The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ersatz Hopfister Oko-Schwabenlaib sourdough rye bread

Luber's picture

Ersatz Hopfister Oko-Schwabenlaib sourdough rye bread

My German roommate complained that he couldn't get bread here like at home, so he brought me a loaf to try and emulate. It was
heavy and dense with a great crust. Here's the official description:

I hadn't baked for a few years, but since I'd worked as a baker for a while I figured it was
like riding a bicycle. However, I hadn't worked with sourdough before, so after reading a bit here, at and
elsewhere and getting some good advice from a few people, especially Samartha, who's made a serious study of it and shares it here:

I went ahead and made a starter as he described and tried a loaf or two. After three iterations, the results are pretty darn good! My
roommate from Munich said it's almost like the real thing, 90% the same - anyway I like it. So I thought I'd share it. I used the
Detmold 3-stage process as he describes here: he even has an online calculator!
He does everything by weight like a real baker, but I've gotten lazy and use cup measure at home, so you may have to play with
hydration a bit.

Pull starter out of fridge and warm up till active.

1) 2 Tbsp. active starter, 2 Tbsp. rye, 1.5 Tbsp. water; 80º-84ºF for 6 hr.
2) ¼ cup rye, 1.5 Tbsp. water; 70º-80º for 12-24 hr.
3) ¾ cup rye, ¾ cup water; 86º for 3 hr

Pull out 2 Tbsp. of #3 and reserve in fridge for next batch.

Autolyze: During Stage 3, in separate bowl mix

2 cups water @ 70º
2+ cups bread flour (King Arthur AP, Giusto's Baker's Choice or Gold Medal Harvest King - 11.5% protein)
2 cups clear flour (available from King Arthur)
1 cup high-gluten (eg Giusto’s Ultimate Performer)

just until wet and let sit for 30 min - 2hr. Then put this “autolyzed” mix along with the sour into the mixer and add:

1 cup rye
1 Tbsp. each salt and ground caraway
1 tsp. each ground fennel and coriander

Work up about five min in the KitchenAid, let rise till double (~1 hr @ 80-85º).
Re-roll into a ball and rise till doubled again (~for 1 hr @ 75º).

Egg wash, poke deep holes instead of slashing, bake on the stone at 450ºF for 20 min with steam, then another 50-60 min at 350º or
until the internal temp is 200-205º.




CountryBoy's picture

Is there an alternative to this?  What is it?  Is King Arthur the only place for it?


Luber's picture

All the big millers make a "first clear flour", but it's something you'll probably never see at a retail store, don't know of any other mail-order places that carry it, but if you have access to 50lb purchases direct from a miller through a food co-op or something you might get it that way (or ask a local baker to sell you some, although that's kind of like buying produce at a restaurant, they might tell you to get lost ;-)

In the milling process, it's what's left over after patent flour, which doesn't tell you much - basically it's a high-protein (13%+) , high-ash (0.75%+) strong (hard spring wheat) flour frequently used in rye bread. Some good info on flour here:


I would try all KA -AP or any "artisan" flour as an alternative. I'm still fiddling with this recipe myself, my roommate tells me that the real Schwaben is not quite as chewy, so I may reduce the clear or Hi-G flour and replace some with AP; also he wants more open holes, a topic which has seen much discussion here, and wetter dough seems to be key. The recipe above works out to about 69% hydration, I'll go up a few % and see what happens. I could also get a lighter colored rye flour to be more authentic.

CountryBoy's picture

Appreciate your guidance.  As you can see I started a thread on German sourdough bread but there was not one response.  It is what I love most and seems to have no followers in this forum.  On the contrary, everyone seems to be searching for the big wholes in their crumb or texture.  Each to his own........

Luber's picture

They do take their bread pretty seriously in Bavaria, making more of a meal of it than we would here, so they favor heavier loaves. You might have more luck posting at, that's where I found Samartha - his website is really the best place to start, and he was nice enough to respond personally to a couple of questions I had. I also want to try a recipe for "Borodinsky" Russian rye I saw at R.F.S., it calls for malted rye, which I can get at my local homebrewing shop (another hobby with yeast and grain ;-) Have fun -Dave

Drifty Baker's picture
Drifty Baker

I have been on a quest to make a "good" Borodinsky bread for quite awhile now.  Most of the loaves I have made turned out to look just like bricks.  They were very tender inside with the right crumb but they just would not raise. 


I got the Russian recipe for the bread off the internet and a very nice lady at work, Inga, who grew up in Russia has helped me translate it.  It does call for malted rye and what I have found is some malted rye in a local home brewery supply store.  I crushed the grains using the grinder in the store and then pulverized that in my blender at home.  Inga told me it tastes right it just isn't raised enough.  It also keeps for quite a good time.  It took five days before it seemed dried out.  I made the last loaves a couple of weeks ago when it was very cold here in Minneapolis.  I am going to try again this weekend.  I will use a warmer place to raise the loaves and will also give them more time.


Please let me know how your batch turns out.  It has a very distintive taste because of the corriander and my family does not care for it so I have to eat it myself.  That is why it took five days to finish off the last loaf. 



Luber's picture

Hi Drifty - maybe it's drafty in your kitchen? Mine was too, so I got a styro cooler and put some water in the bottom and an aquarium heater to keep it warm (they're $20 and even have a thermostat). Sorry I haven't checked the board in a long time. I did make a Borodinsky but I didn't take a photo. It was pretty good, and raised very well, since I assume the action of the malt in the first part (the zavarka; or mash as we brewers would say) created plenty of fermentable sugar for the yeast to eat. Assuming you did the same your problem is probably the dough is just too cold. I can post or send my recipe (which is just adapted to cup measure from one on if you want it. If I make it again I'll take a pic.

Now the really funny part; after making the bread, a brewer friend of mine who's into soda pop making showed me a recipe for a beverage called Kvass, a bread beer. So we used some to make a few bottles of that, what an unholy mess that was - exploding porridge!

Have fun - Luber
Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

May I make a suggestion? Rename the title so it shows up when searching for Rye bread. Replace Ersatz with Rye replica. Thank you, Dankeschön, Mini Oven