The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Greenstein's Sourdough Rye (Rye Sour) care and feeding, illustrated

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Greenstein's Sourdough Rye (Rye Sour) care and feeding, illustrated

Eagleswings' struggles with a rye starter and the current interest in Jewish sour rye and corn bread have prompted me to re-post my response regarding the care and feeding of rye sour. After making sour rye breads last weekend, I took some photos of my rye sour refreshment which might be helpful to those undertaking rye bread baking for the first time.

 The photos that follow illustrate the progression of each stage's ripening. The volume of the sour is, of course, increased with each stage.

 

DMSnyder's adaptation of Greenstein's Rye Sour:


There are 3 "stages" to make a sour ready to use in a rye bread recipe. You can refrigerate overnight after any of the stages. If you do refrigerate it, use warm water in the next build. The mature sour will probaby be okay to use for a couple of days, but I try to time it to spend no longer that 12 hours since the last feeding. If you have kept it longer under refrigeration, it should be refreshed.

 

Stage 1:

50 gms of Rye sour refreshed with 100 gms water and 75 gms rye flour

50 gms of Rye sour refreshed with 100 gms water and 75 gms rye flour, mixed into a paste, scraped down and smoothed over.

 

 

Refreshed rye sour with 25 gms (1/4 cup) rye flour sprinkled over the surface.

Refreshed rye sour with 25 gms (1/4 cup) rye flour sprinkled over the surface. This prevents drying out. Cover airtight (more or less) to ripen.

Ripening refreshed rye sour, starting to rise and form a dome, spreading the dry rye flour.

Ripening refreshed rye sour after 3 hours or so, starting to rise and form a dome, spreading the dry rye flour. Keep covered. Be patient.

Ripening refreshed rye sour. Expanded further with more pronounced spreading of dry flour.

Ripening refreshed rye sour after 4-5 hours. Expanded further with more pronounced spreading of dry flour. I'd give it another hour or two to achieve maximum expansion, but I'd refrigerate it before it starts to collapse, or go on to Stage 2 if you are getting ready to make some rye bread.

Stage 2:
All of the Stage 1 starter
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup rye flour

Mix thoroughly into a thick paste. Scrape down and smooth the surface.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of rye flour all over the surface. Cover the bowl and let rise for 4-8 hours or untile the dry rye on the surface has spread into "continents" and the surface has domed. Don't wait until it collapses.

Stage 3:
All of the Stage 1 starter
1/2 cup of water
1 cup of rye flour.

You may have to transfer this to a larger bowl. Mix thoroughly into a thicker paste - It should pull away from the sides of the bowl as you mix it. If it is too thin, you can add more rye flour until it is more "dough-like." Cover the starter and let it rise 4-8 hours. It should nearly double in volume and be bubbly.

It's now ready to use to make rye bread.

Greenstein advises to keep the starter refrigerated and stir the starter every 3-4 days and refresh it every 10-12 days by throwing out half of it and mixing in "equal amounts of flour and water."

Greenstein says, if you are going to refrigerate the sour for any length of time, keep it in a covered container in the refrigerator and float a layer of water over it. (I don't generally do the water cover trick.)

I hope this helps some one.

David

jimhaas3's picture
jimhaas3

Hi David: Jim again here.

You seem to have a good knowledge foundation on the rye starters. Maybe you can help me (and the rest of us at AgroEast Baking & Milling Co.) with the following:

We are searching for variations to the 3-Stage Detmolder technique for our sourdough rye with caraway seeds. We've seen the odd reference to a 2-Stage Detmolder but can not seem to get any details. This issue at this end is to find a variation that will fit with our production and logistics schedule; we need about 8-10 hrs between the final build and mixing the dough. The 3-Stage allows (if my memory doesn't fail me...) 5-6 hrs.

Will the 2-Stage help us? If you have some ideas on this please don't hesitate to share them with me (us!)

Cheers 

Jim Haas, Kyiv Ukraine

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I have several year's experience with rye starters, but I have never made a genuine Detmolder 3-stage (not to mention 2-stage). As I understand the Detmolder method, it is very precise as to temperature and time. I am much more informal. Yet, I think my rye breads are pretty good.

