The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My favorite light rye bread

dosal's picture

My favorite light rye bread

This is my favorite because I am almost always successful with this recipe. This time it spread more than usual. Could it be because I added more water to the mix?

The recipe calls for a levain out of 300 g rye flour, (I grind my own)300g water, 1 Tbsp. of starter (I always use at least 2 Tbsp.) This goes into the refrigerator overnight. I use my warm fridge ( 45 -50F) for this.

The next morning I add 550g AP flour (I used KAF this time)

150g whole wheat (again home ground)

250g water (I use spring water from a local spring)

1 tsp sugar

3 tsp salt

The recipe also calls for 2 Tbsp sunflower oil which I mostly do without, however I added about 1/4 cup more water.

Why do my free form loaves spread like this? This was supposed to be a batard after all.



Bakingmadtoo's picture

It looks delicious. I am having problems with spreading too, just asked a question about it. It is frustrating isn't it? At least it doesn't effect the taste!

dosal's picture

I only cut it today.I could resist the end piece no longer. It was still warm yesterday when I took the picture.

I read your post and next time I will slash with three short strokes. I did this before and the spread was not as pronounced. However, I had not added water last time. The crumb was better this go around. I guess it is a matter of give and take. Next bake is with 3 slashes and added water. I love experimenting anyway and any tip I read about here I try to apply.

ElPanadero's picture

Hi Dosal

Still looks a yummy loaf to me but I know it can be frustrating when your loaf "flollops" a little.  LIke you, I invested in a grain mill and grind my own wheat, spelt and rye.  I have found however that the flours produced this way can often contribute to a more dense/heavy loaf if used immediately after grinding.  I believe the grains have oils in them which may mean the flour actually comes out a little wetter than shop bought flour although it doesn't feel like it when you handle it.  I'm going to experiment with leaving my ground flours out for some days before using them instead of grinding just what I need and using immediately.  I'd be interested to know if you've done anything similar.

Your spreading could be caused by a few things I guess.  Is your levain well sealed / covered in the fridge or could it have gained moisture in there in some way?  Could you maybe have over-proved the dough ?  Is your shaping/forming tight enough?   Something that wasn't clear from your post was whether the spreading occured whilst in the oven or before it went in (e.g. when turned out of a banneton onto a stone etc).  Problem with recipes is that nothing is ever totally constant, like our flours as I mentioned.  I would bet the moisture levels of our ground flours are different to shop bought flours.  C'est La Vie.  Like I said, still looks like a yummy loaf and I'd happily work through it with a nice chunk of Manchego cheese and some home made chutney :-)

dosal's picture

Hi, I have been milling my own wheat for at least 30 years and when I used yeast I never had much of a problem. However, I baked in tins back then or simply rolls with lots of flax seeds.

I read somewhere on this forum to let the freshly ground grain rest for about a week and I had mine in the refrigerator for at least a week. I keep whole grains that are ground refrigerated because of a chance of rancidity. The latter is often a problem with store bought whole grains.

The loaf definitely spread out and rose quite high after going on my hot stone. I had set my convection oven to 460F and turned it down to 430F after 20 minutes, but of course the spread was complete after 20 minutes.

The levain was in a bowl in a plastic bag tightly sealed. I know humid weather can have an impact on flours, but with the current cold wave here on the east coast the air is very dry. I added more water because I wanted an airier lighter crumb and I got that. I just bake for my husband and myself so appearance isn't all that important, but now and again I share a loaf with a friend and for that appearance would count.

Strangely enough since this is a 1 kg bread I have made two loaves out of the dough a few times and those were the only times that the bread didn't rise properly, no spring in the oven either.

I do shape and firm the dough thoroughly.

I need to learn how to post more pictures and pictures within a thread. Now I could take a crumb shot (while the bread lasts, lol)