The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

rye sourdough - your opinions sought

buns of steel's picture
buns of steel

rye sourdough - your opinions sought

I've stopped keeping a rye sourdough due to the fact that I don't bake often enough with it.  So if I want a rye sourdough, I just seed one from my white starter and feed it with rye.


I would love your opinions as to feeding schedule, and what you think is appropriate and enough to convert it to a rye sourdough that's ready to go,  with enough sourness to do a proper rye, enough acidity to protect the dough from gummyness, etc...


BTW I'm using rye flour I grind myself from rye berries.


Thanks for your advice!



suave's picture

I do the same, when I need rye starter I refresh white with 1:4:4, 12 h at 70 C, 3-5 times.

Bushturkey's picture

I've got a white leaven and a rye leaven.

I started my rye leaven from my white one and kept refreshing with 100% rye. I'm aiming to "dilute out" the white flour from the rye leaven.

When I first started my rye leaven, it didn;t take long to get it to ferment. You can do 1 or 2 feeds per day. I read that if you can get it to double in volume within 12-24 hours, it should be active enough to make bread.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

To continue feeding a firm rye starter, remove 20g preferably from the middle, add 50g water and between 70g and 85g rye flour, work into a smooth ball, roll into rye flour and park into the refrigerator, can be used after 4 days and up to 2 weeks without problems. Remove a small portion (to build for higher hydration bread starter) and return to fridge. When low or 2 weeks is up, make another tennis ball and place into a clean container and refrigerate. Low maintainence very little to throw away. (cold storage:To keep longer add more flour and make it dryer but store in fridge, Bill does this and I do too. I've made it so dry that it barely holds together, it just can't be used for the first few weeks unless more water is added.)

I use this method for starting all my rye breads.

The basic process is this: the wee bit (20g) I take from the fridge is added to water and flour and allowed to sit out room temp until it sours, then more flour and water is added, then the rest of the recipe. Most recipes state the ratios to use. When a recipe asks for a 100% hydration starter, the first step with the 20g of firm starter has already taken place.

Say the recipe asks for 120g ripe starter 100% hydration. I divide that 120 roughly in half 60 + 60 and then think, do I want to save a little for the next loaf or put it all in? I mix 20g firm starter with 50g water and 50g rye flour then let it sour or mature for about 8 - 12 hours. I then have 120g starter for my recipe.

To convert a wheat starter 100% hydration to firm rye, I would take 50g starter and add 25g water and enough rye flour  to make a ball of dough that holds together easily and still maintains a ball shape for at least an hour.  Roll into rye flour and let sit inside a covered container, room temp /75°F/24°c  for 24 hours or when loostens and goes flatish and smells sour.  Then remove 30 g from the middle and add 50g water and 70 g rye and make another ball, let sit out 4 hours and then place into the refrigerator from 12 to 24 hours before using as a firm starter.     Remove 20g and refresh as written above.   The rest can be used to build for a recipe right away or kept cool and used in the next day or so.

Mini O

buns of steel's picture
buns of steel

Thanks Suave, bushturkey and Mini O for your valuable input!

Mini O that is very interesting! I will definitely try that - it will give me longer between bakes with rye starter.