ish C) and unconvering.

Those 2 bakes went for a little under 2 hours with a thermometer-check toward the end of each. Both loaves in the toasterovens reached 200F (93.3C). The bread-machine bake went for 150 minutes because the thermometer only read 194 for the loaf, so I did an extra 50-minute bake-cycle.


Shortly after I'd powered everything down I tossed the loaves onto a rack for 36 hours and then cut.

All three loaves required a lot of leverage and sawing to get slices off of them. Once I sawed through most of the crust, it became easier. Crusts were chewy to the point of being almost crunchy.


The breachmachine-version had done what is for me the classic high-% rye -behavior which is where the top of the crust disconnects from the crumb. I think I may place the loaf lower in the bread-machine so next time the heat does not accumulate under the lid toward the top of the loaf... if that spring had been evenly distributed over the crumb, I would have been quite happy. The crumb in the breadmachine-loaf was slightly softer than the other two.


These came out pretty dense all-around. I don't mind that at-all in bread, as I love making spreads and enjoying hommus and things with bread. Since I didn't make any soup this week, I felt that the toughness of the crusts detracted from the final experience, here.

So, questions:

Other than the Horst Bandel pumpernickel (which I'm itching to try) are there any other very-high-rye-% recipes which have such an extended ferment (24 hours or more) as I like to do? Any tips on getting ferments of this lenth to work better in general?

  • After maybe 4 hours or so, am I safe to bag the loaves up in plastic so the crusts will soften, or will the crumb not set up if I do? (Gummy rye crumbs are the pits.)
  • Will my crumb likely still set up if I just quit right after hitting 190F (88C)?
  • Would it help here to consider maybe brushing the loaves with milk right after the bake?
  • If I crank up the heat in the toaster-ovens further, is it a good or bad idea to slash them beforehand?
  • I'm not sure I'm docking correctly. My method was similar to aerating a lawn of grass with a bunch of about-1/4-in -deep holes. Do I need to be more strategic?
  • Should I have considered doing a second repeated piercing of the top of the loaf for the bread-machine maybe 5 minutes in to solve that "disconnected crust" -problem?
  • As mentioned, the organic rye flour that I use imbues a great flavour to the bread, and has historically performed esquisitely in the big rye batterbreads that I've tried in conventional ovens, but it's quite coarse. Should I consider using the coffeegrinder on some of it before mixing?

To avoid quite this volume of typing again, I'll do some photos next time.

Koyae's picture

Anyone else who's also versed in rye who has some input please feel welcome to chime in.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

A twenty four hour ferment in not included in my recipe.

I have an 8 hour tops for 100% rye.  That could explain the dense loaf.   Try using less starter for a longer ferment.  A Tablespoon?  Add the rest of the starter flour and water to the dough recipe.

Also how did you trap steam or introduce steam into the baking process?  This would help with the crusts.  I bag the loaf as soon as it is cooled to room temperature.  Small ovens, small loaves, without steam (and too much ventilation) can lead to dry hard crusts, cover them tighter for at least the first half of the baking time.  Make a dome of foil if you need to.  Include a hot mug of boiling water or a hot steamy microwaved rolled up washcloth. Start out higher 220°C and then reduce to 200°C when uncovering.  Starting out with higher heat and reducing is like "sealing in the juices" with meat.  Don't go too low or it tends to dry out the crust.

Docking should be done poking about 1 1/2" to 2" deep.  I use the entire length of a wet standard toothpick.

Disconnected crust on rye loaf is usually overproofing, there are some good examples linked in the archives.  The loaf structure inside the loaf just gives way and falls while the set crust holds a roof over the whole mess.  So make a note to cut back on the amount of starter if you want to ferment longer and/or ferment cooler but not in the fridge (too cold) closer to 15°C.   Try using ice water in mixing.

My rye loaf ratio is too wet to slash but if you are lowering the hydration, you can possibly slash the loaf.  If rising in a form, slash when placed in the form, if it swells shut don't worry, it reopens later in the oven.  Slash deeper than half an inch using a wet knife.  Or sprinkle with seeds and then slash letting the loaf rise.  If you use a banneton, you will have to use your own judgement depending on your hydration and the stability of the dough and your experience.

