The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

slow, cold fermentation of rye

kimemerson's picture
kimemerson

slow, cold fermentation of rye

Good day all,

I'm about to embark upon a mission of tackling rye bread for my first time. I've had great successes with other breads, so I'm not a total beginner. I am, however, with rye bread.

For all my other breads I do a long (12 hrs) slow, cold fermentation (store in the 'fridge). I've been reading Hamelman's "Bread" to get me started and he mentions a much shorter fermentation period, stating that rye doesn't need as much. Like, mere hours. 

One thing I like about the slow, cold fermentation is that it allows for schedule flexibility. A shorter period means having to do it all in one shot whereas with the slow, cold version I can make the dough today and bake tomorrow. 

Question: Is there anything wrong about slow, cold fermentations for the rye? All it does is retard the whole process, more or less, right? It buys time (aside from the flavor & strength development). So, is this ok?

Thanks

 

pintolaranja's picture
pintolaranja

I might be wrong but he tends to do some pre-fermentation, and also combine with extra yeast on the day of the mixing, that being the reason why it would take less time?

However, it might be the case that while waiting for longer enzimatic activity just goes sky high and combining it with long fermentation will lead to a more sour dough, probably too sour?

Not entirely sure. I'm actually waiting for a friend of mine to cut into a 100% rye bread I left fermenting overnight at ambient temperature and then a full day in the fridge to know how that went. The recipe called for discard sourdough starter only, so I used discard from my wheat starter on it. A bit scared, but will find out soon. The bread looks great though :)

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

I've baked a lot of rye and haven't had much problem either way.  Many times ive thrown it in the fridge just because something came up schedule-wise.  It usually doesn't miss a beat. I love hamelman's many rye recipes in that particular book.  Have fun! 

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

You are right to look to Hamelman.  His rye breads are fantastic.  Rye recipes develop quickly.  They generally have a rye sourdough (i.e., preferment/levain) that uses most or all of the rye in the recipe.  The rye sourdough is often a very high percentage of the overall flour in the recipe, which largely accounts for the speed of the fermentation of the final dough.

I also recall that he states that rye breads do not benefit from cold fermentation in the way that wheat recipes do.  For your time purposes, these breads can be knocked out quickly, given that most call for only 75-90 minutes needed for both bulk and final rise.  The preferment is an overnight process, somewhere between 12-16 hours.  Hope that helps.

kimemerson's picture
kimemerson

Quite helpful, thanks.

I bake in the morning. Done by about 11. So having to accommodate for shorter fermentation times and not overnight refrigerating means getting started earlier than I had hoped. I'll need to some adjustments, I can see.

Justanoldguy's picture
Justanoldguy

According to Ginsberg's Rye Baker rye doughs are vulnerable to what he calls "starch attack". The enzymes in rye, amylases, break down the starches that give rye breads their structure. The amylase degradation can be inhibited by the presence of lactic or other acids. A large percentage of his recipes involve the use of rye sours and he uses fairly quick fermentation times once the dough is mixed. You might want to check out the information he gives on the subject on pages 32-33 of his book if the recipes you'll be working with have a high percentage of rye and use yeast as the predominant leavening. This comes under the heading "I don't know but I've been told" because the highest percentage of rye that I've used in a recipe is 20% and was in the form of a rye starter. 

kimemerson's picture
kimemerson

It will probably be more like a 40% and a sourdough.

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

Hamelman also preaches the use of sourdough in his ryes due to their acidic activity which slows starch attack.  And that prevents a gummy crumb.  

kimemerson's picture
kimemerson

It's a sourdough I'm going for. Maybe at about 40%. Not sure yet.

 

ananda's picture
ananda

We retard our 40% rye breads and it works fine. They are sourdoughs.   It's when you get to 60+% that retarding ceases to be beneficial as rye contains no matrix-forming gluten and relies on pentozans which mesh together the starch molecules to trap gas into the paste and achieve some leavening.   These become very unstable late in proof and in the early stages of baking.   Hence why complex processes such as Detmolder are employed to build pastes with high percentage of rye.

Best wishes

Andy

kimemerson's picture
kimemerson

I sort of want to ease into rye and the Detmolder method seems a bit more than I care to get into right now. Eventually, I"m sure. But not yet. 

Still, good to know about the retarding of the 40%. Do you do a 12 hour cold fermentation?

David R's picture
David R

Maybe there are two ways of looking at that - yes the Detmold process is complicated, but it is specially designed to minimize the problems you'd tend to get.

Perhaps "Rye flour, water, salt" looks simple - but that doesn't make it easy.

ananda's picture
ananda

I think you need a clear picture of rye bread as a spectrum. You may be looking at 40% Rye as high proportion of rye flour, but some of us would think this is not the case.

There are several Detmolder methods, not just the 3-stage one used in the Hamelman formulae. So you can simplify to help you to "ease into" this.

Hamelman's formulae using the 3-stage Detmolder are all for use of rye flour at or in  excess of 70%. There is a massive difference between making sourdough rye bread with 40% rye flour and 70% rye flour.

For reference we use an 18 hour sour using whole rye flour @ 80% hydration.   The flour in the sour is 25% of total flour and we make it up in the dough to 100% with 60% Manitoba Very Strong White Flour and 15% Light Rye, Type 997. After a couple of hours bulk-proof we scale, divide and shape into bannetons and retard at 5*C for between 12 to 20 hours.

Andy

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Good to hear from you again, Andy.  I hope all is well with you and your bakery. 

Paul

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Paul, thank you for your greeting.

All is well, the bakery is finally becoming the established business I believed it could and should be with 2 full-time bakers plus me.

Best wishes

Andy

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

stiffer as the temperature drops, about two to three °C difference when compared to wheat. That translates into less expansion in a refrigerator depending upon the proportion of rye flour.  

Great for refrigerated 100% rye starters as they rarely expand like a wheat starter saving space, use a smaller starter jar.  The yeast are still there but the matrix becomes brittle and cracks, the gas escapes.  So you can see what will happen with a pure rye loaf.  Add wheat into the dough or raise the temperature and it is possible to retard a loaf.  So, taking this in, expansion of a cold rye starter's fermentation and maturity should be judged by other qualities than volume:  degree of fermentation when placed into the fridge, fridge temp., taste, quick lifting of the starter surface with a fork,  any separation or discoloration,  a look at any bubbles trapped on sides or bottom, and the aroma of warmed up starter.