The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


JoeVa's picture


Finally THE sister approved my "100% Rye Sourdough". She does not spend a lot of word about my bread but this time she said: "uhhhmm it's more ..." stop.


Overall Formula
[100%] Whole Rye Flour - 500g
[96%] Water - 480g
[2%] Gray Salt - 10g


Soaker (20% of the overall flour)
[100%] Whole Rye Flour - 100g
[100%] Water (room temperature) - 100g
[2%] Gray Salt - 2g

Rye Sourdough (30% of the overall flour)
[100%] Whole Rye Flour - 150g
[120%] Water (room temperature) - 180g
[10%] Active Rye Starter - 15g

Dough (Desired dough temperature 26..28°C)
Whole Rye Flour - 250g
Water - 200g
Gray Salt - 8g
Soaker - 202g
Rye Sourdough - 345g


  • Prepare the rye sourdough (you want it ripe when you'll mix the dough, based on your room temperature this could be 6 to 16 hours before). The soaker can be mixed at the same time.
  • Mix the dough until all the ingredients are well combined, about 5-10 minutes by hand with a spoon and a spatula. The desired dough temperature is 26-28°C.
  • After about 1/2 hour prepare a baking pan. It should be lightly oiled and coated with whole rye flour. 
  • Move the dough into the pan and proof @28°C till rised about 50% (something like 1+1/2 hour to 2+1/2 hours). The pan can be filled for 2/3 its volume, when profed the dough will almost fill the pan.
  • Bake on stone with steam @250°C for the first 10 minutes then 45 minutes @220°C. You can remove the bread from the pan the last 10 minutes of this time to dry the sides and the bottom of the bread.


As usual "Pure Rye Sourdough" is great. The crumb is moisty and very open and the secret is a good dough hydration level. Look at this:


I think this bread can compete with two of the best rye I tasted in Italy: Delicatessen (P.zza Santa Maria Beltrade 2, Milano) and Andrea Perino (Via Cavour 10, Torino).

For Italian bakers: I used stone grounded organic whole rye flour from Mulino Marino.


nicodvb's picture

I don't doubt it's very good, but why is the picture so grey? A side-effect of the salt? :-))

The cold soaker is very unusual: generally it's done with boiling water; may I ask how it affects the bread?

JoeVa's picture

After a night rest, now it has more color!

You know hot water gelatinizes the rye starch, you may like the effect in the bread. With cold water the flour in not gelatinized but you get the same effect of a mash: after 12h a lot of simple sugar will be freed by amylase activity. The salt in the soaker controls enzymes activity and avoid a possible, not controlled, fermentation.

I have to say the mash (hot water + flour) is a good substitute for the soaker, but yesterday was so hot in Milano that I didn't want to boil water in my kitchen.


arlo's picture


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

96% Hydration!  I just love pure rye!  Talk about open crumb!

It's raining here in Austria and it's coming your way!  Cooling down too!


JoeVa's picture

Here in Milano is really hot these days! I think the rain was blown away this night, still sunny and clear tomorrow.

The formula is based on Hamelman with these changes:

  • Fresh yeast: REMOVED
  • Water: UP to 96%

    The "dough" is closer to a cake mix than a bread dough and it must be supported by a bread pan oiled and dusted with rye flour.



    spiceboy's picture

    Hey Joe, Thanks so much for this recipe. Ive only recently got into sourdough baking. This is by far the best rye Ive found. I put sunflower and pumkin seeds in the bread (about a handfull of each per loaf) and line the bread tin with sesame seeds so they toast as it bakes. I also cut a couple of grams of salt out of it and bake in the tin for an extra 5 minutes. I'm enjoying learning about this acient art and your blogs is great. Thanks!