The Fresh Loaf

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rye with soaker - ripping dough

cranbo's picture

rye with soaker - ripping dough

I make a 60% rye bread, and I use a buttermilk & rye soaker. Hydration is around 65%; remainder of flour is generic bread flour. I knead in a Kitchenaid for about 7-10 minutes total. I also stretch and fold 2-4 times, depending on how lazy I am. 

The unbaked dough of the last 2 I've made starts to "rip" after I start to fold it. I doubt I could windowpane it. Is that typical? I know rye is low-gluten, but could I be overkneading it? Seems unlikely, but I'm looking forward to feedback.



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

How long are you soaking the rye? An hour? two?

Method 1)  If you can, try soaking the rye with a minimum amount of buttermilk until it just forms a sticky dough and put the rest of the buttermilk into the other flours to mix first to develop gluten before adding the rye soaker.  Use just enough mixing then to blend the soaker into the dough.  It might help to used a little reserved flour from the recipe to add grit while blending and making mixing of the 40% other flour easier.  65% for a 60% rye is rather dry but doable. 

Method 2)  If you handle the dough with wet hands and not flour, that might also make the difference without any changes to the recipe. 

Ripping could be that the dough structure is breaking down but it could mean the dough is too dry and cannot stretch ev. with the gas expansion of the yeast.  Ripping during folding (no matter the type of dough) means "stop" doing it.  From the discription of 65% hydration, you will be lucky if you achieve folding the dough once, in half, or maybe into thirds tucking opposite sides under and patting it gently into shape.  Rub the surface with a little water before covering to rise.

If the recipe askes for several sets of folds (meaning a higher hydration) then the dough is either too dry or the soak was too long.  Buttermilks can vary in thickness and maybe a small liquid correction is required for the dough.  Play around and find out.

cranbo's picture

Mini Oven,

Thanks for the great suggestions! 

Usually I soak the rye overnight. This last batch was just soaked 2 hours, but the effect was the same. Because of recent adjustments to my recipe, I can only guess that the cause of the "ripping" might be tweaks to the hydration I've been making. 

I will try a slightly higher hydration next time, close to 70%. I especially like the idea of kneading the white flour first, then adding the soaker in...genius! Should make for much better gluten development. Of course, this means I will have to revise my recipe somewhat, because I usually add all the liquid to the soaker. 

I'll let you know how it goes. 


nicodvb's picture

Cranbo, in addition to what Mini says you could add to the soaker some or all of the salt: it helps to block some of the enzymes in rye that damage the gluten proteins. You know, rye is a serious gluten killer.

Maybe it won't make a big difference, for for sure it won't make any damage to the bread and -in my opinion- it's worth a try.

cranbo's picture

Thanks nicodvb. That's another good tip I'll try.

The loaves I baked tonight didn't brown as much, probably because not as much sugars in the dough (both added and natural); I usually do an overnight shaped ferment before baking.  

Just finished updating my recipe; looks like it will work just fine with the soaker, which will be near 75% hydration in the new version. I'm going to try Mini Oven's suggestion to knead the white flour first, then incorporate the soaker. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

so much better than myself.  :)

ericb's picture

To call a high-percentage rye a "dough" is generous use of the term. In my experience, it's more like a very thick paste. As such, I no longer bother stretching and folding. Additionally, I have no hopes of forming a smooth, tight "gluten cloak" when shaping the dou... err, I mean paste. Rather, I just pat it into a ball. In the end, I get decent bread, but of course it looks nothing like wheat bread.

hanseata's picture