The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Russian And German 100% Ryes - 4 Recipes

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Russian And German 100% Ryes - 4 Recipes


A little while ago Varda posted about her experiences with the Russian Rye from Andrew Whitley's Bread Matters, and there was a longish discussion of the formula.

I posted some photos of the process of making Russian Rye

Andy suggested to use the formula he remembers from his time with Andrew Whitley at the Village Bakery, and I had a closer look at a couple of German standard formulas.

At the end I baked 4 variations -

Russian Rye, Bread Matters version (100% Hydration, preferment 200% hydration, 31% flour from preferment)

Russian Rye, Andy's version (85% Hydration, preferment 167% hydration, 35% flour from preferment)

Single Step Detmolder (78% Hydration, preferment 80% hydration, 35% flour from preferment)

Berliner Kurz-Sauer (79% Hydration, preferment 100% hydration (fermented at 35C for 3.5 hours) , 50% flour from preferment)

Here a comparison of the crumb (pictures of the loaves can be found in the blogs referenced avove):


1. Russian Rye, Bread Matters Version

Rye31% 166g
Water62% 333g
Mature Starter10% 54g
Rye69% 370g
Water42% 225g
Salt1.50% 8g
Sourdough93% 499g
Yield206% 1106g

The surdough fermented for 14 hours at 24C, the paste is mixed and shaped with wet hands and is put directly into a buttered tin. (2X500g tins in my case)

After 2 hours the loaves were risen by about 25% and bubbles started to show, they were ready for the oven.

The bake: 10 minutes at 240C with steam, then 10 minutes at 225C, then 20 more minutes at 200C.

This bread neads a long rest before cutting, at least 24 hours. In my experience the taste is fully there after 3 days.

The crumb is moist and airy, and the bread has a light tang that gets stronger in time.

2. Russian Rye, Andy's Village Bakery version

Mature Starter10%58g

The process is pretty much the same as above.

The surdough fermented for 14 hours at 24C, the paste is mixed and shaped with wet hands and is put directly into a buttered tin. (2X500g tins in my case) This dough is much easier to handle than (1)

After 2 hours the loaves were risen by about 25% and bubbles started to show, they were ready for the oven.

The bake: 10 minutes at 240C with steam, then 10 minutes at 225C, then 20 more minutes at 200C.

This bread neads less rest before cutting than (1), but at least 24 hours.

The crumb is moist and still light, and the bread has a more rye-y taste than (1).

It is difficult to say which one I prefer, but the handling qualities make this one a better candidate for a production environment.

3. Single-Step Detmolder

This method uses a rye starter with typically 80% hydration which is kept at 24C to 28C for 12 hours. The mature starter can then be used in production for up to 6 hours, it doesn't starve quickly and is very robust.

I followed the formula from an earlier post of mine, using 100% rye.

Mature Starter6%36g
Yeast (fresh)1.00%6g

After mixing the paste ferments for 40min (80min without yeast), is shaped with wet hands and put in tins, and rests for another hour.

Baking as above.

The crumb is quite dense as compared with the othe two breads, and there is a distinctive tang.

4. Berliner Kurz-Sauer

This one is a bit unusual: The sourdough matures at high temperature (35C) inb a very short (kurz) time: 3.5 hours.

At this stage the sourdough is almost frothy, very light and fragile, and tastes fruity mild-sour. The aim is to have a lot of LAB producing lactic acid. Therefore this one relyes a bit more on added yeast for the lift.

Mature Starter10%55g
Yeast (fresh)1.00%5g

 After mixing the paste proofed for about 1 hour, is  then shaped with wet hands and put in tins.

At my ambient temperature (24C) the bread was ready for the oven after 2 hours of rest.

The crumb is clearly dryer than the other three breads, and after 24 hours the taste is quite bland.

But I like how this bread developed over time - I had the last bits yesterday - 7 days after the bake. The taste was still mild, with a well developed rye note.


These four breads are a bit like four different characters. And it's hard for me to say which one I would prefer.

Each of them change their character considerably over time.

If I would need some bread tomorrow I'd go with Andy's Russian or the Detmolder, they have a lot of complexity early on.

The Detmolder was the most sour of the four, and developed even more sourness over time.

The Berliner Kurz-Sour might be a good way to introduce people to this kind of bread due to its mildness, and it also goes well with more delicate toppings.

And the "Bread Matters" Russian has this amazing open texture.

