The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pure Sourdough Russian Rye - does this look right?

txfarmer's picture

Pure Sourdough Russian Rye - does this look right?

I am experimenting with 100% Rye breads. The first one I tried was 1939 Rye Shiao-Ping posted about, it came out very flat and dense:

Just as I was about to give up, I tried a piece, the rich flavor was stunning, if this is how a "failed" loaf tastes like, how good would a good loaf taste?! Now I have to get it right! Next I tried the basic Russian Rye recipe from "Bread Matters", wow, it was all sorts of wrong. Too much water, way over proofed, gummy, yuck, that one went to trash. After that I poured over rye bread posts on TFL, especially the ones from Mini Oven (I want to print and frame the crumb picture of her favorite pure rye), Andy, and a few other rye experts here. Andy was kind enough to give me some tips, and encouraged me to try his recipe here. I gave it a try, scaled to 1000g, baked in a 6inX6in cake pan:



Not being experienced in pure rye breads, I am wondering whether this looks right, I mostly have two concerns:

1. The batter ("batter" is more fitting than dough in this case ;)) filled the pan exactly half full


No bulk rise, just one rise for 1.5 hours @ 75F, and it got to 75 to 80% full. No little broken bubbles on the surface as Mini warned, I don't think it's over proofed.

BUT, I go very little oven spring, the top didn't sag down like the last attempt where I definitely did over proof, but it didn't exactly dome or grow much

So whast's going on? Should I have baked it sooner? I baked it @460F for 15min, then 410F for 45min.


2. Does the crumb look "right"? It looks tight to me. I know rye breads are dense, but comparing to Mini's pure rye bread picture, I am wondering whether it could be a bit more open. If so what should I change?


Any advices and suggestion are greatly appreiated. Hope Andy/Mini/Other rye experts would see this.

ananda's picture

Hi txfarmer,

Further to my message, try looking here:

Not the same loaves, but maybe give you a better idea about the tin shape



txfarmer's picture

I indeed have one of those pullman pan, but was hesitate to use it since I am experimenting and the loaf would be too huge, but now I think I will use the mini pullman pan I mentioned in PM. Will report back! Thanks a lot for your patience and advices! :)

Yerffej's picture

Your rye looks great.  I would use a more traditional bread pan but there is nothing wrong with what you did.  The flavor of 100% rye is simply intoxicating and I would recommend that anyone who has not had 100% rye give it a try.


txfarmer's picture

Since I am Chinese, I didn't grow up eating this style of bread, but I loved it almost immediately. My husband is a bit more resistant, but he will come around. ;)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The first one's crumb looks perfect!  No way near "failed." 

Looks to me like the panned loaf gave you the shape you shaped for.  The dough (batter) was spread evenly across the pan sides and the loaf has a nice uniform flat, slightly domed (not sunken) shape. 

If you want it more domed and rounded, try putting it into the form round shaped, not touching the sides, let the dough rise to fill in the spaces.  Shaping can also be done with the wet spatula or scraper making a gap between the dough and the pan all around.  Work or press the dough into a domed shape moving it up and smooth it out. (Like frosting a rolled cake.)

From the short rise times, I'm guessing there is added yeast.  When you're up to it, try it without and give your sourdough a longer rise time.  I find it is easier to control (but that's me) and the rise is more gentle and fuller.

You did Good!  (lots of stars here!)  :)



txfarmer's picture

Your expert opinion is the same as Andy's - the key is in the pan/tin I see. I thought the failry small cross section of a 6inch square tin would be enough for the loaf to dome, I guess not. I will try a long narrow pullman style pan next time. Your shaping tip is great, I never thought to leave a gap between the loaf and the tin. 

Actually this one doesn't have any instant yeast - all sourdough, but since the starter ratio is high, and my rye starter is very VERY active, the rise time is short. I read from your post that you keep the starter ratio much lower in your loaf, I will try that later when I have a better feel of the dough/batter.

nicodvb's picture

the first one has a very nice crumb, indeed! Maybe if you didn't press it even the bottom could rise a little more, maybe...

txfarmer's picture

Making 100% rye free form is difficult, my goal is to get the tin loaves down first, then work on that first formula again, I really do love that taste.

Mebake's picture

Looks great to me! I'am with mini on pure leaven.

bpezzell's picture

I personally would be proud of the first loaf. Looks good. Second loaf as well. Might be nice in a pullman loaf pan.

arlo's picture

I'd say both those loaves look right on target. Can't wait to see the pullman style.