The Fresh Loaf

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100% rye bread?

breadinquito's picture

100% rye bread?

Hi all, friday a aunt will be visiting us from Italy and bring some rye's my very first experience with rye cause in Ecuador have not found so...what do you suggest: 100% rye or a mix with plain flour? How "strong" is rye bread compared with a "white bread"?

Thanks for any advice and happy baking from quito. Paolo


nicodvb's picture


you can consider rye flour as totally without gluten: even though it's not gluten-free it behaves as such. When you add rye flour in large percentages the dough becomes extremely sticky and loses elasticity, a real pain to knead (it has to be treated in a completely different manner).


Hard to give you an advise: many people (like me) eat only 100% rye bread, but others strongly dislike it. You should try one of the many recipes available here and decide yourself. I don't like mixed breads, they taste next to nothing to me.


Rye breads have a taste that is partly sweetish and partly fermented, depending on the tye of bread one part dominates on the other. I don't use the word "sour" because it I find it misleading: "fermented" describes much better the taste I feel.


Yerffej's picture


The important thing to know is that bread made with all wheat and bread made with all rye are two entirely different products....different techniques, different recipes, different worlds !

Using all rye is a completely unique process and it does not act like wheat.  Calling rye "mud" when compared with wheat is not far from fact.

I would suggest that you start by using a small amount of rye in a wheat recipe.  Use no more than 20% rye in a recipe and you will enjoy the great flavor that rye can bring to wheat bread without encountering all the difficulties rye can bring in higher percentages.  That should be a good start to your rye journey.


ananda's picture

Hi Paolo,

Rye does not have gluten such as that found in wheat, which forms into chains when hydrated, thus giving elasticity to the dough structure.   It does have reasonable protein content, as well as fibre, and starch; therefore it takes up plenty of water to form a paste for a moist and tasty loaf.

Regarding all other matters rye, I strongly recommend you have a good look round the site.   I've posted numerous times on my blog about rye, and have found the response from several committed TFL members to have generated some of the most stimulating bread discussions I've enjoyed anywhere.   There are many I could mention.   Nico is already in here.   Check out mini oven, shiao-ping and ehanner.  There are others besides.

You may want to make a mixed loaf to familiarise yourself with rye.   But you may want to have a go at a "high rye" bread too.   All I can do is enmcourage you to get in there with rye...and enjoy the mud!!!   It is NOTHING like wheat!

All good wishes


txfarmer's picture

I highly recommend Jeffrey Hamelman's book "Bread", its rye chapter got me started and hooked on rye breads. It consists of breads with rye ratio from 40%- to 100%, I went from lower ratio to higher, gaining incredible knowledge and insights with each bread I make.


Like others have said, it's like mud, and you want it that way.

breadinquito's picture

Hi all, thanks for the advices really seems to be a new world! I' m looking forward to receive the rye and try all the tricks...promise pics as soon as I bake it!! Happy baking from Quito!! Paolo

hanseata's picture

To start baking with rye flour I would also suggest trying a mixed wheat/rye bread first. Though it is NOT true that rye flour doesn't contain any gluten (after all, it is a member of the wheat family), it has much less than wheat and therefore handles and performs different.

If a bread contains no more than 10% rye flour, you will not notice much difference at all (except in the taste). In my experience you can go up to about 37% rye and it still will feel and perform pretty much like wheat dough.

Doughs containing more than 37% of rye feel more and more like handling clay, they are heavy and sticky, and you cannot use the dough hook for (machine) kneading any more, only the paddle. You also have to be careful not to overmix such a rye dough, if you work it too long, you will notice that the little bit of gluten development you achieved vanishes and the dough becomes gooey.

For breads containing smaller amounts of rye you can use commercial yeast, you will need a sourdough starter for breads with higher rye content.

dmsnyder's picture

Doughs containing more than 37% of rye feel more and more like handling clay, they are heavy and sticky, and you cannot use the dough hook for (machine) kneading any more, only the paddle.

I didn't know that! All these years, I've been mixing my 40-80% rye doughs with the dough hook on my KitchenAid. I've never before heard this was forbidden or impossible ... whichever "cannot" means, in this case.

I do mix for shorter times with these doughs than I would a 90% wheat flour dough, but, at least with 40% rye, I go for some discernible gluten development.

Since I don't recall reading anything about this no-dough hook rule before, I'd appreciate more information about it, Hanseata.

Thanks in advance.


hanseata's picture


This is just my experience with kneading higher percentage rye doughs in stand mixers. Maybe you have an older (and better working) Kitchen Aid than I do, or my four minutes mixing is, indeed, too long.

I have to mix batches of four to six breads at a time - so hand kneading (which I did in the beginning when I didn't yet have a professional mixer) is not an option (if I want to have a life). My 20-quart Hobart's speed is, even at lowest setting, still pretty high, and in no time the dough sticks to the wall with the hook running empty in the middle of the bowl.

But I made the same experience with my smaller mixers at lower speed, therefore I always use the paddle for kneading. That works very well.

How long are you kneading your dough?



ananda's picture

Hi Hanseta,

I realise from your post that my comment is a little ambiguous, and apologise for this.   It is true that the gluten in rye does not form into chains to give elasticity.   But you are quite right that rye still has a gluten content, as I am well aware, but did not make at all clear above.   Sorry for any confusion


hanseata's picture

Andy, you are an expert whose comments and advice I really appreciate!

Sometimes I have a bit of a "know-it-all-tendency"...


breadinquito's picture

Hi all, I hear that if I use a large percentage of rye even with a stand mixer will be difficult to knead...I 've always been kneading by hand! Any suggestion? See you soon and thanks again...Paolo

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

decreases.   So there really isn't much kneading at 70% and less at 80%.   At 100% it is just mixing to wet the flour, a fold after about an hour, and a wet folds to shape.  Practically kneadless.