Do not over-mix 100% rye doughs.  Getting the flour wet is all it takes. Adding one or two folds to shape with your hands will teach you a great deal about the progress of the fermenting dough and it's elasticity.  Make notes when bubbles appear and how long they hold up.  When gas pockets burst too easily and tear or float to the surface, the ferment is starting to deteriorte the integrity of the dough and the loaf is in danger of overproofing.  Baking should be done before too much gas escapes. 

I have not baked a single loaf in a bread machine.  

If you have larger chunks of grain that bother you in the finished bread, it is not hard to make them smaller in a coffee grinder.  If you want to, you can sift them out and soak them in cold salt water or even cook them first if you desire.

I hope that helps...

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven
Bread Breaddington's picture
Bread Breaddington

I just tried this out today. I tweaked it somewhat, I didn't add the spice, and I used a white starter since I didn't want to bother building a rye starter. So the bread was more like 88% rye, which is the darkest rye I've yet made so it's fine by me. I realized I do not have any pots that fit together well enough, so I was forced to bake the bread in a glass sandwich loaf pan covered with tin foil. It worked, the loaf just didn't look as nice. 

The crumb really is the nicest I've gotten considering the proportion of whole rye. It has a nice rye-y flavor, though if you don't eat it in thin slices the sourness is almost too much. But I do think I'll make this again.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

because my son had a short knife for his mountain weekend wander.  These Austrians are real extreme walkers!  I shaped foil over the empty upside-down pan and then covered the top of the loaf with that tucking tight the edges.  Worked just fine!  Try the spices, I think you will enjoy them!

"...the sourness was almost too much."    

I wonder if that could be caused from using a wheat sourdough starter.  I think the beasts in wheat taste more sour than rye starter beasts.   Or the rye buffers the sour taste better over time.  Might be interesting if you convert a little wheat starter to pure rye over several days and then try again. 


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It took me a little while of careful reading but I did find Centeno Fina, Harina de Centeno Fina; Rye flour fine.  Price?  About €2.30 per kilo in kilo bags.

The flour has little specks of bran in it.  I had to change my ratio just a little bit and up the flour amount.  Came out with 1 / 3.5 /4.26  (s/w/f)  84% hydration.  Still having it ferment too fast and with each loaf, I'm slowing down the fermenting rate.  I'm down to adding salt after a 30 minute autolyse.  Lots of great feel to the dough and getting lots of stretch and rise out of it.  Pinholes appear rather quickly so I might try reducing the amount of starter or soaking the flour next since I'm heading into Summer.  I do want those longer wet times on my flour.  I think the bran flecks is speeding up my fermentation.  Not getting nice domes on my loaves but flat tops.  Soaking the bran might soften it so it is less apt to puncture my matrix too early.  I could also try sifting to see if that makes a difference and using the bran in the starter build.  

I got a 2kg loaf of 100% rye in a 220°C oven.  Been in there an hour and it's baking in a large cooking pot covered with double aluminum foil.  Time to take a peek...  ...or not?  

Flat topped... drat.  Glossy and flat topped. (sounds like a hair style or a torte) I will tip it out of the form for ten minutes of baking to brown and dry out the crust a little after the center reaches  96°C  or 205°F.  That's the plan anyway.  :)  


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Ah the variables!  

My 100% loaf came out well, has some chia in it.  Not as high as in volume as the 87% rye loaf (added wheat) from the last bake, but I've gotten the loaf up to a 6 hour fermenting time at about 22°C room temp.  Salt added right away and I think the chia (instead of extra flour) soaks up some of the water slowing down the ferment just a tiny bit.  Chia then releases the water in the bake.  

I'm using a deep strait sided round 8" (20cm) diameter buttered aluminum DO without lid,  loose alu foil tent,  more (I toggled) lower heat (to make up for a shiny pan bottom) lower rack position  (oven has no fan.)  The dough was so well behaved with chia that I am tempted to now use a banneton and see if it will free form nicely.  Recipe is for 200g rye starter a good portion being altus.  Toasted sesame, sunflower seeds & spices in the dough.  Partially pre-heated oven.

As you can see from the lower compact crumb, I should have turned the oven setting to "lower heat" sooner, more in the beginning of the bake.  That might lift the crumb if it wasn't too close to being overproofed.   That's the next tweak.  


