The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Suggestions about a good rye?

jsk's picture

Suggestions about a good rye?

I want to bake over the weekend a tasty. good, european style rye loaf. I would like it to be quite sour (sourdough of course) and may include grains/ seeds in it. I went over tons of recipes here and in books and I just got more confused.

I own the BBA. WGB. and Leader's Local Breads if you would like to direct me there.

Thank you very much!

chayarivka's picture

Do you have your sourdough starter ready? It takes a few days to get your starter going. Also, if you want it sour, leave time to let your dough ferment at room temp. My husband likes a real sour taste sometimes and though it will sour more as it ages, leaving finished dough covered at room temp for 8-12 hours doesn't seem to hurt it, and allows the acetic acid to develop. I make it from 100 percent dark rye flour and water. I don't weigh or measure--I just "feel" it and make a quite moist dough (it is like paste) which seems to make a bread with larger airholes, which we like. It is European style but a tad less dense. It also is perhaps the ugliest loaf of bread I've ever made but it is amazing. It never goes stale. It is delicious with mustard and any thing salty. It rises very nicely, especially if you make it in a pan the way the Europeans do. My pans were in use so I just loosely shaped this and it spread.  If you want the science behind it and you want to be precise, which surely produces more consistency than my mehod a great book is Pete Hammelman's.

copyu's picture

How much time do you have? I'm only an amateur baker, who does one or two loaves per week.

Really good sourdough rye bread can be a "3-day build"...

I did one batch from Peter Reinhart's "Crust and Crumb" for a German friend who was so impressed that he offered to pay me 'for the work' to make bread for his family.

I tried to explain that the 'work' was 'fun' for me, but that my REAL job didn't allow me enough TIME to bake for him. [You've got to be there when the dough needs you!]

I'd suggest googling some 'New York-style ryes'...they taste really good and there are many bread-machine and quick recipes that got me through my cravings over the years!

Best wishes and happy (Chinese) New Year!



jsk's picture

I do own a couple of months old, white stiff sourdough starter wich I've converted some of into a rye starer a few days ago for the rye baking this weekend.

I tried the 68% rye hearth siegle from PR's WGB. Thw dough was a bit hard to handle during the kneadig but I've mannaged to get a nice ball of dough, although it didn;t seem to have any gluten development or maybe just a little. The shaping was a disaster and the dough was impossibe to work with. It didn't stop tearing apart in my hands and I just couldn't make a decent batard out of it.

Any suggestions or tips about how to shape a rye dough or general tips for handling this kind of bread dough?


copyu's picture
copyu'll find some excellent videos on the subject. (Some might be links to other sites, too...)

They won't be specific to rye breads, of course, but just general, good practice when shaping. I don't find rye breads that difficult to handle or shape. I'm wondering what the specific problem might be. PR's formulae are pretty good!

You have to expect low gluten development in rye at the best of times. If it bothers you, you'll need to use the strongest bread flour you can find, for the non-rye part of flour, or add a tablespoon or so of vital wheat gluten to the formula, especially if you're 'in a rush' and working at 68% rye. (You probably know this already, If so, sorry!)

Wishing you every success!

occidental's picture

I noticed your post about the same time I was wondering about making a rye or two over this weekend.  I'm off Monday and am going to attempt Leader's Polish Cottage Rye from Local Breads (David Snyder's posts on this bread swayed me in this direction), and Hammelman's 40% caraway rye from Bread.  I haven't attempted either so it should be interesting.  After reading about your difficulty of shaping I got to thinking of Pierre Nury's Rustic Light Rye, from Local Breads (pg. 150).  If you haven't tried it you should.  You'll find lots of posts about it if you do a search.  It is only 10% rye so maybe not what you are looking for, but as a bread, in general, it is a favorite.  Being a rustic loaf it requires no shaping - just stretch and bake- and results in a open crumb with great flavor.