The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Texture of rye flour dough in bread machine

melbournebread's picture

Texture of rye flour dough in bread machine

Hi everyone, new poster here, love the website I find it very helpful!


I bought a used bread machine a few months back and I'm having so much fun with it.  I learn something new with everything I make!  But I was hoping for some advice on breads using rye flour.

I've gotten to the point where I know how to recognise if a white-flour dough is the "right" texture in the bread machine - when to add a bit more flour or water.  But I have trouble with rye doughs, even a dough with small amounts of rye (and to a lesser extent all-wheat doughs).  Rye or part-rye doughs are so stiff in the machine that the paddle just seems to move the big lump around, it's not actually catching into and stretching the dough.  So far I've assumed this means it needs more water, usually a LOT more water (at least 3 tablespoons!), before it loosens up in the machine. Even then it seems to take forever to mix into the dough, leaving a thin slick of sloppy dough on top and stiff underneath.

Am I doing the right thing?  Is it just me, or do recipes with rye flour really under-estimate the amount of water needed?  Any advice on how to identify the right texture with rye doughs?

LindyD's picture

Rye flour is completely different than wheat flour.  Rye has a higher water absorption, ferments faster, and needs gentle and short mixing.

I'm not sure if a dough high in rye is appropriate for a bread machine since you have so little control over the mixing process.

It's also quite sticky.

Bee18's picture

Rye and bread machine are not really compatible, unless you use a ready rye mix bread.

At home, my partner is doing this kind of bread in the machine, when I'm away , sometimes he adds few gr. of rye, 10 to 25 maximum I think to make the crumb a little bit heavier. The texture and the flavour are totally different from the Rye bread I'm making using a sourdough rye starter, white bread flour, few gr. of rye and barley. All must be right in proportions.

If you use the 1,2 3 method you will mix 1 part of sourdough (use the weight method, no volume) 2 parts of water and 3 parts of flour and 2% of salt. the mixing is only few minute in the kenwood with the paddle and the fermentation is 18 to 24 hours. I read that you can make it with 1 part of sourdough, 2.5 water and 3.6 flour. Everyone has his own way. The dough is very sticky and the best is to handle it with very wet hands (no flour !) or oily hands. The baking depend if your dough is firm enough to be baked on a sheet without losing its shape. I bake mine in a cast iron pot closed ( see Sullivan method ). I never tried to transfer my dough to the machine to bake it...I read that you can do the opposite: use the machine to mix than transfer to a bowl or on the table to shape.

If you want to deal with rye bread you have a lot to read before you will get the right thing. But the result is so good for who likes the Rye flavour.

I learn all I know about it, by chasing all the articles about Rye on TFL. It takes time but you are rewarded. Posts from D. Snyder are very good to read as well as from Shao Ping. There are also recommanded books but I found cheaper and more valuable to read the posts here.

Good luck,


melbournebread's picture

Interesting and good to know.  Both rye recipes I've tried so far were for the bread machine but both had only minority of rye flour.  The one I didn't like was 150g rye to 350 bread flour, the dough was so stiff I was worried it would break the machine!  But the other recipe I've made was very tasty, I'll share the recipe in case anyone's interested.


Ultimate sandwich bread

1c water

2T oil

220g bread flour

125g wheat flour

45g rye flour

3T vital wheat gluten

2T sugar

1t salt

2t yeast


It had a lovely, nutty flavour from the rye.  I found I had to add a fair bit more water during early kneading but the final product was lovely for bread machine sandwich bread.

mehy60's picture

Hi Melbournebread,

 I made this Rye Bread receipe in my Breadmachine(Welbilt Model ABM 3500) this past week(see below).My machine only has a capacity to make up to 11/2 Lb loaves and is not for making european breads. Still my Rye braed came out awesome. I love my Rye bread, having been born and raised in Germany I miss my traditional Rye bread and this is a close as possible When you first take it out after it is done, it has a crusty crust yummy.Let it cool down completly, then put it in a plastic zip lock bag(big one for a 2Lb loaf)and the next day it is nice and soft, just the right texture and easy to cut into slices. This receipe is so simple and easy, here you go(even though my machine only has a 11/2 Lb capacity, I still used the ingredients for a 2Lb loaf and it worked fine, no problem:

1 1/3 cups of water

3 tablespoons of oil (I use regular vegetable oil)

4 teaspoons of Caraway seeds (I put in more, because I love Caraway seeds)

3 tablespoons of Brwon Sugar (just regular brown Sugar)

2 teaspoons of Salt

2 1/2 cups of Bread Flour

1 1/2 cups of Rye Flour (receipe calls for medium Rye Flour, but I did not have that and used regular Rye Flour w/ no problem)

2 teaspoons Bread Machine Yeast

set machine on 2H Color setting (Dark)

for Cycle use the Basic Cycle setting

and last but not least use the highest loaf size setting your machine has(not above 2Lbs, receipe is for 2Lbs).

