The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Hamelman's Rye With Sunflower Seeds

jsk's picture

Hamelman's Rye With Sunflower Seeds

A few nights ago I made the rye with sunflower seeds from Hamelman's "Bread". Its is a 33% rye with 80% hydration (the rye includes a cracked rye soaker). The day I made the dough I immediately saw it was very very wet but I let it work in the mixer so I let it work in the mixer for 10-12 minutes instead of the 5 that Hamelman says. A huge mistake! The dough was over kneaded and like over kneaded rye dough, it went from wet and sticky to extremly wet and sticky! Anyway' I adedd a bit more flour and let it ferment for about 30 minutes then I folded the dough (another mistake) and let it ferment for half an hour more.

Eventually I manage to shape it int two nice batards and proofed and baked as written in the book.

The results were good after all. The crumb was not as open as I hoped so but it was very light and had a great bite to it due to the seeds and the cracked rye. The bread had a wonderful taste to it with a slight tang and some sweetness as well. Here are some photos:

And the crumb:


I have some experience with rye but still, I have much to learn. If I learned something from this baking is not to over knead rye doughs, not to fold them and to be gentle when handling them. Does anyone from you rye experts have other tips about handling rye? I'm sure a lot of members here would be glad to learn from your experience.

Happy baking to all of you!



Sedlmaierin's picture

I think your bread looks good. In my edition of the book the recipe is on page 229 and I calculate the total rye percentage at 36.7%-maybe if you only used 30% it would lead to an overly wet dough. I agree with what you said already,no overmixing,the gluten in the flour might be better developed through an autolyse. I have nothing else to add really..afterall it is only a 36.7% rye and therefore shouldn't give you too much trouble. Of course all the seeds will have quite an effect on the devloping gluten structure.

Looking forward to see what other members have to add!


ehanner's picture

Honestly I think you are being to hard on yourself. You made a few changes while handling the dough that look to me to be about right. The crumb looks as it would be expected for a 30% rye to me. I'd say---Nice Job!


SallyBR's picture

I am no expert, but first of all, your loaves look stunning!  The slashing is perfect!


as to the crumb, I don't think it could be much different with that amount of rye in the dough, so overall I think you need to accept the idea you did a GREAT JOB!



wally's picture

Great save!


dmsnyder's picture

Very nice loaves, Jonathan.

Remember that Hamelman's mixing times are for a commercial spiral mixer. You can pretty much double them for a home stand mixer, so you are okay there.

A 30-40% rye dough can benefit from stretch and folds to strengthen the gluten. It's a different story with a 70+% rye.

I think you did fine.


jsk's picture

Thanks guys.

I am a hard critic of myself. Eric, for some reason I rememberd that the rye percentage was 33% when it is indeed 36.7%. Anyway, in the dough itself I added the correct amount of rye.

Does anyone have tips for shaping rye loaves? I mean, how do you get maximum surface tention without ripping the dough?

Thanks again, you really improved my baking confidence!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I mean, how do you get maximum surface tention without ripping the dough?

Try shaping the loaf dough in the air with wet hands.  (Keep a bowl of water handy, big enough to blindly dip your whole hand into.)  Just keep tucking the bread under itself slowly and pinching it shut.   You can feel the stretching dough surface and observe when to stop.  37% is a fun amount and stretches nicely.   Nice crumb by the way!

Mini O

Cathryn K's picture
Cathryn K

Your rye flour woes seem to be a perfect recommendation to try the no-knead method. Take any no-knead recipe and substitute 2 C rye flour for 2C of AP.
You can also substitute buttermilk or yogurt for 1C of the water. I also add 1Tb. molasses and 2Tcaraway seeds. Then just let it rise, throw in a few S&Fs during a three hour rising time and bake in a 450'oven in a big pot ( I use cast iron Dutch oven - a 5qt. pot for a 6 1/2 C flour recipe). It comes out beautiful!