The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mixer help needed for Polish Country rye

JonnyP's picture

Mixer help needed for Polish Country rye

Background:  I have made over 100 loaves, mostly using the sourdough "no-knead" meathod.  Now I have a 300W Kitchen Aid mixer on loan.  I have tried the following recipe several times:

My problem: gluten never seems to develop to anything even remotely like a "windowpane."  Worse still, after just 2 minutes in the mixer, the dough starts to break down, and become progressively more soupy



I have attempted the following

JonnyP's picture

Sorry about the 1/2 post above.  Here is the  rest:

Q1:  given the acidity and quantity of the levain, and the 15% rye content, should I simply expect that windowpane is impossible?  Otherwise, what am I doing wrong?  I am following the recipe exactly, including autolyse, and everything.  Only difference: I have had a bit better luck using bread flour instead of AP.


jcking's picture

What KA mixer speeds are being used? The bread flour will absorb more water so that is the difference of better luck with bread flour.


ehanner's picture


I looked at the recipe. I think what is happening is your levain is going to rags do to the long fermenting of a rye starter. You then combine the dough ingredients and the acid levels destroy the gluten in the BF.

I suggest you add 1/4 of the salt for the recipe into the levain, OR shorten the fermenting by half. You didn't say how warm the conditions are for your levain but cooler would be better than above 70 for this.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Above in the total it says  "Bread Flour"  

and below that in the final dough it say "AP flour"  

Use Bread Flour.

JonnyP's picture

Thanks guys:

Eric: I think you are right.  When first attempting this recipe, I was altering it by using a much more liquid levain, maybe like 200% hydration, and therefore adding quite a bit more volume of levain into the final dough to keep it at 15% rye.  This is when my dough went to rags really bad in the mixer, getting progressively worse over a 6 minute mix with dough hook on speed 2.

dhass: I think you are right as well.  On my last attempt, I did follow the recipe exactly, with just 100% hydration, but, after the autolyze, I was not brave enough to go beyond 2 minutes on speed 1 (I did not like what I was seeing).  Perhaps, if I had waited it out a bit, it would have come together better.

Overall, I think I am going back to one-stage no-knead meathods with a few stretch and folds.  Simpler; less equipment.

However, some interesting questions remain:

 The total acid in all of these attempts above was actually not very high: the final loaves were only very mildly sour.  However, all this acid was introduced "suddenly" to the larger volume of bread flour(BF).  Perhaps the gluten is being attacked/denatured/disabled before the BF's ash has a chance to buffer these acids.  Certainly, I can make much more sour breads with the long one-stage no-knead meathod. 

1) Is BF's gluten "known" to be intolerant of this sudden pH change?  Have others had problems introducing very acidic (high total titratable acid content) levains to virgin BF?

2) How is the final dough affected by putting all the rye in the levain compared to putting all the rye into the final dough?  Anyone tried this comparison back-to-back?  Clear advantage either way?