The choice is really up to you.






varda's picture

Juergen,  Very interesting.   It's nice to see this all in one place.   Looks like the Russian Rye and Village Bakery Ryes are quite similar but somehow the taste of the latter is more rye-y?    It has that same open crumb and looks like it is very moist.   The most different one is the Berliner - which looks more dry and stiff.   How was it?   I understand that acetic acid produces sour taste, but I don't know the taste contribution of lactic acid.    I am looking forward to trying the Village Bakery version.  -Varda

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Varda,

Thank you for your comment.

I have been busy and all of this took a while ...

The Berliner is very mild, and I think the lactic acid just adds a tiny bit of sweetness.

I really liked this bread after it had aged a bit - 4 days. It didn't feel dry then.

The bubbles in the VB rye are a bit smaller, the crumb is more firm and less gummy, and the flavour developed quicker than in the Bread Matters version. It also developed a stronger acidity over time.

I am sure you'll enjoy it.


breadsong's picture

Juergen, Thank you for this very interesting comparison.
:^) from breadsong

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss


Your comment is highly appreciated. Your 80% Rye is perfect, and I am lookuing forward to seeing more ryes from you!


lumos's picture

Great post, Juergen. I always love the  way you employ in baking to investigate how each different formula produce different result.....and love you more for being so generous to sharing the results with us! :)

VB's crumb looks really beautiful, both its openness and colour.  Must've tasted great, too.  Look forward to your invitation next time you bake it!  :p




P.S.  Sent email to the other address. Did you get it?

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

when you feel hungry ...

Thank you, lumos.

I bake these fairly regularly now, as I have started supplying a small cafe with 8 loaves weekly - 4 100% ryes and 4 caraway detmolders (40% rye). Great fun for a home baker to see the own produce on a shelf in a shop.


lumos's picture

,,,,,sorry, I meant Andrew Whitley's version..... Didn't read the formula titles carefully enough. :p

Great to hear you're baking to supply your local cafe.  Wonderful way to 'educate' the locals' palate! ;)

nicodvb's picture

Juergen, I appreciate your effort and committment to the cause! It must have been a real challenge having that plenty of rye breads at disposal and analyzing each in all respects :)

Can I add more food for thought? Literally :-)  I tried the weekly sourdough bread described in your Roetz pdf  (250 gr of rye flour + a touch of starter + 400 gr water fermented for a week stirring every day, then I added 200 gr of new starter built in 2 steps, 12 gr of salt and 250 of rye flour, 2 hours of bulk fermentation. Baked free-form at 220°). I have to say that I didn't know how I should organize the preferment (what hydratation to choose etc) so I had to work a lot by fantasy, but the resulting bread was fantastic. Both very sour and very sweet, delicious! In my opinion it's a bread worth the long wait that should be compared to the other, if you feel.




Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Thank you very much for your comment, Nico.

I am happy you had such success with the process you distilled from the Roetz document.

I am always fascinated how little changes in the procedure change the outcome so completely.

Your process looks very interesting, and I will take me a bit of time to think things through and read the Roetz document again.

If you have photos and/or more precise notes about the process please feel free to post them here for comparison.

I feel like i slowly get a picture of what is possible with rye, and there is so much more to explore.



ehanner's picture

Very nice comparison Juergen. You have been busy. Are you baking in open metal tins with these?


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Thank you, Eric.

The cheapest silver tins, seasoned with corn oil.



Juergen   I followed all the instructions per 1. Russian Rye, Bread Matters Version.  The bread looks very good but it is wet on the inside. Can it be baked longer to make it a little dryer in the inside?  What would you recommend?

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Richard,

This bread is about 100% hydration - very wet indeed.

You can bake it longer, baking times depend very much on the oven.

If you gradually reduce temperature you can bake this type of bread quite long.

It also takes a while for the crumb to set - about 2 days. It gets less messy then.

Do you have a photo of the crumb?



I finally got this bread perfected.  I made a few changes to the procedure.  First, I found I have a better fermentation if I ferment for 24 hours.  Next I increased the second temperature of 225C to 20 mins and I also added an additional 5 minutes to oven time when I turn off the oven.  Finally,  I found that if I cut the bread after 24 hours I have a better texture.  Maybe it is altitude or no humidity in Colorado but the bread becomes much too dry after 2 or 3 days.  This bread is wonderful and it freezes very well if wrapped in freezer paper and then inserted in freezer bags.  Outstanding recipe, thanks.  Richard................

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss