The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Reinhart's Rye Meteil from whole grain breads...

DanOMite's picture

Reinhart's Rye Meteil from whole grain breads...

Ok so heres my question guys and gals....I Recently bought some whole grain rye flour *bobs red bill* from Harry's Farmets market here in GA. I want to make the rye meteil which is less than 50% rye. The book only lists how to do it with a starter, but i'm not a fan of sourdough and want to do a biga. Would I be doing the biga like I would with the master formula except with rye? Or would I be doing it different. I apologise for me being a little on the dense side, but I'm a bit uncertain as to how I would do this.

I appreciate any and all help from anyone who can give me any tips or pointers.

thanks to everyone in advance, i love this place :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

"I'm a bit uncertain as to how I would do this."

How about the Rustic Bread Recipe in the left hand column under Favorite Recipes?

It's already calculated.  It's a tried and true recipe.  And you can play with the rye content. 


Mini O

hansjoakim's picture

hmm... i've never tried making a biga with rye flour. i'm not sure if such a pre-ferment would qualify as a biga or not.

academic questions aside, mini oven's suggestion is a good one. hamelman's rustic bread is a sure shot, and you can experiment with rye flour in the final dough in that recipe. that said, it would be an interesting idea to put together a pre-ferment with some rye in it. i've seen some "sourdough" recipes that call for a mix of rye, white flour, water and commercial yeast as a pre-ferment. that mix is supposed to sit for two-three days before being mixed with the final dough, giving the bread some sour taste to it. 

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, DoM.

Hmmm ... I refrigerate my all-rye sour. I cold-retard doughs which are a mix of wheat and rye flours. Some have a little baker's yeast added.

I think what I would try is to mix a portion (25-50%) of the total flour and water with a small amount (1/8-1/4 tsp) instant yeast and ferment it as you would a biga. I don't see why it shouldn't work.

But let us know how it works for you.


obrien1984's picture


I recall reading somewhere (perhaps in Reinhardt's book) that rye dough need the acidity of a sourdough starter in order to ferment properly. A "biga" might not be acidic enough.

Are you using Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads" book? If so, there is a recipe in the "Enriched dough" section for a rye metiel that uses a biga made with buttermilk, which apparently provides the necessary acidity.

I actually have some rye bread rising right now. I find it to be a particularly brutal dough: it's sticky, gooey, almost impossible to shape, and it actually tenderizes the skin on my hands a bit (maybe the acidity of the starter gives me a bit of a chemical burn over time?). However, the resulting bread is usually worth the effort. The best advice I received about rye dough is to avoid adding too much flour in order to counteract the stickiness. Since rye flour has a very low gluten content, it will never develop like a wheat dough, so it's not worth kneading it forever. 

If I'm incorrect about any of this, please let me know! 

Good luck!


DanOMite's picture

Yes the one that you mentioned in the "enriched dough" section called rye meteil is the one i'm referring to. Although it does tell you that YOU CAN make it with a biga, the problem is that it does not tell you HOW to make it with a biga. I do appreciate all your help though. My quesiton is, how do I do it WITH A BIGA.

Please don't think I intend any disrespect with my emphasis using capital letters. Its just there so my points clear.  I was rather shocked how they didn't list how to do it with a biga. I want to assume that its the same as the master whole wheat sandwich formula, but I'm not positive. I'd like to make this by this weekend. So if anyone can tell me how this would be done I would be very greatful.

Part of me wants to assume to follow the master formula but instead use buttermilk instead of water for the biga and to use whole rye instead of whole wheat

Sadly I'm not sure if this is correct.

hope to hear from you all soon

and i appreciate all the helpful tips from everyone, this place rocks so hard :)

hansjoakim's picture

there's another thread around on the same subject here:

i don't own the reinhart book myself, but perhaps some of windi's thoughts might be helpful?

CountryBoy: I also own WGB...on p. 116, Reinhart talks about using a biga in place of a starter in the margins of the Seigle recipe...he suggests you add 1/4 tsp ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to up the acidity...the Transitional Rye on p 119 uses a biga and yogurt.

I have no idea what a rye biga would be like...your fermentation times might be shorter than with wheat biga...and your loaf will definitely be denser and more compact. My suggestion would be to take a biga recipe from one of the other recipes in the book and simply substitiute it for the starter. Your % of biga will be less than it would have been with starter, but only by about 2 oz. The resulting loaf will be slightly smaller. If you have made other breads from this book, you know the texture Reinhart is after and you can adjust for hydration as you are making the final dough.