The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Second and Third Ryes

inlovewbread's picture

Second and Third Ryes

The first rye that I made can be found here. It was a 80% Rye with a Rye Flour Soaker from Hamelman's Bread. I have to add to my previous post, that the flavor developed over the next few days and the crust softened up. I liked the bread a lot and it was good with just a little butter on it :-) At first I wasn't that impressed but as time went on I came to really like it. I saved the last third or so of the loaf for use as altus. 

The next rye I tried was a 70% Rye. The formula for this loaf can be found here. It is Hansjoakim's favorite rye using dmsnyder's write-up. (thanks for the clear instructions!) 

I really liked this rye! The taste was really good- hard to describe, but better than my last rye. I think this was partly due to the fact that I had used Hodgson Mills whole rye flour with the first loaf (which is course ground) and with this loaf here I used an organic medium whole rye flour from PCC. The texture was dense but moist and the crust was perfect- not too hard. I was happy to get this "cracked" pattern on the bread from placing the dough seam side down in the brotform. I love how it looks- Hansjoakim's turn out way better of course.

Overall, I like this bread. I think I may use it as a base in the future for a bread with caraway seeds, anise and something else in it- cardamom maybe. 

Third Rye:

This is a Jewish Deli Rye using (again) dmsnyder's write-up which can be found here. I didn't know if I like caraway seeds or not, turns out....I do! This bread is really good and would make a great sandwich. Very flavorful.

I used First Clear Flour for the first time with these loaves, and again used the organic PCC medium rye flour. I built-up my rye starter over the preceding three days to make this loaf which calls for 750 grams rye sour. I'd like to try this bread again with a WHITE rye sour instead of the whole rye starter/sour that I used. I think it would have been lighter in color and more authentic? tasting. I don't know- I have nothing to go off of since I have not had rye breads before except the ones that I have made!

It is important to me to try different breads, and rye bread in particular. I appreciate history and learning of different people groups, their culture and heritage, and making these rye breads is a tiny way to be better connected to them. Every country in the world has their own breads, and I find it interesting and poignant to eat the same types of flavors they did/do, and learn the "why" behind the ingredients they use. Fascinating to me.

So, I'm going to keep on with rye for a while. I was going to move on to the Detmolder Rye's but I think I may wait until I can fashion a proofing box for that (you have to keep certain temperatures for each sour build). Next rye? I'll take suggestions. Maybe "Eric's Favorite Rye" or a swedish rye...we'll see.



dmsnyder's picture

I'd encourage you to try the Jewish Sour Rye with white rye, just because it is traditional to make it that way. But, it sounds like you are really developing a taste for rye flavor, so I'm betting you are going to prefer it made with a medium or dark rye.

Hamelman's 70% Detmolder Rye is the one I've made. It is wonderful - Not very different from hansjoakim's. I think you will like it.

You're baking nice stuff!


CaptainBatard's picture

Can I have a piece? ...I love the cobblers pattern on the 80% rye...


althetrainer's picture

I would like to try them both!  Good going with your rye adventure.  Hope your next loaf will be as successful!  Al

hansjoakim's picture

They both look perfect!

Talk about fast learner... you're a brilliant and talented baker!

su's picture

Your jewish deli rye looks amazing and I am so jealous! We LOVE rye round here and this looks perfect! I have been trying to perfect a jewish deli rye but have problems with using a levin style starter as the mix is wet and the loaves spread rather than rise in the oven. As you are using 750gms of white rye starter can you share what starter ratios you used? Have you used a 1:2:1 or 1:1:1 starter:water:flour ratio? I am a relative newbie but have worked hard with my ryes to create tight loaves before proofing, used bannetons, use a baking stone in the oven etc to no avail and my major problem with rye is getting the great loaf shape and rise in the oven. Any input would be great. Thanks

hansjoakim's picture

Hi su,

I hope you don't mind me shooting in a quick reply regarding sourdough feeding before inlovewbread gets back to you regarding the white rye starter.

Working with rye doughs gets easier as you gain experience with how to handle them. Contrary to mainly wheat doughs, rye doughs are not very elastic. This has to do with the particular glutenin:gliadin ratio in rye flours. Using a healthy, vital sourdough is likely to make dough handling easier, and give you a well-balanced loaf that is attractive, wholesome and has a moist, open, regular crumb.

I would strongly advice against the starter ratios that you mention. A trick to get a healthy, robust, strong sourdough starter: Feed it generously. There are many suggestions out there regarding starter feeding and maintenance, and sadly, many of them are not very good. Maintaining a high dilution at every feeding, is (I dare say) the surest way to get your starter up and running, and have it perform reliably every time you bake. Going from a culture that is merely limping along to a culture that is healthy, with a luscious scent of ripe fruit, is just a few feedings away.

As a rule of thumb, I suggest that the weight of ripe starter you keep each feeding should not exceed 20% of the weight of new flour you feed it. So, if you keep a 100% hydration white starter (that is, equal weights water and flour), try a 1:5:5 (starter:water:flour) feeding schedule. A lively starter should ripen within 6 - 12 hours with this kind of feeding, depending on your flour specifics, culture and ambient temperature. A rye starter, which ferments rather quickly, would probably be better kept at a 1:10:10 schedule with the same ripening times.