Please understand that I do not bake every day, and I do not bake sour rye breads every time I bake. As a consequence, my rye sour is kept in a 750 ml glass canning jar in my refrigerator in between. I may not feed it for 2 weeks at a time, sometimes less often.

So, when I want to bake a sour rye, I take about 250 gms of rye sour and mix it with an equal amount of water and enough rye flour to make a thick paste. I then cover the surface with rye flour, cover the bowl and leave at room temperature (about 27C) until the surface of the dry flour is widely spread. This is usually about 8 hours. I then repeat the feeding to double the volume. I may or may not feed the sour a third time before using it.

That is a very general description. If you want more detail, please ask.

By the way, there is at least one other person on TFL who is a professional baker with a lot of experience with rye, although it is New York "Jewish" sour rye. His name here is "nbicomputers." You might get more information from him.


David

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

What is the purpose? I know I've read the details about the rigid Detmolder schedule but really, what is the purpose of the three stage build. Will a two stage build give adequate results or will three stages make  a great deal more difference?


Do you use commercial yeast with your rye breads or rely only on your starter? I've noticed most rye recipes seem to include commercial yeast. I've omitted it on a few occasions and liked it both ways. Just more sour without the yeast.


Tracy

LindyD's picture
LindyD

From what I've read, Tracy, it's all about superb and complex flavor in a rye sourdough.  If  you have Mr. Hamelman's book, he details the Detmolder method at page 200.

The process involves three builds of a rye sourdough, each at a different (and very controlled) temperature and a different hydration, so that each build will reflect its particular taste characteristic.

The description of the final rye is mouth watering, but it's a process I could never attempt because of the strict temperature control needed.....not to mention immaculate technique.  The Mt. Everest of bread baking.

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Lindy gave a very good summary, and I second her suggestion to read what Hamelman has to say about it.


It does look formidable, but it's not that hard to achieve at home with a little effort. I made one of the Detmolder 3-stage ryes from Hamelman on one occasion. I controlled the temperature of fermentation by using my microwave oven, heating a mug of water in it to get the environment to the correct temperature. 


My usual rye baking routine is to go through 3 or more builds of my rye sour before mixing the final dough anyway, so the Detmolder procedure really wasn't significantly more work.


The resulting bread was outstanding. However, I can't say it was very much better than "Hansjoakim's Favorite 70% Rye," at least to my taste.


David

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

It's often said that breads made from the three-step method is less sour than equivalent one-step breads. This sounds pretty reasonable if you compare the different processes, their timings and temperature specifications. I can't say I'm able to distinguish the two however ;)


I usually bake my rye breads using a one-step sourdough build, but I always make sure that the starter is plenty active before I mix the full build. I usually don't use any commercial yeast in the final doughs, and I'm very pleased with the leavening capacity I get from my one-step sourdough builds.


If anyone's interested in technical details re: Detmolder builds, and understand a little German, make sure you check out the following .pdfs:


One-step method


Two-step method


Three-step method


As you can see from the temperatures and ripening times presented in section 1 of the three-step document, they're not that rigid.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

google's translations are really terrible, but I get the idea.
Thanks, Hans Joakim!

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Just ask if anything's unclear, and I'll see what I can do with my rusty German :)


PS: Teigausbeute (TA) is the same as baker's percentage total dough yield. E.g.: TA 250 = 100% flour + 150% water. Anstellgut or Anstellsauer translates to sourdough starter.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Enjoying the read and comparisons.  Using warm water in the mix can really bring out flavors.   I've noticed that when speeding up a ferment to be able to bake at a reasonable time.  Some of my rushed (8 hours) final ferments have been the tastiest.  


Interesting the first small innoculations.  I've got a rye starter with 10g starter to 100g water and 120g flour.  Ater reading the paper, I can easily let it sit out until tomorrow (18hrs) or whenever I want to throw a loaf together.  I could also refrigerate it for even later...  or easily turn it into a 3 step.  When it gets ripe, give it equal amounts of flour and make a soup.  Then after a few hours, mix up the rest of the flour.   Interesting how the added yeast is also used to compete with the sd for food and reduce the acid in the end dough... or did I read that wrong.


Did you ever happen to run across anything on retarding ryes?  Warnings even?


