The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Problems with Dark Rye - Bob's Red Mill

Sour Doh's picture
Sour Doh

Problems with Dark Rye - Bob's Red Mill

Has anyone here had any experience (good or bad) with Bob's Red Mill Dark Rye?  Through a wholesale cooperative here in Austin, I bought a 25 pound bag and have had very bad luck with it.  First, I could not initiate a rye starter.  My first two attempts smelled horrible and never sweetened.  Thanks to some TFL advice, I attempted the pineapple juice method, and although  the trash-like smell did not take over the starter, it developed no leavening power.

 Finally I kick-started a rye starter with a quarter cup of a successful siff dough levain.  The resulting rye starter smelled sweet, and would foam and would nearly double upon refreshment.

Two weeks ago I used the starter to bake Leader's 3-seed rye, which includes a small amount of additional rye flour (for which I used my Dark Rye) and it was horrible.   It never really rose during proofing, and was flat and very odd tasting - kind of an oily, unwholesome meaty taste.  

In the spirit of giving my dark rye one last attempt, tonight I tried to make Leader's Dark Silesian Rye, a recipe that calls for only one cup of Dark Rye flour as well as a rye starter.  The resulting dough never rose during fermentation, nor proofing.

Is Bob's Red Mill Dark Rye difficult to work with?  I know Bob's Red Mill is a quality product.  Or is dark rye flour generally difficult?  What else could be the problem here? 


Thanks -


Sour Doh

mrfrost's picture

Have you tried it in a yeasted(commercial) recipe?

txfarmer's picture

Both for my rye starter (starting and feeding for over a year) and rye breads, never had any problems. Actually the only difficulty I have right now is that I can't seem to find any recently. All my grocers are running out of it.

Paddyscake's picture

You sure it was dark rye flour, not the pumpernickle dark rye chops? No, don't suppose it was.

Well, I've had great results, don't know what to say.


dmsnyder's picture

I have not used it to start a new starter, but my regular white starter feeding mix includes 10% rye, and I've been using BRM dark rye for a couple years. I've also used it to feed an established rye sour and it performs well.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

very odd tasting - kind of an oily, unwholesome meaty taste.

Does it have an after taste or is it bitter?  Maybe it was sitting in the sun (somewhere along the way) and turned rancid.


amauer's picture

I know that flavor! I know wheat flour goes bad easily, not sure about rye. The flavor will stick with you and hard to get the taste out of your mouth. Get rid of it or return it since you got 25 pounds. Just two weeks ago, I was sitting here eating some store bought (not expired) croutons and thought how odd tasting, thought they had something overly spicy in them or something strange. NO, they were rancid and it took me a bit to figure it out! Andrea

Sour Doh's picture
Sour Doh

Thanks everyone -  I'm going to try again with a different bag.  Checking this morning, even the dry flour in the bag smells off somehow.  I've had fine results when using BRM rye before.  I must have gotten the odd bad (but large) quantity.