The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

"Finnish Rye" from the SFBI

dmsnyder's picture

"Finnish Rye" from the SFBI

I am on a mailing list which periodically sends me formulas for new breads developed at the San Francisco Baking Institute. The most recent mailing was for a "Finnish Rye." Here's a link: Finnish Rye Bread Formula Now, I cannot attest to the Finnish provenance of this bread. Nor would I call it a "rye bread." It is only 22% rye. In fact, it has more whole wheat flour (35%) than rye. Anyway, it is a multigrain bread made with a liquid levain, a cracked wheat soaker and a flaxseed soaker. It looked interesting, but I definitely would not have made it this soon but for Paul's (PJKobulnicky) bake of it (see SFBI's Finnish Rye) that looks so good. 

I followed the SFBI formula with these modifications:

1. For the Wheat Soaker, I used coarse bulgur.

2. I added about 20g additional water during the early dough mix because the dough seemed dry to me. (That was before the soakers were added.)

3. I mixed the dough for about 7 minutes before adding the soakers.

4. After mixing the soakers into the dough at low speed for 3 or 4 minutes, I transferred the dough to a floured board and hand kneaded for another 3 minutes to distribute the bulgur and fax seeds better and develop the gluten a bit more.

5. I bulk fermented at 76 dF for 2.5 hours. I did not feel the prescribed 1.5-2 hours resulted in sufficient fermentation.

6. I proofed for 45 minutes at 85 dF.

The dough was pretty sticky with the additional water I had added. The crust softened quickly with cooling and was pleasantly chewy. The crumb was more open than Paul's, probably because of the additional water and the extra gluten development. The crumb was soft but somewhat chewy.

When first tasted a couple hours after baking, the flavor was very nice except that the flavor of the molasses and the sweetness seemed excessive. There was also a clear flavor of flaxseeds (which I happens to like). However, the flavor profile evolved considerably by the next day. Now, the bread had the flavor of a honey whole wheat bread. The distinct flavors of molasses, flaxseeds and rye have all melded and are no longer identifiable (to my taste). I had said in Paul's blog I would reduce the molasses next time. I'm not so sure now, but I might try it with honey rather than molasses.

I have eaten it plain, toasted with almond butter and un-toasted with a bit of sweet butter. I enjoyed the last option most, so far. We are going to have some tonight as leftover roast chicken sandwiches.

Both my wife and I like this bread a lot, and I expect it will be baked often. However, I will classify it in my my mind as a whole wheat bread rather than as a rye bread.



Mebake's picture

A fine example of this bread, David! Love the developed open crumb, and the dark flavor-packed crust.

Thanks for posting this.


Andreea C's picture
Andreea C

What wonderful looking breads! You've really made me curious to try to bake them. All best!

golgi70's picture

Looks quite amazing David.  The increased hydration made for a stellar crumb.

On my to do list for sure (once I stop playing with my new books Tartine3, FWSY)



dmsnyder's picture


Janetcook's picture

Hi David,

One of the first breads I baked out of Maggie Glezer's book, Artisan Baking, was a Finnish Rye formula that she got from a bakery, Dutch Regale Bakery, in Texas.  When I say your beautiful loaf it reminded me of that bread so I went and looked it up to compare ingredients to see if her Finnish was as low in rye as yours….

I know all formulas get tweaked but the 2 formulas are very similar.  The rye flour is 22% but her cracked grain soaker uses cracked rye −37% rather than the wheat in yours.  Other than that the ingredients and method are pretty similar though the molasses in hers is 19%.

I am thinking that the Finnish Ryes are probably similar to the German Vollkornbrots where the cracked grains can be changed though the flour % seem to stay the same but I really do not have enough experience at all to really know what constitutes an 'authentic' regional bread.

My reading here and through many baking books leads me to conclude that formulas differ from city to city; town to town; bakery to bakery yet all carry a similar thread with them based upon their origins which were based upon geography and grains originally available in their areas.  I can well imagine good old human nature and ingenuity created the tweaks along the way.

Anyway, you have jogged my memory and reminded me that I have not baked this loaf in a long, long time so I am thinking I will have to look into my 'to bake' list and see if I can find a slot for it in the near future.

Take Care,


dmsnyder's picture

I'll have to take a look at Artisan Baking myself. It's been quite a while, and I don't recall the Finnish Rye from there.



jkandell's picture

I had the same experience, Janet, and also compared recipes. They've got to come from the same source!  The sfbi version uses slightly less levain than Glezer's, which makes sense since sfbi also contains IDY with subsequent shorter proofing time.  Glezer's contains no white flour (other than the levain), just whole wheat and rye.  The biggest difference is in the cracked grain soaker: glezer uses twice as much cracked rye soaker as sfbi's cracked wheat soaker (91% compared to 45% bp).  Glezer's cracked rye is a full 58% of the weight of the whole loaf!  

They're similar loaves and both delicious.   

dabrownman's picture

WW bread that has some other grains in it .....and made by a real FInn too!  What's not to like :-)  This looks like a fine bread for all occasions.  Well done as usual and happy baking David.  Who knew Santa was Finnish? :-)


Skibum's picture

. . . I will HAVE to try this one! Wonderful looking bread David and I also love the crumb! I am running out of NY deli rye and perhaps I will try this one next.

Best regards, Brian

dmsnyder's picture

We finished (one n) one loaf pretty fast. This one's a keeper. I think you will like it ... but don't expect it be "rye bread."


Bakingmadtoo's picture

That looks stunning as always. The colour is beautiful. 

ml's picture

I love this bread, also, but it does remind me of the Orowheat wheatberry bread I loved as a kid.

Frank Sally did say NOT to use honey instead, that it would be much too sweet.

dmsnyder's picture


gldneye's picture

I know the discussion is old, but have to throw in my two cents. The authentic Finnish rye bread only has 3 ingredients: rye flour, water and salt. Of course we need a starter, but it has the same ingredients. The American Finnish Rye here is something different and as a Finn, I would not consider it rye bread. More like multi grain.

dmsnyder's picture

Well, I did say I would not call this a "rye bread" in the OP. And I have no idea what makes it "Finnish." That said, I would ask, Is there only one kind of rye bread made in Finland?  And is it a fact that all Finnish rye bread is 100% rye with no other flours or grains in the dough?

Thanks for your comment, gldneye. Tell us more about Finnish bread (s).