Mini

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Yes, I think aiming for proofing temps. right in the zone where the lactobacilli are most active result in tasty, aromatic loaves.


And yes, the wide time interval for using the one-step sourdough is really neat. No need to get up in the wee hours every saturday morning... ;)


I'm left wondering why Hamelman preferments so much of the rye flour in his formulas - check out the figure at the end of the one-step doc. I've found that my rye doughs are easier to handle (less sticky), exhibit a more aerated crumb and taste better when I follow the guidelines for amount of prefermented flour from the Merkblatt. Leaving out commercial yeast from the final dough doesn't prolong proofing times that much either (by roughly... 50% perhaps?), and I think the overall oven spring is better for pure sourdough ryes (i.e. without added commercial yeast).


I've never retarded my ryes... I've read warnings in Suas' book at least, not sure about what Hamelman says about it, but I'm sure Suas warns about retarding ryes. I bet it'd be alright to retard loaves with only modest rye amounts (at least if you're using high-gluten bread flours), but I'd be very cautious to retard loaves with a majority of rye flour. I would say that the high enzymatic activity, lots of available foodstuffs for yeast/bacteria and an overall low proofing tolerance of the dough would make the loaves overproof easily. It could work for firmer doughs, perhaps? What do you think?


Edit: Here are two more Merkblatts you might find interesting, Mini:


Berliner Kurzsauer


Monheimer Salzsauer

CarlSF's picture
CarlSF

When I did some volunteer work at a bakery in Germany last year, I never saw any of their rye breads go into a retarder.  I did see some wheat based brotchen or rolls (after they were shaped) go into a freezer.  I didn't have time to ask the master baker if he retarded any of his rye breads because I was busy working my butt off.  Boy...those bakers can really work!


I remember from my earlier baking classes that the instructor said breads that have a higher precentage of rye cannot be retarded because rye has very little gluten.  Perhaps a bread with a smaller percentage of rye can be retarded?  And like Hans indicated...rye has a high mineral content.  Also, rye needs to be acidified, so it can have structure.  That's where the rye sourdough comes in.  I have heard of some German bakeries making German rye sourdough breads without yeast, but the oven must be very hot to begin with...maybe close to 300 C.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

A ha!


Rye doesn't retard well and the final dough has a time limit.  Yeast added is to speed up the final step.  If the final step is short, then long preliminary steps must be done for a good sour flavor.


I like a long final step without added yeast, so I build up my starter somewhat differently from the 3 step method requiring added yeast.  I also find my final dough rising higher and better than when yeast is added.   The tables and Merkplatts make much more sense. 


I haven't used a proofing box yet.  Some things can be done to speed up or slow down the fermentation without too much play on temperature.  Uses of high and low hydration and salt and lack of it can also be used.   Souring more rye first before the wheat for example can also be used to speed up fermenting process.  Rye ferments faster and imparts more sour and yeast to the wheat flour when it is added.  Stirring, loud music and resting on the washing machine/dryer also speed up fermentation.  So does sitting the dough in the sun.   Application of these ideas make for interesting recipe directions. 


Mini

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

read something wrong.    

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

so the one-stage is made at ~90% hydratation, at 26 degrees for 16 hours? I mean:

sd: 10%
flour 100%
water 90% (200-100-10)

Thanks.

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Hmm... I'm not sure if the starter should be included in the total dough yield (since you often assume that some ripe sourdough is removed to perpetuate the culture). Either way, the SD starter also contributes to the net hydration, so, assuming the same hydration for the starter as for the sourdough you're preparing, the total hydration is 100% for TA 200.

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I think I only skimmed that page because I had no way of doing this without a controlled proofing environment. I've actually read about it a couple of times. The strict temperature control developing different parts of the sourdough bacterias at different times.


Anyone who's done side by side comparisions, I'd love to know their reviews!


Someday, I'll get my engineer husband to rig me up a proofing box with thermostat and maybe I'll give the three stage process a try to see what it gives me.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

 


If I remember correctly the description of the 2-stage Detmolder process was on sourdough.com.


I implemented it even more often than the 3-stage because for my maintainance habits it makes much more sense.


