## 1-2-3 Rye 911!

This weekend, I've tried my first bread from a totally native rye levain, and methinks I dropped the ball somewhere in the production stages.

Here's the 100 levain I made using just water and locally-grown and milled rye. Based on the 1-2-3 recipe much discussed here, I came up with this formula:

- AP unbleached 50
- Dark rye 50
- Water 66.667
- Levain 33.3333

and these weights for 1000g (2.2lbs) of bread:

- AP unbleached 250 g
- Dark rye 250 g
- Water 333 g
- Levain 167 g

Took my levain out of the fridge, fed it and left it at room temp for 11 hours. Smelled fresh, with just a whiff of alcohol, so I thought it was good to go. Took out 167g of levain, mixed it with the other ingredients and about 6g of salt, kneaded and left to proof.

After 7 hours, this is all the (alleged) proof I got (rubber band is where it started):

Can you tell what I did wrong based on what I've mentioned so far? Should I be more patient? Instinctively, I'm wondering if a bit more water in the dough might make the proofing easier for the levain.

Any help greatly appreciated.

rye is a lot thirstier than wheat and i suspect you may need more water than 66.6% plus whatever you have in your levain.

i like to make my rye sours at 5:4 rye:water, which gives me a a fairly stiff spnge that softens considerably as fermentation progresses

it would probably help to break the levain down into flour and water, then do a total formula percentage calculation, which will give you a far clearer picture than what you've posted.

Stan Ginsberg

www.nybakers.com

.... so it's 50:50 water:organic dark rye. It started out reasonably stiff, but loosened up to "marshmallow fluff" consistency as it aged. Also, the smell went from "ham-like" during the first 2-3 days, to a fresher, alcohol smell by day 7. Here's a full breakdown of the ingredients to give a final baker's percentage formula (PDF).

Also, most of my doughs tend to be in the neighbourhood of 70% hydration, so I'm used to a reasonably soft dough to handle. This was a bit denser than I thought it might be at 71.4% overall (a bit stiffer, in fact, than my 70% hydration rye straight doughs), but if the rye soaks up a lot, I shouldn't be entirely surprised.

Hope that helps.

that's a lot of rye for the wheat flour to support, even if you're using first clear. you might try a 2-stage ferment to give the wild yeast time to propagate and then spike the dough with 1/4% to 1/2% instant yeast to help the rise. if you've fermented the sours properly, the yeast shouldn't affect the taste.

another point: since most levains aren't specifically sour, you may not have enough acid in the dough to inhibit the yeast, which could result in very fast fermentation (since rye's predominantly polysaccharides composition is like yeast steroids) and subsequent collapse.

Stan

...but this is my first time using a sourdough/levain, so I want to be sure I'm doing this right.

In this respect, would it be something like take some of my "base" levain, feed the bit I've taken out (50-50 ratio as usual), let it ferment a bit more, than feed it one more time and let it ferment before adding the rest of the ingredients (including a bit of yeast)? Or should I introduce some AP into the feeds of the "production sourdough" as some call it?

Since I've seen zero rise in the dough, and only modest, but consistent, rising in the levain between feedings, I'm

guessingthat's not the case.Thanks for the detailed advice - much appreciated!

Tony

Forget the question. I think I see what you were saying.

Ron

...so I started with 100g water, 100g dark rye, with 50-50 dump & feeds daily until aboout a week ago, after which it went into the fridge.

In the recipe, the levain comes to 33.333% of the weight of the flour, so it was 83.5g flour/83.5g water for the 1000g loaf.

Makin' sense?

I don't see why you should not have some rising, unless the levain was not active. You have me stumped.

I see 3 levain rows there when I only used one "dose", but the weights do seem to add up.

RonRay: Based on your table, anything to add to Stan's ideas? Thanks, both of you, for the assist.

In order to assign the flour and H2O seperately for computing the hydration level, the levain is stated as total (zero weight - due to no column 1,2,or 3 entry) just the flour and water parts are calculated.

