The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

3-stage rye levain question

Cadrabkin's picture

3-stage rye levain question

I'm wondering at what point should one use a 3-stage rye levain instead of a one-stage? If I'm making a 60% rye (Hamelman's Black Bread with old bread soaker), is there an advantage to using the more complex levain? Or is it really only beneficial for the 70%+ loaves?

Filomatic's picture

I'd like to hear what people say.  In the meantime, please experiment and report back!

dmsnyder's picture

I have made rye breads using the orthodox 3-stage Detmolder method and just mixing a rye sour and fermenting it at room temperature, usually in 2 or 3 stages to build up sufficient volume of sour.

The difference in flavor profile is real but pretty subtle.

As I understand it, the purpose of the Detmolder method is to build a sour with a precise balance of yeast, and LAB-produced acetic and lactic acids. This is to achieve optimal leavening and the Detmolder Institute's idea of ideal flavor. And to be able to produce a very consistent product.

It's really not hard to achieve, if you have a proofing box with good temperature control, a not too hot kitchen and sufficient time flexibility.

I recommend trying it at least once to see what you think, but you can make delicious high-% rye breads without such precision.