The first stage (150% hydratation) is simply skipped -it makes sense because the yeasts are always soooo happy and lively in my rye starter. The second stage (66% hydratation) is unchanged, but it lasts 18 hours rather than 24 according to that page. The third stage (90% hudratation) is identical, too, but lasts 3-4 hours.


 


EDIT. The description I found is here:


http://sourdough.com/forum/re-rye-flour-and-starter


I don't know if and how it's reliable, but it works, at least for a home baker (of course removing every single mention to wheat in the final dough...).


 


I didn't feel nor see any difference between a 2-stage and a 3-stage.

Liam's picture
Liam

Hi David


T'anks for the recipe.  I haven't used it yet, but I will follow your advice.  when I do I will let you know.


L


When you are boiling potatoes, throw a little butter in the water.  It stops them from boiling over when uncovered even slightly.

Ricko's picture
Ricko

I made this bread per David's weights and it came out great. Thanks David for going the extra mile on this one.


Rick

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

cararose1977's picture
cararose1977

Hello,


I am in the process of fusing a Sourdough Bagel Recipe, my own method of making plain bagels, and your Pumpernickel Bread recipe. The Bagel recipe calls for 90% hydration starter. I understand the percentages... if I am working from a 100% hydration starter, do I just adjust the percentages during a few feedings?


Thank you


Cara

Stargaret's picture
Stargaret

DMSnyder's adaptation of Greenstein's Rye Sour:There are 3 "stages" to make a sour ready to use in a rye bread recipe. Must I convert white sour to rye sour before doing the 3 "stages?" Thanks for all your help; I took a break from making this wonderful bread and didn't keep up with the rye sour, so I'm wondering if I have to convert to rye first. Margaret
dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If you use your wheat starter in Stage 1, by time you are at Stage 3, your will have accomplished the conversion.

Happy Baking!

David

Stargaret's picture
Stargaret

Good Morning David,

I refrigerated Stage 3 during the day so that I could leave it out overnight to rise and be ready to bake in the a.m.  My starter stages usually take a while longer in my air conditioned home (70 at night).  It hadn't doubled 12 hrs. later, so I put it outside, where it is warmer.  15 hours later and it has still not doubled.  I see bubble holes and can see that it has risen somewhat (maybe by 1/2, 3/4).  I used Stone Ground Hodgson Mill Rye in the last build...might that slow things down?

Any suggestions, comments?  Not sure how long I should wait, or if I should even proceed.

I hope you are having a good, lox and pastrami-filled Labor Day.

Margaret 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

With rye sours and liquid levains, for that matter, doubling of volume as a measure of full fermentation is worthless. Lose it! Please re-read my initial post in this topic. Sprinkle the surface of your just-mixed sour with dry rye flour. Use spreading of the dry flour into "islands" as the measure of fermentation. From your description, your sour is probably ripe, if not over-fermented. Your rye flour sounds great.

I often refrigerate the stage 3 rye sour, but I do it after it has matured. In theory, what you did should be better. Once a sour/levain has been cooled to 40 dF, it may take 2 to 3 hours to get really active once it has been moved to a 70+ dF environment. If I have refrigerated the sour, I use warm (80-90 dF) water to mix the final dough.

David

Stargaret's picture
Stargaret

David,

Again I thank you for your inspiration and kindness.  

"With rye sours and liquid levains, for that matter, doubling of volume as a measure of full fermentation is worthless. Lose it!"

Very interesting, glad to know that.   I thought I had to convert from wheat first and then do the 3 stages until I asked and by that time I missed sprinkling the surface until stage 2, and then did it after the fact.

These loaves came out the best yet, had the best rise.  I find that I'm hesitant to really "shape" the delicate dough because it deflates so easily; I just kind of smooth it around.  Next time I'm going to make one big one so I don't have to halve (and deflate) it.  At least my body doesn't go rigid with tension when I handle the icky sticky dough and steam the oven...this was all very new to me and a difficult recipe to tackle.  I think I'm finally getting the hang of it!

No matter what I ever did, though, the bread was always fantastic!

Margaret

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi,

I'm glad you are enjoying the rye. You will get more comfortable with the dough with experience. (Just wait until you try a German-style 90% rye!) In the meantime, many find that keeping a bowl of water nearby and wetting their hands frequently while handling rye bread dough makes it easier.

Happy baking!

David