The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Making Russian Rye - Photos

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Making Russian Rye - Photos

Dear All, 

I am posting here aafew photos taken along the way of making a Russian Rye, procedure and formula as in the first recipe in my blog (there it's called Russian Rye, Andy's version (85% Hydration, preferment 167% hydration, 35% flour from preferment)):

Here the rye sour ready to go:

The ingredients mixed into this clay-like paste:

Shaped immediately without a bulk rise:

After 60 min at 30C:

30 minutes later - ready for the oven:

My current batch of rye ferments rather quickly ...

After the bake (10 min at max temperature with steam plus 25 min at 210C):

The crumb - dense but not too heavy, as expected:

I hope this is useful to someone.


Happy Baking,




nicodvb's picture

Juergen, I wonder if your final dough isn't too stiff. I remember that Andy's (in his video) was much wetter than yours, with a more holey crumb too.

In any case it's surely a very tasty bread!

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Nico,

Good to hear from you.

The paste is stiff, but not as stiff as the 1939 Russian Rye, which was my single most beautiful rye bake

I wasn't quite able to reproduce this - I think it's the flour I use.

In my experience the wholegrain rye from Shipton Mill varies a lot from batch to batch (smell, taste and performance). My current batch makes rather fine-textured breads and ferments very quickly. Andy uses Bacheldre, which I also tried and liked very much. I am considering to switch.

The texture of the bread above is pretty much like a typical "Paderborner Landbrot" - I am quite happy with that.

For a more open texture it might help as well to introduce a bulk fermentation step as in the Russian Rye 1939. I bake my adaption of Russian Rye 1939 regularly and get a more open crumb - I might try that next with this recipe. There are lots of possibilities...

With Andrew Whitley's original formula (200% HL starter and 100% total hydration) I got a much more open crumb, but in my opinion the taste of this is better.

dabrownman's picture

for me.  As far as your loaf being dense and I haven't baked many 100% ryes but the one's we have done were sprinkled on top with a light dusting of rye flour and then waiting for the top to crack before baking to make sure that the dough is fully proofed.  This was a tip and recommendation by Phil for novices to know how well proofed the loaf is since ryes are so difficult to tell and poke testing doesn't work well at all.  I don't know if your loaf was under proofed or not, it seems like a pretty good crumb for a dough that looks so stiff - with no bulk ferment too.  It doesn't have the cracks on top, either before or after baking, that I see on so many other 100% ryes.  Maybe this is isn't a good indicator except for rye novices like me.  The dusting does change the look of the bread and yours is quite handsome without it I must say.

What is helpful for me about your post is that we are getting close to doing a 100% rye with SD and YW Combo starter trying to see what differences we get in taste and open crumb with a boost from YW.  I think we will use this recipe to do the test since you have a good base to go from as a start.  Still, we can't get your flours here.

Nice baking and your post is most helpful

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

dabrownman, that you can take some inspirations from this post.

The crumb appearance is really an interesting aspect, and I am far from understanding all of it. I think the flours have a huge influence.

I made some yeasted rye breads recently - Sweet Rye from ITJB, and the 100* rye from Bertinet. I liked them. For the Sweet Rye I used medium rye from Germany, and the crumb was fairly open. I made similar breads in the past (50% medium rye + 50% bread flour), and again the Shipton rye - although very tasty and fragrant - didn't yield such an open crumb.

As for the proofing - I am fairly comfortable with my somewhat intuitive assessment. I made mistakes in the past, and an overproofed version of a 100% rye can be seen here:

The pentosan matrix gets too weak to hold the crumb together during the bake.

From 90minutes into the proof the dough wouldn't have expanded anymore...

Let me show you two more pictures:

This is a closeup ofthe crumb of the bread above.

And this is taken from my regular bake

I make 2 to 3 Kg of this every week.

The crumb is more open, the volume is pretty much the same.

And a view of the whole slice:

I look forward to hear about your YW experiments.




dabrownman's picture

your breadman with green hair and cheese teeth!!!  He looks better than me most always :-)  You are right, the crumb isn't all that much different than your normal bake just slightly more dense.   If it tastes great then no worries and it is probably a flour difference.   Most folks probably wouldn't notice and some would prefer it that way.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Inspired by Mini, This time I added a slice from the previous rye bale (altus) to the sourdough build.

It developed a stronger tang and richer aroma.

And I made two loaves - one was directly shaped and panned after the mix, and one got a 50 min bulk rise before shaping.

Both were put in the oven at the same time.

Here just before they go in the oven; the bulk proofed loaf has the X:

After the bake:

The crumb:

The difference in height is a bit misleading - the bulked bread had actually a bit more oven spring.

Crumb closeup:

The texture is a lot more open as in the previous bake - it could be the altus - all the other parameters remained the same.

Or maybe some telepathic abilities of dabrownman's apprentice?

The altus definitely makes this more characterful.




dabrownman's picture

was saying that altus, sprouts, seeds, nuts, etc give the paste some structure and allow it to rise better.  The altus really helped the taste of your bread too.  Mini is an experienced rye telepathic of some note and fame.

My baking apprentice, on the other hand, is more of a determined German and more prone for forgetfulness and strange uplifting out of body experiences.   She has other non telepathic, yet still paranormal abilities, that mainly concern out of control binge drinking and eating.  Right now she is resting and awaiting a small chink in my armor to bite an ankle when it is least expected.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

after learning about the paranormal abilities of your apprentice, if she was telepathic. That could spell trouble ...

Mebake's picture

Beautiful ryes, Juergen! All of the them. 

You bake 3kg of rye each week!? You must be skilled with rye bread by now! I wish i could find a cheaper source of rye here in Dubai other than the over priced organic rye flour from dover farm.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Mebake, yourcomment is much appreciated.

It is a shame for such a skilful baker as you are that the ingredients are not easy to obtain.

Just out of curiosity, Bacheldre Mill ship via Amazon, and their rye flour is excellent. I wonder what you in Dubai would have to pay for shipping?

I wanted to comment on your latest post, but somehow didn't get around to it. Those loaves look amazing.

Just a few thoughts about posture:

I mix all my doughs by hand, and in terms of avoiding back problems the videos by Hamelman were very useful to me.

If I start leaning over the bowl or worktop, that's where the problems start. In order to do the kneading upright and with a stable contact to the ground (think Tai Chi or so) I need to spread my legs a bit to get my hands and arms in the rigt position, even though I am not tall.

Happy Baking,