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Revisiting Czech Rye and Butterflys

Franko's picture

Revisiting Czech Rye and Butterflys

50% Rye with 3 Stage Sour

 These latest bakes brought me back to trying to reproduce a Czech Rye I'd had in Prague two summers ago, which I first posted on back in December 2012. 

The loaf from that bake turned out well and had great flavour but it didn't have the spongy, small celled, uniform crumb that I'd found so appealing in the bread I'd had that warm Summer afternoon in Prague. Amongst the many responses I received on that post, two of them were from members who live in the Czech Republic, catch_up or Ales, and ouhrabko or Zuzka, both of whom kindly shared their local knowledge with me on the type of bread I was trying to make. One of several ideas that Ales suggested was to use a 3 stage sour for the leaven and a 50-50 mix of rye and strong wheat flour to achieve the smooth crumb characteristics of this particular type of Czech Rye. The formula that I came up with utilizes a 3 stage sour but when it came time to do the final mix on this first loaf I realized I only had enough light rye left to make a 40% mix. Rather than run up to the store for more rye flour I quickly adjusted the formula to work with the flour I had available. The wheat flour I used is a B.C. milled flour from Rogers, one they call "Best for Bread" and the flour I typically use when making rye bread because of it's high gluten strength. Unfortunately I forgot to follow Ale's advice on keeping the hydration level in the mid to high 60% range, instead going with a 77% hydration. I've become so accustomed to pushing the water content in rye breads because of the way rye flour sucks it up, I neglected to take into account how this would work against the type of crumb I wanted for the bread. If I'd been going for some other type of medium ratio rye bread the crumb result from this loaf would be just fine with me and from the perspective of eating quality it still is, however I was somewhat disappointed when I took the first slice. Instead of seeing something like this,

I wound up with this.

The bread tasted great, with a good chew to it, flavourful crust, and other than the fact it wasn't what I intended it was perfectly acceptable. Well fine I thought, it could be worse and at least I've got a decent bread to eat while I adjust and plan for the next bake.

Scheduling a 3 stage sour is a bit of a trick for me during working days but it can be done on the one day of the week that I work a short 5 hour shift. By the time I get home from work the sour has had it's 15 hour 2nd stage, and 3-4 hours after that the 3rd stage is complete and it's ready for the final mix. 

The 3 stage sour was built based on Hamelman's ratios and times for the Detmolder Method described in “Bread” pg-204 for his Three Stage 80% Sourdough Rye. The results from the first loaf were excellent in terms of leavening power and the flavour contribution hit all the right notes for me with just the right level of sour I remember from the bread I'd had in Prague. Nothing to change there but I decided this time to use a different combination of flours than I used on the previous loaf. In one of our local supermarkets bulk section they have what they call a high gluten flour that I believe is meant for using with bread machines. There's nothing saying what the gluten content actually is but having used it 2 or 3 times in the past I know it's pretty strong stuff. My hope was that the extra boost of gluten would help give the dough a tighter, smoother texture, but knew I needed to be careful with the amount as well to avoid giving the crumb a rubbery texture. With the new formula I kept the high gluten flour to an overall 15.5 %, which was pure speculation on my part I admit, but it seemed like a relatively safe amount to go with. As it turned out I wasn't horribly wrong, in fact it was well in the ballpark for the crumb texture I was aiming for, a smooth, uniform crumb along with a spongy texture to soak up meat juices. The meat I had in mind would be a ham slow cooked over a wood fire, similar to the one I'd had in Prague that's mentioned in the original post.

This bread is slightly more tangy than the first, accentuated by the lower hydration perhaps or the sour itself, I'm not sure. Both sours were identical in proportions and fermentation times before including in the final mix, however the second loaf did have a 30 minute longer bulk fermentation than the first loaf and this may account for the increase as well. Whatever the reason, the flavour is very good and no complaints from me whatsoever. The only thing I will change on the next bake is lowering the high gluten flour percentage to 10% to try and open up the crumb just a bit more. Other than that I feel this bread is a close cousin to the bread I had in Prague two summers ago.