Janetcook's picture

Nice to see your newest addition to your 'famous' rye loaf :-)  It looks yummy despite the shiny flat top....sounds like something out of the '50's...

Can you explain a bit about your comment about the higher heat in the beginning of the bake and how it is responsible for the dense crumb on the bottom of the loaf?  I had assumed a higher heat in the beginning would prevent that due to more heat = more oven spring. 




Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

No what I did was to notice that the loaf was baking at about 180°C and changed to the lower heat setting half way into the bake.  It is important to get that heat under the bottom of the loaf in the beginning of the bake and not tack it on later.  Then it's too late.

Anyway change of plan...  this time I used 

  • the lower rack 
  • shiny bottom pan with loose foil cover: 20cm diameter, 9cm tall
  • Cold oven.  
  • 180°C setting upper and lower heat.  
  • rye starter (50g very mature firm ripe starter, 100g water, 50g moist altus (rye bread) 50g rye flour.  Total of 250g starter fermented 5 hours. 
  • 700g water, 860g rye flour (fine with speckles) 17g salt  + 15g chia seeds  ...and other seeds & spices

I mixed the dough with salt right away and let it rest 3 hours, folded over twice and shaped with wet hands, filled the pan 2/3 full, let rise until even with pan edge or two hours at 22°C, docked with wet toothpick and rubbed surface with water.  Covered loosely with foil dome, placed in middle of lowest rack.  Turned on upper & lower heat and walked out the door to go shopping.  (I know!)  I returned in 1.5 hrs to see oven temp at 180°C and bread not done.  Removed foil (rather late) and let the loaf brown more on top.  Removed 20 minutes later when inside temp read 96°C (205°F) 3 cm above the rim.  Tipped out on cooling rack.  Even crust color all around only where the foil top was very loose was there a whitish cloudy surface shadow on the bread, the rest was shiny.  Husband cut the loaf when not quite cool and put a big thumb print into the loaf while fighting with the hard outside crust over warm soft crumb.  No bread knife and no patience!  ☢  

Mildest loaf of rye I ever made!   Even after standing overnight to balance out the moisture in the  loaf (cuts much better now.)  The crumb is moist, cuts, tears and bends easily too and rather light for a high rye and sweet.  Reminds me more of cake.  !!!  I think this would be a good loaf to add a fair amount of walnuts & gingerbread spices for a Christmas variation.  (Not baking anything with added sweet this year.)  

Hubby noticed this loaf was darker than the rest...    (yes!)

nicodvb's picture

don't you agree? No (added) sugar yet sweet. Starch attack comes to rescue breakfast time:) If it wasn't for the annoyingly wet crumb I wouldn't have anything to complain when my rye bread comes out like yours.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Still have a flat top...    (I'm also cutting with a knife and not my electric slicer back home) This is just too good!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Lower heat and upper heat  in other words lower coil heating, upper coil heating   Not lowering or raising the temperature just moving the electrical heat around.  Might be a language thing on my part.  I want more heat under the loaf when it first goes in... so... I didn't preheat and went back to my habit of using a cold oven and adding extra time to the bake.  The foil protects the top as the upper coil is preheating. It stays loose because I have no fan so no need to over protect the top of the loaf.  The loaf has a good deal of moisture at 85% hydration and so I do want some steam to escape.  

Went a bit long with the tent (hey, what's a Pullman?)  but I think it came out nicely.  Nico thinks I have a gummy crumb, I'm not so sure I do.  I have seen gummy crumbs with no real crumb to make out.  Can one still have a great set of bubbles and a gummy crumb?

nicodvb's picture

but very moist, even though reading back what you wrote I realize that I had the wrong impression: that it was excessively moist.

Janetcook's picture

So why do you think it turned out to be so mild this time?  Different flours used?

I decided to give your formula a try too.  I fed the sour last night and while feeding it I began to 'tweak' simply came over me.....I decided to use 25% spelt since you always say that rye and spelt like each other :-)  I decided to soak the spelt to help develop the gluten and I figured that it gave the spelt grains something to do while waiting for the sour to mature :-).  

This morning I combined the sour, soaker, some altus (a blend of rye and barley), rye flour, water and salt and mixed it all up.  It has been sitting under my halogen lamp where the temp. is 74° (proofing box is set at 80° which would make things happen to quickly for this loaf).  One hour into the sitting I did a mini knead to distribute heat etc. and to get a feel for the dough.  Will check on it later....

