The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rye sourdoughs

hankjam's picture
hankjam

Rye sourdoughs

Hi

I would be grateful if anyone could tell me if it best to have rye in the starter or is a white flour starter okay to use in a rye bread?

Many thanks

Andrew j

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

in the fridge at 33% each Rye, WW and AP.  When I want to bake with it, I take about 20-25 grams of it and build it over 3 stages for what ever bread I am making.  If I am making rye bread the first stage 20 g of rye flour and 20 g of water making a total of 60 grams,  4 hourd later I add 40 g of rye and 40 grams of water making 140 g total.  4 hours later I add 60 g of rye and what ever water is needed for a stiff or what ever hydration the recipe calls for a 100% hydration would be 60 g of water and you end up with 260 g or starter  (a good amount for most breads) that will double the last 4 hours of the 12 hours.

If you are making WW use WW flour and for white bread use AP.  Works for me.  Other will have different ways to get to the same place.

Hopes this helps 

hankjam's picture
hankjam

It will help and I will give your method a go. Being a total newbie WW and AP is what?

Many thanks

Andrew j

gmabaking's picture
gmabaking

WW= whole wheat, AP=All Purpose, WWW=White Whole Wheat, KA sometimes means King Arthur (Flour) and sometimes KitchenAid (mixers). There are many more definitions in the FAQ section on the top of this page. Some of the interesting things you will find on this forum are the many names and meanings of names that exist internationally. Of course you will also find interesting people and lots of good advice and ideas for bread baking. So-- welcome to the wonderful world of dough in many forms and formats!

oops, just saw that David had already answered your questions, sorry for the extra post

hankjam's picture
hankjam

Hi Gmabaking.

No it's all good stuff and thank you for your response.

Aj

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Assuming that by "rye bread" you mean a bread with at least 30% rye flour, most if not all your rye flour should be pre-fermented, that is, in the form of a rye sour. This results in better crumb structure and flavor. I won't go into the technical reasons pre-fermenting rye flour is desireable. If you want to know more about using rye flour, you might want to read the section on Rye Flour in the TFL Handbook.

Unless you bake rye breads frequently, you can easily convert a wheat flour fed starter to a rye sour. Dabrownman's method should work for you. 

What kind of rye bread are you wanting to bake?

David

P.S. "WW" is whole wheat. "AP" is all purpose (wheat flour with bran and germ removed, generally with 10.5-11.7% protein).

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

David,

You put a huge piece of 'bait' in your response and I am biting....

Can you please explain why rye flour should be in the form of a sour if above 30%?  I read the piece in the TFL handbook but it didn't go into this.  I have never read this before and now I am curious as to why.  You don't have to get to technical....

The only thing I recall reading about rye flours is that using a sd/sour helps control the fermenting so you don't end up with 'goo'.....but I don't recall ever reading that the sd should be made out of rye.

If you don't want to go into this here can you direct me to another link where it is discussed?  My curiosity has gotten the best of me once again :-0

Thanks,

Janet

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I think the explanation is in the Rye Flour Handbook section: The acid in the sour interferes with amylase breakdown of starches. Too much starch breakdown results in gummy bread. The 30% figure is a guesstimate as to the point at which this would make a substantial difference. Maybe the "true" percentage is lower. I doubt that it's higher.

Hope that helps.

David

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

David,

Thanks for the response.  What threw me was your statement that the rye flour MUST be in the form of a sour.  I always use sd when I bake and with rye I sometimes use a rye sour or a ww one depending on the recipe I am using. I have just followed whatever recipe I am using and all have turned out fine despite the flour used in the sour.  

Your comment about it having to be a rye sour just made me stop and question what I have been doing.....thought I had missed something along the way.....as I am apt to do because there is soooo much to digest :-)

Thanks again!

Janet

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Hi Janet,

Using sourdough when baking with rye makes a lot of sense. There are probably no generally acknowledged guidelines for when sourdough has to be used when baking with rye flour, but I recall reading an article by German bakery consultant Peter Stolz, where he wrote that doughs with at least 20% rye should have a sour component. That's not to say that you need to use a rye sourdough for this purpose, a sourdough made from other flours would work equally well, as long as you generate sufficient acidity in the dough you're mixing. Thus, I don't really agree with the statement that "rye flour should be in the form of a sour if above 30%". As long as you use a sourdough, it might as well be a liquid levain or a firm white starter.

Based on what I know, what you want to achieve by using a sourdough is, apart from the obvious flavour benefit, at least two-fold: Whereas the crumb in wheat breads is based on the gluten network (glutenin and gliadin) to trap gas, the crumb in rye breads is based on starches. Amylase will break down starches, and amylase activity is particularly high in rye breads. Using a sourdough will lower the pH of the dough, and this will slow down/inactivate much of the alpha-amylase activity during the gelatinization period (baking period with internal temperature between roughly 50dC and 65dC). Thus, if the dough is properly acidified by sourdough, this will ensure that the starch matrix remains and that the crumb does not collapse when you first slice into your baked rye bread.

