The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A Very Different Result

wassisname's picture

A Very Different Result

     I've been hung up on this line from Tartine Bread regarding the Country Rye ever since I read it:  "Use a medium-fine grind of whole-rye flour as opposed to a course pumpernickel rye, which will yield a very different result."  And that's it, end of paragraph, end of story.  He just leaves that hanging there like I'm not going to wonder day after day just what sort of "very different result" it would yield.  Yeah... no, that won't do at all.
     It just so happens that I have a large amount of stoneground whole rye in my freezer.  I don't know where it falls on the official grind-o-meter, but judging by the big flecks of bran and the fact that it is described as "Graham" rye I'm thinking it's a ways away from medium-fine.
     I re-worked the formula a bit.  I increased the rye and all of it went into the starter.  My ww starter doesn't always react well to sudden white flour feedings, and since the numbers worked out nicely as well... why not.  I stayed pretty true to the process in the book so I won't post that here, but I will say that, since I don't own a Dutch oven of any kind, I baked on a stone and steamed according to the wet towel method described in the baguette section of the book.  This has become my steaming method of choice - simple, safe and effective.

The numbers:

The result - Yum.  A little over-proofed maybe (I cut the timing too close with the bread that went into the oven before this one) but still got a nice spring in the oven.  The crust shattered and flew when I put a knife to it.  The crumb was very light and moist with just enough sourdough spring.  The flavor was very well balanced.  Caveat: I've never baked a light rye like this so I don't really have much basis for comparison, but I could eat this all day long.

So, was it a very different result?  I don't think I care so much anymore, I'm too busy devouring this bread!
This one I will be baking again.




dmsnyder's picture

As you said, who cares if they're "different." I gather they are what Andy called "moreish," which I take to mean you can't stop eating it.

Just a beautiful bake!


ananda's picture

Hi Marcus,

Tasty and fully-flavoured loaves, no doubt.

I have a few thoughts regarding rye flour, although I confess that I have never used "pumpernickel" flour, I have used so many different rye flours in the past...both in terms of extraction rates, and different milling companies.

I wondered if you had seen this photo before, which I posted a while ago now:

Rye flour is notoriously inconsistent when predicting water absorption.   What Nico was quick to describe as sawdust [the Bacheldre Dark Rye in the photo!] is actually incredibly thirsty stuff.   And I always believed that the finer flour meant more starch damage, and coresponding increase in water take up.

I'm not really sure where Chad Robertson is really going with this, as I haven't read his book.   My primary use for Dark Rye is in my Rye Sour culture, although I also use it in the high rye panned loaves I often post on too.   I like the really high ash content for its contribution to such a wicked fermentation rate in the sour.   But I'm really not that bothered either way as to how finely ground this flour is.   If I were seeking to use medium or light rye, and looking for a lighter volume in the loaf, then I'd be a lot more demanding for finely ground flour.

Very best wishes


SylviaH's picture

The loaves do look very delicious!

holds99's picture


Re: your reference to the Tartine Bread book:  "Use a medium-fine grind of whole-rye flour as opposed to a course pumpernickel rye, which will yield a very different result."   I think I know what Chad Robertson is  referring to with this statement.  I periodically bake a 25% rye using a generic recipe that I developed.  First step of the generic process is to make a double-levain build.  In the first build I normally use 8 oz. K.A. light rye flour with an equal amout of water and a Tb. of ripe rye starter (made from light rye flour).  Also, there's always an 14--18 hour overnight retardation for the final dough mix in the fridge.  Anyway, a few weeks ago I substituted 8 oz of K.A.  pumpernickel flour in place of the 8 oz. K.A. light rye  flour in the first levain build.  The result was a more pronouced sourness in the loaves.  Re: the final result---not bad, just different.


breadsong's picture

Hi Marcus,
Admiring your beautiful breads. Really lovely!
I like your very clear and easy-to-follow formula presentation, too.
:^) from breadsong

varda's picture

But yours sure looks good.   Love the picture of the dark cracked crust.  -Varda

Syd's picture

I love the look of that bread!  That crust is perfect.  I know from experience that deep within that dark colour lies lots of flavour.  The crumb is lovely and open, too.  Excellent bake. :)


Mebake's picture

Lovely, Lovely, Marcus..! Beautiful country Rye! For a change, sift your whole rye flour through a fine sieve, and use the resultant almost white Rye in the same recipe, You'll be in for a surprise as to the crumb texture change. I did that in one of  my 66% sourdough ryes and the crumb was unnaturally light for a high rye!


wassisname's picture

Thank you David, Andy, Sylvia, Howard, breadsong, Varda, Syd, Khalid for the kind comments.  Even more thanks for the generous sharing of wisdom through this site, it really is a remarkable thing.  Though, if it weren’t for you folks I might actually be able to stop tinkering and make the same loaf twice once in a while!  Kidding =)  I can’t wait to see what the next loaf looks like…

Andy, thanks for the link.  That Bacheldre Rye really is in an entirely different class of coarseness!  The Heartland Mill flour I have is more like theRogers shown in Franko’s post.  Like Franko, I was comparing mine to Bob’s Red Mill dark rye, which is readily available even out where I live.  I’ve been following your all-British-flour baking adventures with interest, and like others, a little envy.  I know there’s wheat being grown here in California, but it isn’t widely sold as such as far as I can tell.