A lower level of dilution (say 1:1:1 or 1:2:2) produces a lower pH in your starter, and will encourage growth of a sourdough microflora better adapted to lower pH levels. This is not likely to give you the great sourdough tang we all strive for, but rather a sour flavour more reminiscent of vinegar. The lower pH levels also affect how your dough behaves, the crumb and crust quality and overall eating quality of the bread.

inlovewbread's picture

Thanks for stepping in there, better explanation than I would have given. Thanks also to you for your kind comment :-)

Hi Su, I'll try my best to answer your questions, but please know that I am very new to rye myself. Most of what I know about rye is in my head from what I have read and not what I have practiced with!

I actually had stated in the blog that I wish I had used a white rye starter to get a more authentic taste in this Jewish Deli Rye. What I had on hand was whole rye flour, so my rye sour was much darker and deeper in flavor (of a different kind). Kind of like the difference between white flour and whole wheat- different flavors.

As for my rye starter, Hansjoakim is right in his explanation above. Rye behaves quite differently than wheat flour. I have first hand experience with the rye starter not behaving or smellling the way I wanted it to. I got a distinct vinegar/ acetone smell when I kept my rye starter on the same feeding regemen as my white flour starter. What I learned (here on TFL by the way) is that I wasn't feeding my rye starter enough, and I had also put my rye starter in the fridge when it was "hungry" aka- in need of more food before cold retarding. So, I started feeding my starter more food at each feeding (I use a 1:5 starter to flour ratio) and always feed it right before putting in the fridge. Since I have been baking with rye primarily lately, my starter has been kept on the counter instead of being refrigerated between feedings. I like to think of it like this: because the rye lacks the gliadin/ glutenin ratio that wheat flour does, it creates more of a fragile network of air bubbles inside as it ferments. This (in my mind) allows the yeast/bacteria to move around better and get to more food, thus are able to eat more at each feeding. That is why usually you will find that the instructions for feeding a rye starter are to keep a layer of dry rye flour on the top of the starter to act not only as an environmental buffer but also as additional food.

I strongly suggest to you to get a hold of Hamelman's book: Bread. He has a ton of information about starting a rye starter, maintaining, and baking with rye., He has detailed explainations about the way rye behaves at certain percentages, etc. and is a very good starting point if you want to bake rye for your family. Another excellent book for rye formulas is Leader's Local Breads. I don't have the book myself, but as I continue with rye I think I might purchase Greenstein's Secrets of a Jewish Baker. In it is a detailed explanation of starter maintenance.

You asked about my starter- I think it's also important to keep your starter "firm" or low-hydration. Mine is 50%, as are most rye starters (I think) I think it's unusual, not unheard of, but unusual to have a wet starter/ 100% rye starter. This may help you where you talk about your starter? or dough being very "wet". 

Rye dough is difficult to work with in high proportions. (i.e. wet, sticky, spreads outward) There are methods to handle this. However, this dough and other Jewish Deli Ryes are more in the 50% or lower rye percentage. The rest is usually first clear flour (which is wheat flour). So this dough wasn't wet or hard to work with and shape. Maybe the recipe you are using is more than 50% rye? If you would like to share the recipe you've been going off of, that would help to troubleshoot...

You asked about the rye sour- I built up my rye sour over two days. First, I made sure my starter was healthy and active and smelled good! So I fed it with the 1:2.5:5 starter:water:flour ratio for three days or so. By then it smelled great, very fruity. Then, I took 50 g healthy rye starter at 50% hydration, fed it 1/2 cup water and 1 cup rye flour (100g and 750g respectively). Let sit 12 hours, feed it again w/ 1/2 cup water and then 3/4 cup rye flour (you could use white rye or whole or medium) and leave for 4-8 hours, then feed again 1/2 cup water and 1 cup rye flour and let ripen 4-8 hours. Differences in temp of water and your ambient room temp will affect the length of ripening time. This will make about 750g rye sour, all of which was used in the above recipe. All of the rye flour was pre-fermented in this Jewish Deli Rye and only some first clear flour was added when mixed.

This is probably WAY more than you asked for, but I want to answer you as best I can. Rye is really interesting and fun to work with, not to mention very uniquely tasting. I really like it. Do a little reading on rye and you will probably have better luck with your next rye bake. 

Let us know how it turns out! Feel free to ask more questions here but also have a look at Hansjoakim's blogs about his ryes and dmsnyder's- David does a lot of Jewish Deli Rye and such and he is who I got this recipe and starter instructions from.

happy baking!



su's picture

Thanks so much to you both for this information. It makes sense and is what instinct was telling me so I feel so much more confident now. I started with Dan Leaders Local Breads recipe for a light silesan rye, and that is what I have been experimenting with, and you are right when I have worked with a lower hydration starter I have had better results. I think I need to feed it more as well. Generally I keep it in the fridge and feed about every five to six days but when I bake I take it out and give it two or three feeds over 24 hours to really get it going. It smells great(apples and fruity) and is active so I think hydration may be my issue. I find working on your own with books for reference tough to know if you are on the right track sometimes although disasters and successes all teach something new.  I will follow up those references and keep experimenting. I am determined to get this right. We are on a mission here to bake all our own bread for 12 months so thanks again and I will post my next attempt. Fingers crossed.