The second benefit of adding sourdough to a rye dough, is that the acidic conditions will affect rye pentosans, polysaccharides that swell and bind water during mixing and fermentation. The water binding capacity of pentosans is increased by using sourdough, which results in a dough with better gas retention capacity and improved shelf life.

I wouldn't be surprised if you once in a while find a rye bread recipe where there's no sourdough, but where another acidic component is added instead. This could for instance be yoghurt, sour cream, kefir or even vinegar. I think most of us would prefer a nicely ripened sourdough to any of those alternatives :) Hope that could be of some help, Janet!

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hans,

Yes, this helps a lot because of your statement that it doesn't really matter what type of sour one uses with rye - just so long as you use one.  That has been my understanding all along from what I have read in various books on the subject.  David's comment that it MUST be a rye sour threw me for a loop.....I had never read that before or, if I have, I completely forgot it and wanted to know if I was missing something important about baking with rye flour.

Thanks for taking the time to respond and explain that the 'sour' can be in the form of a rye sour, ww starter or other acid containing food such as those you listed above. I have baked a lot of Hanseata's (Karin) recipes and she uses buttermilk in several of our favorite breads that contain rye flour.

Again, thanks for taking the time to respond to my question.

Take Care,

Janet

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Your comment and Hans' got me thinking and re-reading Hamelman and Suas on rye flour. Actually, in describing baking with rye flour, they talk about the various reasons to use "sourdough." They do not actually say the sourdough need be a rye sour. And, as far as the specific effects of sourdough on amylase and phytic acid which Hamelman cites, it matters not whether the LB's are growing in a wheat or a rye sourdough. So, technically, you are correct in questionning my categorical statement.

Yet, I cannot recall seeing a formula for a rye bread with over 30% rye that did not call for a rye sour. There are clearly other advantages to using rye to nourish yeast and LB's (free sugar, mineral content). 

Thanks for raising the question.

David

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Pickle juice -- don't just think "dill."   I like pickled pepper juice, mixed vegetable pickle juice, onion pickle juice, pickled mushroom, etc. ...   (My family know better than to ditch pickle juice.  We also use it for beef stews and potato salads.)

Any variety of vinegar or even wine (use a bit more than vinegar)  and don't forget Beer!

Also remember that many of the fruit juices/ soured milk products used to get starters going by lowering pH will also work, just watch the added sugar in the recipe or risk too sweet a dough.   (Ideas -- rye brioche using fruit juice?)

I keep a rye starter and have gone back and forth using wheat starters for rye and rye starters for wheat and many variations between.  It's a matter of what you like, plain and simple and there are taste differences.  Experiment!

If you keep one starter for use with different kinds of flour, it is my suggestion that you regularly feed small amounts of "other flours" into your starter to prevent "starter shock."  "Shock" is when a vigorous starter is fed and doesn't recognize food (fresh flour) is present and thus holds back on growth and appears lethargic or dead.  

I bake predominantly rye breads over 60% rye and keep a rye starter but when building a rye starter for a wheat recipe, I will feed it a rye/wheat combination so that it won't "shock" on me after I've mixed up my dough.  By feeding a starter its regular flour blended with the target flour, a strong negative reaction is minimized.  The starter may still react with slower fermenting times but it will recover more quickly and I would rather it reacted while building the starter for the recipe than throw off my rise estimates on baking day.  

I've found "shock" happens more often when using a rye starter for wheat dough than the reverse of using a wheat starter for rye dough.  When wheat starters are fed rye, they tend to perk up and ferment faster.

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

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Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

David,

Thanks for this response.....a relief for my frazzled mind to know that there isn't something else out there that I have been missing or misinterpreting.

 I just began baking with sd a little over a year ago and am only now coming out of 'beginner's mind TOTAL overload' and when I read your statement about the flour my mind did a little panic thing.  Now it can calm down again - or be as calm as it reasonably can be in a house with teenagers and a roaming 22 year old.  :-)

Take Care,

Janet

 

hankjam's picture
hankjam

David

Thank you for your response. I sort of know what type of Rye I want but not the name. 20 years ago in Dundee a Deli used to get in loaves that were just great. Large round, domed, with a near black shell and a lovely rye inside. I tend to think it is some central european rye bread, we don't have a great recent history of Rye in Scotland. So I'm going to try to develop the skills needed to make something like it. I'm sure there will be a method somewhere so some research will also be needed. I'm off to look up the link you sent.

Best wishes

Andrew j

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

In the interest of one more opinion for you, I agree with David.  Use rye.

Jeff