The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rye and water absorbtion

badmajon's picture

Rye and water absorbtion

I tried my first rye bread the other day, 50% wheat bread flour, 50% rye (whole) meal. Not knowing where to start, I did a 75% hydration recipe. When I first added the water, I noticed that it got really goopy, almost mud-like in texture and it was far "wetter" than a 100% wheat bread flour dough, at 75% hydration should be.

Panicking, I added a little more (wheat) flour until it was workable. All was well until I kept kneading it, and it started to get thicker and less muddy, and behaved like a white flour dough in the low 60% hydration- which makes sense after all the bread flour I added when I panicked.

Is this a characteristic typical of rye? It just takes a little while to absorb the water and get less goopy/muddy? Any alternative interpretations of what happened?


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

75% hydration is still a little dry for a rye and yes, that is typical of rye to act like cement or paste more than wheat dough.  Going 50% with rye flour is greatly improved with a sourdough starter but alternatives have been used.  It is important in developing the gluten like qualities of rye, to add some kind of acid to the dough, be it a sourdough, buttermilk, vinegar, pickle juice, or whatever.  

So what is happening now?  What else have you added?  

Try a site search for 50% rye loaf and compare...  (I'm not sure I can get back to you today and you posted roughly 4 hours ago.)  



Yerffej's picture

Wheat bread is mostly held together by gluten and rye bread is held together mostly by starch.  Commercial yeast eats should begin to see the problem with rye and commercial yeast.  This is why you want to use sourdough,  as the composition and acidic nature of sourdough slow the starch attack. 

When it comes to rye bread, you will get no better advice than that coming from Mini.