I am curious to see how it turns out and if my son likes it since it will be for him.  I am baking challah today too so a cold start may not work depending on how the loaves line up.  

Your explanation of the heat is along the lines of what I was thinking except I am used to pre-heating at a higher temp. (usually 50° higher than the bake temp) and not using a cold start.  My oven doesn't have top and bottom heating elements - convection fan only so I don't have as much control as you do over the distribution of the heat.

Now to get busy wrapping presents as my son just peddled off to work so I am home alone :-)

Thanks for the explanation.



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I wanted a faster ferment, forgot to mix up my starter the night before.  So I used more starter, the last of my 3 week old refrigerated mother starter.  It was a fast ferment.  A slower ferment with a small amount of starter tends to create more sour, at least for me.  The long lag time (high pH jump) leads to sour.  I had two 5 hour ferments one after the other.  The more sour breads were typically  8-12 hr overnight ferment (sour) followed by another 6-8 hr. (dough) ferment. (everything about 22°C - 23°C) 

Janetcook's picture

I had assumed you had stuck to your ratio so I didn't take the time to evaluate your #'s.....details :-)

My loaf is in my oven as I type.  Had a 7 hour ferment time which worked out perfectly.  No conflict with the challahs. My son likes mini loaves so I put the mini loaf pan inside of one of my smaller pre-heated DOs.  I am curious to see the results.


tamullins's picture

Hi Mini, I would like to try the 100% rye bread but I was wondering if you have the recipe in a step by step instruction. If so, I would greatly appreciate you passing them along.  I'm a bit confused with the starter portion and how to make it.  I'm also not familiar with the "altus" portion of the recipe, could you tell me what it is?

Can't wait to try it and THANKS!


marysland's picture

I have found if I leave the sourdough at room temp in the  covered pans for about 2-3 hours before I refrigerate it will rise lovely overnight or while I'm away at work. If I go straight to fridge it takes way more hours and checking than my busy life can take. I work a 8-4 everyday and I bake 2-3 loaves every other week. Thanks for your notes. I have adopted many of the same thoughts as you. I have a recipe I have tweeked over and over and it works with a lovely crumb for me but I will be trying yours one of these days because it uses less starter than mine. BTW, my bread is proofing as I type this.100 percent sourdough rye is almost exclusively what I eat these days. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

That sounds interesting.  Thank you. Do you know how cold the dough gets in the room and in the fridge?

marysland's picture

My home is set at 69 degrees in the winter and the fridge is supposed to be 34 . In the summer they sit out 1-2 hours instead because it's warmer.

Gwenhyfer's picture

Hello Mini,

Thank you so much for this very informative post!  I'm a novice baker at best, my starter is only a few weeks old, kicked off in the middle of New Zealand's Covid-19 Lockdown.  At the same time my husbands doctor suggested he cut out wheat from his diet - it was all the encouragement I needed to start making my own 100% Rye - Yum!! (Its not something you find a lot of here in NZ sadly).  Without being able to go to a library though I was finding it hard to find a recipe or formula behind it that also had some science/logic/experimentation and explanation. But here I am, after some late night internet research and I find a gold mine - THANK YOU!

For the most part I've been happy enough with my results, I generally make a loaf every second day and there's never any left overs (I've learnt about altus now though, so might have to start hoarding the heels - they are usually my treat toasted with cheese!)  I'm hoping now after some trialling and using your tips to get a decent size cafe sandwich style loaf, not just my slightly concave building bricks.  Yummy bricks, but bricks all the same. ;)

With warm regards,


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

got any pictures?  Like a crumb shot?  I don't know if one ever gets away from being a brick with 100% rye bread but it sure is good!  Just slice thinner!  

Hubby is currently killing off my last loaf smearing it with pork roast drippings, thin sliced onion and a sprinkle of salt.  I have a few slices frozen so the ends can still be cherished.  I had rolled that sticky loaf in rolled oats before final rise and baking.  :)  Rye starter is fed and rising for the next loaf.  Walnuts chopped are also great as a topping with blue cheese/butter spread on rye brick slices.  Yumm!