The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tzitzle Rye - West Seattle Style

Tzitzle Rye - West Seattle Style

littlejay's picture


A recreation of a St. Louis favorite sized for 6 - 2.5 lb loaves


Loaves 2.5 lb
SourceInspired by Pratzels in St. Louis circa 1965
Prep time5 hours
Cooking time50 minutes
Total time5 hours, 50 minutes


1 c
Rye Starter - active (if starter has been refridgerated, activate it before proceeding)
6 lb
water (I use bottled spring water)
6 c
rye flour (add rye flour, starter and 3 lb water to ferment 24 to 48 hours)
6 T
instant yeast
6 T
1 c
dark malt syrup
1 c
caraway seeds - optional (toast in medium pan for 3 minutes before adding to mixture)
8 lb
hi gluten flour (8 pounds 4 ounces is actual measurement)
3 c
polenta grind corn meal (approximate amount)
1 cn
baking spray
egg white (1 egg white)
1 T


make your own rye ferment (see how-to elsewhere)

add active ferment to 3 pounds spring water and 6 cups rye flour

let this mixture ferment for 24 to 48 hours, the longer the stronger the sour taste

measure out 4 1/2 pounds of this mixture and reserve the rest for your starter

add 4 1/2 pounds ferment to 3 pounds spring water, salt, yeast, malt syrup, caraway seeds and mix well until malt syrup is disolved.

add hi gluten flour and mix for 3 minutes

rest 20 minutes

knead 8 minutes, dough will clear sides of bowl while kneading

1st rise for 2 hours at room temp

divide and portion into 6 loaves

spread cornmeal onto board and roll the loaves into until cornmeal is inbedded in the surface

spray low topped bread pans, I use stainless steel low sided steamer table pans measuring 6 wide x 12 long x 2 1/2 inches high

preheat oven to 425 degrees

let rise in pans covered with plastic wrap for 30 minutes or less if temp is over 70 degrees - don't overproof!

uncover and brush with egg white/water mixture, heavily sprinkle cornmeal on top of loaves

bake for 50 minutes

Notes: I use a 20 quart mixer and bake in my electric kitchen oven, because of baking characteristics of this oven I move the pans from top rack to bottom rack and vice versa halfway through the baking and finish for 5 minutes with convection. Either slash the loaves or let them crack naturally prior to baking. Let cool thoroughly before slicing. Flavor improves for a few days and bread becomes more firm. If it lasts a week you'll want to toast.

This bread was inspired by Pratzels tzitzle rye of my childhood in St. Louis. I'd love to bring them some and get their opinion!


caraway is optional

dark malt syrup is available from beer making supply stores

pans are available from restaurant supply stores



dabrownman's picture

1 bn of rye starter?  Never seen the bn term before.....  Recipes sure looks like a good one.

Stuart Borken's picture
Stuart Borken

We need a picture!

pepperhead212's picture

I love caraway in some ryes, and often double what is called for, but I can't imagine this amount. I realize it is 15 lbs. yield, but 3 tb in 4.5 lbs. of bread is fairly strong, in my experience. Does the toasting mellow it out some?

Still, it looks very good, though I would have to do a trial 2 lb. loaf with that amount of seeds.

dabrownman's picture

was for (6) 2.5 pound loaves,  If you go to the formula on the right side and change the 6 to 1 and hit change then the  caraway goes to 1/6th of a cup per loaf.  For a minute I was freaking too.  He did fix the bn  to a C which I assume is a 166% hydration rye sour starter or maybe it is 100%?

littlejay's picture

This bread can be made in a large loaf pan for sandwich size slices or in a dutch oven.

Pictures posted.

dabrownman's picture

Just the way I remember it.  Well done and Happy Tizitzeling

varda's picture

Wondering why you have the rye flour in cups and the high gluten flour in pounds.   I was going to try your approach, but don't know how much rye you are putting in.   Your bread looks great, and love your sandwich.  -Varda

littlejay's picture

Why didn't I weigh out the 6 cups of rye flour?  Lazy.

And sometimes I use all stoneground rye, other times I use Bob's "Light Rye" which has wheat gluten as an additive as well as most of the bran and germ removed, other times I mix these 2 for a batch. So I don't bother weighing thinking a small weight difference of the rye is not significant. Sometimes I'll add a little water while it's kneading if it looks too dry. I want the dough to just pull away from the mixer bowl.

Here's a picture of a "little old lady" who is holding a full sliced loaf of this bread. Made her day! I give away lot's to my clients.

That sandwich is really divine. Growing up we had the lox and bagels. Or the pastrami and rye. Never thought to put the lox on rye until recently and it really works.

Here's another picture of a cross section of this bread. The largish holes are the result of soft handling while forming loaves. If you work it more when forming the loaves, the bread is more dense.

You can also see the distribution of caraway from this pic.

littlejay's picture

I've gone to this method to make the crust.

After forming the loaf I dunk the whole thing into a big bowl of warm water and then into a big bowl of polenta.

This makes is easy to get a thick coating of cornmeal all around.

Then after putting these loaves in the pans, I paint with egg/water mix and then let them proof.

The loaves are so moist there is no need to cover them while proofing.

Makes it a little easier all around and the crust is thick with cornmeal.