The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rye Starter in a Regular Sourdough Recipe?

BreadBro's picture

Rye Starter in a Regular Sourdough Recipe?

I've been thinking about ways of kicking up the flavor in my usual sourdough recipe. I use Peter Reinhart's recipe from Artisan Breads Every Day with a slightly higher hydration at ~ 75%. I was thinking about substituting the regular sourdough starter with a rye starter, which would add about 56g of rye flour into a total of 794g of bread flour.

I've done regular soughdough rye and I've done pain au levain, so I wonder if this would be somewhere in the middle.

Thoughts on this? Is this too little rye to notice any difference? If I add more, by how much do you figure I should alter the amount of water?


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And it tastes great!  

nicodvb's picture

The added taste and aroma has a cost: watch closely the dough. Rye sourdough makes overproofing much easier.

theprudenttart's picture

I've made sourdough baguettes both with rye and all-purpose starters.  For me, there was a discernible difference in the sharpness of the crumb. 

Here's my blog post using the rye starter and other using the all-purpose flour starter

There was also a small difference in the crusts' color, but I'm not entirely sure if that a result of the starter.  Would be interested to know what some of the more seasoned bakers think may be cause of the differences in coloring. 

Ryan Blackwell's picture
Ryan Blackwell

Hey there.

My starter is a sir lancelot base, and in my typical recipe, I add up to 50g rye flour. 

something like

1000 starter

246 water

548 flour (this includes the rye flour)

1tbs salt


Now in that recipe as little as 40 grams of rye (so 508 bread flour) makes a difference in flavor for me. Watch closer is right though. I just did a 51 gram rye batch and I over proofed the loaves! Rye is delicious though, and the starter loves it. 

Good luck



dabrownman's picture

56 g of rye out of 850 g total (rye plus white) is only 6.5% of the flour,  I don't see any problems.  I would prefer 43g of whole rye and 22 each of WW and Spelt for 87 g of whole grains total (10% whole grain) -  to round out the flavor profile.

By putting all the whole grains in the levain build they would have the longest time to be wet. 

Sounds like a fine tasting loaf of bread either way.

BreadBro's picture

This is great advice. I'll have to try the mix of grains next time around. Thanks!

BreadBro's picture

So, just in case you all care, I had a go with the recepie and found it worked great. I have to thank you all for the advice, as most of it proved quite true.

The rye starter was much more active than my regular wheat starter. For this recipe I had to cut the proof time by about 20%. The flavor was great, but what I found the rye starter had a greater effect on was the openness of the crumb. Here's a pic of my 75% hydration batard:

I think for now on I'll use a rye starter for my sourdough breads and also add in some more whole grains to add more flavor. I love experimenting with this stuff! 

dabrownman's picture

I think you will like having a multi grain, whole grain levain from a flavor and crumb perspective.

Happy baking