50% Czech Rye Bread with 3 Stage Sour%Kilos/Grams
Light/Medium Rye Flour100.00%3.51
Mature Rye Starter -100%50.00%1.75
Total weight300.00%11
% of full Sour3.24% 
DDT- 77-79F 5-6 hrs  
Basic Sour  
Light/ Medium Rye Flour100%43.86
Freshening Sour24%10.53
Total weight200.00%88
% of full Sour27.02% 
DDT 73-80F 15-hrs  
Full Sour  
Light/ Medium Rye Flour100.00%118.43
Basic Sour74.10%87.76
Total weight274.10%324.61
DDT 85F 3-4hrs  
Enter desired final weight in yellow cell 1000
Final Dough  
Bread Flour62.00%201
Hi Gluten Flour28.00%91
Light/Medium Rye Flour38.66%125
Sea Salt3.10%10
Total weight308.06%1000
DDT—80-84F BF-90-120 minutes  
Final Proof—80-F 45-55 minutes  
Overall Formula Kilos/Grams
Total Flour100.00%584.31
Bread Flour34.44%201.26
Hi Gluten Flour15.56%90.89
Light/Medium Rye Flour50.00%292.16
Sea Salt1.72%10.06
Total weight171.13%999.95
Total Prefermented Flour28.52%166.67

Link to scalable formula *HERE*

Link to procedure *HERE* 


While I was waiting for the bread to ferment I remembered that I had a piece of puff pastry sitting in the freezer from several weeks before and decided I might as well use it up. When it comes to puff pastry I don't need much of an excuse to do something with it as it's long been a favourite of mine to work with. It's incredibly versatile for savoury or sweet items, enjoyable to make if you like using a rolling pin, and most importantly it tastes fantastic. If my conscience allowed I'd have it more often than I do. 

The recipe I've been using for the last year is one using the inverse method of lamination I found on Chef Eddy Van Damme's site *here* Inverse puff pastry had always seemed a bit daunting to me in that one laminates the the butter over the dough, rather than enclosing the butter block in the dough then rolling and folding the butter in. I've discovered that inverse puff isn't any more difficult to make than the standard version as long as I'm careful with the temperatures of the dough and butter block, keeping the dough in the 55F-60F range and the butter block slightly colder in the 50-55F range, the aim being to have both components at roughly the same level of consistency for easy laminating. The butter that I use is a local product that's available in the supermarket, not the European style butter that Chef Eddy recommends. Because of the local butter's high water content it needs to be mixed with 40% flour first before shaping into the block prior to laminating. The piece of puff I had wasn't very large but I thought I had enough to make a dozen +/- butterfly cookies or papillons, something I haven't made in ages, requiring a look at Healy & Bugat's “Mastering the Art of French Pastry” to refresh my memory on the procedure.

Procedure as follows: 

Dust the work surface and the pastry generously with sugar and give the dough two turns/ single folds and rest it for 30 minutes in the fridge. 

Roll the dough out to a 6” width and a whatever length you like rectangle, and to a thickness of 3/16ths on a sugar dusted counter to keep the dough from sticking. 

Trim the edges so that the dough is square on all corners then cut the dough in three equal size squares. If the dough is a little short to divide equally just roll it out till it's the right size.

With a rolling pin press down on the center of one square to form an indentation along the length of it. Brush the indent with beaten egg and stack the 2nd square on top, repeating the indentation and brushing with egg. Finally add the last square and indent it but don't brush with egg. Lightly roll along the stacks length to seal the stack and trim with a sharp knife if necessary to square it up on all sides. 

Place the stack in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest. After resting cut the stack perpendicular to the indentation in 1/2” strips. Pinch the center of each strip together and holding each end give it a half twist. Place the strip on a parchment lined baking sheet and press the center of the strip onto the paper. Gently spread the 3 strips on each side apart equally and repeat the procedure for the remaining cookies, spacing them 3” apart. Rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.

Note: oven temperatures and times will vary per individual ovens. 

For baking, the recommended temperature from the book is preheat to 425F and lower to 400F after the cookies have gone in the oven. The first batch I baked over-caramelized and were too dark, still quite edible but not attractive. For the second batch I lowered the preheat to 385F and then 365F once the cookies were in. After 10 minutes check the cookies for colour, rotate the pan and continue baking for 8-10 minutes, checking the colour frequently. When the colour becomes medium golden and the cookies have partially set, flip the cookies over with a spatula and continue baking until the sugar is evenly caramelized and the pastry is baked through. Remove to a wire rack and cool thoroughly.

Crunchy, buttery, and sweet with caramel I wouldn't have had any problem eating them all myself. My conscience prevailed however and I took most of them over to our son and daughter in-law's to share. Being the busy new parents that they are they don't get too much time to bake for themselves and the Papillons were happily received by them both. Our Grandson isn't quite ready to start eating puff pastry yet, much as he'd be willing to try, but I'm looking forward to the time when he and I can have a day in the kitchen and do some baking together. 

Best wishes to all and a Happy Easter,



dmsnyder's picture


Franko's picture

Thank you David!