The important thing to remember is that you follow the ingredients in the same order as listed above. The Bread will not be dark at all, it will be light in color and look kind of golden brown.

I have noticed when I first set my machine , it did not do anything for a long while and i thought there was something i did wrong. But i left it alone and everything went fine, no problem.

Good Luck, hope it helps and works for you. Enjoy, Enjoy.


Bee18's picture

Hi Melbournbread, it's some time since last March but it's always nice to see that some subjects float again and this give me the opportuny to write about my new experiments with the bread machine that I didn't want to touch....

I had to make compromises. The electrical oven did not work properly even after we had it repaired. The only solution I had was to use the bread machine. But I still wanted to bake only sourdough rye bread with a high % of rye. It worked OK and since this kind of Rye/Pumpernickel need to be very wet the machine had no problem to mix it.

Then I change towards the light rye bread or pain de campagne.
Slowly I adapted the quantity of water to get the right mix.

Finally the result is dough very shortly mixed at minimum speed (before number 1) in my Kenwood ( just enough to mix the ingredients together then transferred with very wetted hands to the bread machine for more mixing rising and baking.

After 3 tries that were half successful due to not enough water in the first then too much water in the second one, which made the dough to pass over the bowl and almost provoked the machine to get on fire… The 3rd one was not too bad.
I think about all those people on TFL who enjoy the making of the bread by hands and the baking in a w/o and I feel that something is missing when doing this in a bread machine. On the other hand this is that or eating bread from a ready mix box (sourdough Rye though) that my companion is baking and I don’t like.
The flavour is not too bad but the consistency is more or less like the Italian Panetonne.

Anyway rye bread is a sticky stuff to work with and I always baked it in a tin before, which mean no artistic work…. If my little comment can help those who feel ashamed to use bread machine I have earned my day….

The exact recipe I use is:

200 gr. sourdough starter: 100 gr.water + 100gr. rye in grains that I crush myself.
The starter is much better this way than using the rye flour you buy at the shop.
I use the starter right out of the fridge some time or after 2 or 3 hours at room temperature (I cannot see much difference this way or the other) then I refresh it
with the same amount of flour an water to be ready for the next week baking.

450 gr. water

1 tbls. Malt extract

500 gr. bread flour

40 gr. Barley Bran

7 gr. instant dry yeast

10 gr. salt

My 4th try was very good. The texture is neither too stiff neither too light – easy to cut in slice. I can recognize the flavour of the Rye I was use to eat in France.

I put my machine on nbr. 4 – which is Whole Wheat – 2lbs size – Dark crust –
in 4h. and 30 minutes the bread is ready !

you might be interested to try.
Good luck, Bee

Bm400's picture

Seriously.   I made rye using spelt and rye plus added gluten.   Adapted the recepie from the breville machines book.  The published recepie suggested 40g of rye but I am sure that was an error - I use 190g.  Now I have a starter of spelt and rye brewing.  It may be that the machine will only kneed the dough but the oven is available and reliable:-)  note: always add gluten if using wheat with protein levels less than 12%

mollymia's picture

i've recently tried using a combination of dark rye, buckwheat and wholemeal flour for a loaf using my mayer BM. 1st try with waitrose wholemeal flour turned out quite alright, just a little too dense and so on my 2nd try (with a new brand of wholemeal flour from Nature Glory) i added 15ml more liquid and was flabbergasted to find that the hydration level was so low, my dough resembled moist sand and couldn't even come together to form a ball. Kept trickling milk into the machine and my dough ball finally formed with a 100% hydration level. 

I added, 100g wholemeal flour, 75g buckwheat flour, 75g dark rye flour and a total of 250ml liquid. Not the first time I've used 100% wholegrain for bread baking and also not the first time baking with dark rye and buckwheat. I wonder if the new brand of wholemeal is the reason? 

My bread turned out extremely dense and moist with no bite, like a steamed cake that has gone stale after being left overnight on the counter.