But no, I fear I'd bet on a starter that is not presently active. Based upon what you said, my money would be on saying it isn't working.

=== Note the last 2 coluns have errors (now fix, but not in this image).

so you can bake it. Sprinkle two teaspoons of instant yeast on the flattened out dough and mist it a little with water. Wet your hands to roll it up and work it in. (keep wetting your hands) Don't over work the dough. Then shape it, smooth out the surface and get it into the oven in 30 minutes to an hour. You can gently poke it with wet fingers to determine if the dough is trapping gas. If it feels too firm and solid, give it a little bit more time before baking.

With your starter,try using only 10g or a rounded teaspoon and feeding 50g each water and flour. Do this for 3 consecutive 12 hour feedings, keeping only a teaspoon. Then try again in a loaf. I hope this will beef up your yeasties. If the pH goes to low in the starter, yeast numbers will fall off. The starter smelling of alcohol is an indication that pH is low and it's hungry, if this is happening within 4 hours of feeding, then the starter needs a higher ratio of starter to flour. Especially if it can't raise dough. :)RonRay: The levain doesn't seem to be

completelyinactive. When I fed it last night, it rose about 20% in volume overnight, so it's not zero.MiniOven: I'll try your feeding schedule for a bit to see if gets better.

I'll let you guys know how it goes - thanks again for your help!

Tony

I, personally would want to know a starter was doing over a 100% rise in 5 hours at temperatures in the higher 70's (ºF), before I'd use it in a loaf, but nothing ventured....etc.

Ron

....since the ill-fated dough had doubled in 24 hours - sadly, here's the result (500F x 5 minutes + 400F x 40 minutes)

I'll keep feeding the levain, and keep reading up on this stuff. Thanks again, all who threw some advice into the pot - much appreciated.

How did it taste, Tony?

I tried some, and although the texture was WAY too dense to enjoy, the taste was indeed tangy-licious. That

suggeststo meMore, as I keep reading & experimenting...

considering that (a) your bread is 53/47 rye/wheat and (b) you used AP, which simply doesn't have enough protein to support that much rye (even using high-gluten flours, most commercial flour mills recommend no more than about 40% rye).

Seriously, use first clear flour or a high-gluten flour like Sir Lancelot or All Trumps next time you bake a hybrid rye bread. The additional gluten will make a world of difference in opening up the crumb.

Stan Ginsberg

www.nybakers.com

My usual "house rye" is a 70:30 blend of AP:dark rye, so I'll incorporate something closer to that for a future batch.

Also, I have flour gluten somewhere in the pantry, so I can throw some extra in - any suggestions for ratios to AP flour?

Edited to add: When I did the calculating for a better AP:rye ratio overall (PDF here), I have to go to an 80:20 dry AP:rye ratio to come up with a 60:40 overall AP:rye ratio.

More, as I get brave enough to try it again.

While not perfect yet, my second try is FAR better than the first try:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20363/123-sourdough-better-second-try

Thanks, all, who helped me out on this. I'm still a bit nervous about baking with sourdough/levain, but now I'm willing to give it another try.

My 15% sourdough rye that I make from Hamelman's recipe gets no real rise when I make the preferment. Its at around 66% hydration so its a biga-type, and all it does is get a little... 'airy' when the pre-ferment is done. Using just 15% total rye to 85% AP or High gluten makes a very lovely bread IMO. I add around 1% fresh yeast to the recipe and give it a little extra proofing time and also an autolyse, as Hamelman's procedure is a little different.

I autolyse with the biga flour and water, then 30 minutes later I mix the dough. After 30 minutes I give it one stretch and fold and after another 30 minutes I preshape the dough. After a 30 minute rest I final shape and let proof for 30-60 minutes before baking at 460 degrees with plenty of steam. I get incredible grigne on it! and a nice crumb. Good luck