The Fresh Loaf

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help converting grandma's rye bread to a slow rise

chirpy's picture

help converting grandma's rye bread to a slow rise

Having just read the topic about the health advantages of allowing bread to rise slowly, I want to do that with a recipe I found in Grandma's old 1942 Searchlight recipe book.

Can you help me convert this please?


Rye Bread

1 cake yeast or 1/2 cake dry yeast
1/2 cup luke warm water
1-1/2 Tablespoons sugar
White Flour (no amount listed)
4 Cups rye flour
3 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons salt

Soften yeast in lukewarm water. Add sugar and let stand about 20 minutes if compressed yeast is used. If dry yeast is used allow to stand 1 hour. Combine flour, buttermilk and salt. Add yeast and stir well. Set in a warm place and allow to rise until full of bubles. Gradually add enough white flour to make dough a little stiffer than for wheat bread. Turn onto lightly floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic. Form into loaves, place in well-oiled pans, and brush with melted butter or butter substitute. Cover and let rise until double in bulk. Bake in hot oven (425 F) about 1 hour. 3 loaves.


Would I only use 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast since I want to let it go slowly?

Do I mix it as described, but let it do the last rise in the fridge over night? Or?

Should I change the instructions completely? If yes, how?

(I'd be happy to only make one (small) loaf to start with - to save my very expensive rye flour)


Advice is very welcome.

chirpy's picture

Thanks for writing, AliB. I'm going to go for it with the little knowledge I have gained. Wish me luck.

I will tell how it turns out.

Also - I found this great blog post that gave me the courage to just use the recipe at it is written:


Thanks too for the links. ( I'm temporarily not using sour dough starter - although I made one loaf with it so far.)

As for preservatives etc - I understand exactly what you're saying! I think it all comes down to moving food through their systems faster, to turn a faster profit. Sad, but true. But luckily, we don't have to buy that stuff. :-)  And - we can teach others how to make things for themselves, too.

chirpy's picture

It has been baked - and partially eaten.

Considering all the gambles I took (Cold rise, cold oven, halving a new recipe from an ancient cookbook), I think it was still a MASSIVE success - despite that it could have been taller. It tastes nice, too.


Here's what I did:

Proofed the yeast:
1 packet Red Star active dry yeast
1/4 cup 110-115 F degree water
1/4 tsp sugar
(mixed a little flour, too.)

2 tsp sugar
2 cups Bob's Red Mill Organic Dark Rye
2-3/4 cups + 2 Tablespoons Gold Medal Bread Flour
1-1/2 Cups buttermilk (Lactose free whole milk with 1-1/2 T cider vinegar)
1 tsp. salt

My recipe didn't specify how much white flour - so I kept adding until I felt like the dough held up to kneading - although I didn't need to knead it per se since I was doing a cold rise.

10:30 PM (last night) Into refrigerator in a greased tupperware bowl at 10:30pm last night - first rise = cold.

10:30 AM.( this morning) Pulled from fridge.  It was probably over proofed. Highly active!
Formed into one small loaf (pyrex loaf pan on the small side), + one mini loaf (antique - metal)  + one dinner roll sized loaf (in a tiny metal loaf pan - antique).
Put all back into 'fridge for final rise in their buttered pans.

1:pm. At this point they were rising very well.
Slashed tops, rubbed a little water on tops to keep them moist (they were covered with buttered saran wrap)

2:10 PM Put into cold oven. Poured about 1/4 cup of water into the bottom of oven for steam - hoping for massive oven spring. Rubbed tops of loaves with water hoping to help with oven spring. 

2:13 PM Oven was too steamy inside to see the bread

2:16 No more steam. Uh oh?

2:23 Significan oven spring. Hurray!

2:25 Oven finally reached 410 F.

2:30 Turned oven up to 425 F

2:36 Turned oven DOWN to 375 as they were rapidly browning. No further oven spring since 2:23. Uh oh?

2:40 Bun sized loaf finished. Internal temp 205. (Is that what I'm seeking?) This loaf got the best expansion from the slashes.

2:46 Mini loaf finished - temp 205 internal. Not the best expansion, but had the best upward rise of all. Had one lengthwise crack, however, but very shallow. What does that?

2:53 Large loaf not done - only 180 internal temp and didn't thump right. Back in the oven.

3:pm Large loaf finally done. 205 internal. Thumped right to my ears.


Had bun sized loaf for dinner. Tastes nice. Crumb looks nice. Sliced the mini-loaf - also looks and tastes just fine.


I'd like to learn how to make it have better oven spring. Did my first proofing go too far? Did my second proofing go too far? Did I not have enough moisture in the oven?

Also - would like to know how to get the sweet sort of flavor I get from the bakery rye breads sold locally here. I know it might not be terribly authentic, but I like that rich sweet flavor and I don't know how to get it. I've read barley flour imparts a sweetness - could that be it? A small measure of molasses - but I don't want to get the molasses flavor too strong. Help?


Pictures tomorrow if possible.

chirpy's picture

I liked this WAYYY better than Hodgson Mills. Hodgson contains ultra fine to ultra chunky particles. I hate large chunky particles personally. Don't like biting into hard bits. Also - I found very little flavor existed in my Hodgson Mills rye.

Bob's Red Mill was perfect for me! It contains all the parts of the grain - but it is finely enough milled that it doesn't have any hard / large crunch bits. Very uniformly milled. Very nice flavor. Definitely tastes of rye in a big way. :)