The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I had to make compromise

Bee18's picture

I had to make compromise


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 with the hook, 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... luckily I was close by and could smell the disaster coming. 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 bad but not what I look for, the consistency is more like the Italian Panetonne, and it's hard to slice.

 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 ashame to use bread machine I have earn my day....

 The quantities or the recipe I use is:

 200 gr. sourdough starter: 100 gr. water + 100gr. rye 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 (first thing in my bowl with the starter)

 1 tbls. Malt extract

 500 gr. bread flour

 40 gr. Barley Bran

 7 gr. instant dry yeast

 10 gr. salt

 My 4th try few days ago was the right one. The texture is neither too stiff neither too light - easy to 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 ! and 3 to 4 hours later I'm happy to have, luck warm, the first slice which is the still crusty one, with some spread on it. Next day the crust is not crispy anymore but the flavor is perfect.




ananda's picture

Hi Bea,

Not seen you around in a while; good to read your experiments brought success.

The final dough is very high hydration.   That is possibly why you nearly set the machine afire, as you say.   So long as the loaf bakes out properly, I have no douubt it will be a wonderful bread.

All goos wishes


Bee18's picture

Thank you Andy to take time and read my message.

I also read most of the posts and always stop at the Rye or SD questions.
I don't write much bcse I don't do much...
my compliments for your success with your students. You certainly are a good teacher.
Next bake I will take a photo from my loaf. I know that it is a high hydration but it work without problem and the bread is not as stiff as it was when I was using only 420gr. water for the same quantities of flour.

Yes it is still a home bread ! and I enjoy watching it when it's done, with its caramel color crust, on the board.

Cheers, Bea

dosidough's picture

That's quite a challenge you undertook. Determined bakers will find a way. Hand, mixer, machine, oven, camp fire.....where there's a will there's a way. Congratulations on sticking with it till you got the loaf you desired. Glad to hear the machine is still up and running :)

All the best, and....bake on!

Bee18's picture

yes it was a challenge, and to learn to bake bread at my age was also one ! I was used to buy my bread without thinking about when living in France. Then moving to different countries I began to understood that what I took for granted was not ! It's now 2 years that I slowly learn the bread baker "jargon" and had many many tries until I began to feel more comfortable with the subject. This website is the best by the way, no french one is reaching its level, and friendliness.

Now after I capitulated about the use of the bread machine I'm at rest... I have the bread I like when I bake it, and I'm not going to stop now ! once a week mine, once a week the other one from my partner. Since I don't like the flavor of this one my diet is not in trouble... I don't eat it !

Baking is like a virus.... you cannot get rid of it so easily, and you read more and more about thinking that may be you are going to find the gold nugget missing to your knowledge, and some time you can help others not to do the mistakes you have done.

Cheers Bea