Janetcook's picture

Hi Franko,

 Love the papillons!

Thanks for the rye formula.  I will have to give it a try and because of your notes....I will pay attention to the HL.  The crumb looks much like the deli rye I bake and it has a low HL so I can use that as a guide.

Not sure if you have Stan and Norm's book ITJB but they have a 3 stage rye sour build that is a lot easier to follow than the one in Bread....It is now my all time favorite sour to make due to how easy it is to do and how it fits comfortably into a busy schedule.

Take Care,



Franko's picture

Hi Janet,

Thanks so much and happy you liked the papillons!

I don't have ITJB yet but it's #1 on my list. Just around the time it came out I imposed a moratorium on baking books for myself since I'm almost out of room on my bookshelf and haven't figured out how or where I could squeeze another one into my study. Something will have to go but haven't decided what I'm willing to part with. The sour you mention sounds like just the thing. How long does it take from start to finish?



hansjoakim's picture

Great to see that after tweaking and experimenting, you ended up with a bread that's very close to your target, Franko. It looks wonderful. Now, this is probably what Hamelman is aiming for in terms of crumb and eating quality for many of his rye breads in "Bread", as they're also in the 68%-70% ballpark. As yourself, I've been persuaded that the more water the dough can take, the better, thus ending up with between 75% and 80% for typically mixed rye-wheat breads. By the looks of it, this would be perfect to spoon up meat juices from a slow cooked ham (care to snap a photo of the goodness as it's cooking?).

I've never tried inverted puff or butterflies, Franko, so thanks so much for the tips! Just the thought of inverting butter and dough has me shaking with anxiousness... You pulled it off wonderfully, though. 3-stage Detmolder and inverted puff in one and the same blog post; that's pretty much next level, Franko :o)

Franko's picture

Thanks Hans!

Yes, it was one of those smack your forehead moments when I realized what I'd done regarding the hydration on the 1st loaf, but at least it didn't go to waste. Bake and learn as always. The slow cooked ham I haven't gotten around to yet Hans but I'll be sure to get some photos when I do and post them or send them on to you. I know exactly what you mean about the inverted puff causing anxiety at first but it becomes a non-issue pretty quickly. If the dough and butter are the right temp, once the first two turns are made it's like any other puff to roll, maybe even easier. :^)

Many thanks Hans, all the best.



isand66's picture

Great post Franco.  Thanks for sharing your experience with us.  Looks like you came close to what you were looking for.  

Your butterflies look amazing.  So what is the purpose of the inverted lamination method.



Franko's picture

Thanks for the nice comments on the post Ian, greatly appreciated!

The purpose or benefit of the inverse method is mainly texture. The pastry bakes lighter and flakier and has a better mouthfeel than others I've tried. Maybe it's my imagination but it also seems to have a more pronounced butter flavour than a standard method puff pastry.

Mebake's picture

Good 2nd round, Franko! The Czech Rye bread looks very attractive, and so are the puff butterflies. 

Inspiring efforts!

Franko's picture

Hi Khalid,

Thanks very much, and here's hopeing round 3 will be a decisive victory.

All the best,


AdelK's picture

Beautiful! I've never seen puff pastry butterflies before so thanks for introducing me to this innovative way of using puff pastry. I'm definitely going to give this a go soon!

Franko's picture

Thanks AdelK, very kind of you!

There are so many things you can do with puff pastry, the list is huge, but papillons and palmiers are two that I've always enjoyed making...and eating. I hope you do as well.



SylviaH's picture

I especially love the papillon's.. I have a mixed breed one :)

 Seriously, I love the shaping and will use it on my to do list.

I've only made puff pastry once.  I used D.Dumuzio's formula and was quite surprised what a nice puff you get without the use of any type of yeast.  I've been meaning to do more puff pastry practice and you are pushing my buttons for more butter consumption!

Have a Beautiful Easter!


Franko's picture

Hi Sylvia,

Do you still have some of that Plugra butter around? If so, this is a good way to use it up. I have looked all over the place here on the Island for something like it, but nothing so far has come close to it's high butterfat and low water content that make it ideal for laminated pastry and Viennoiserie. I have no doubt Sylvia that once you get into making puff pastry we're going to see even more delicious looking food posted on your blog. I for one can't wait! 

Hope you and you and your family have a lovely Easter as well.

Best Wishes,


breadsong's picture

Hi Franko,
What beautiful Papillons, these pastry butterflies such a lovely thing to bake for Spring!
"Crunchy, buttery, sweet with caramel" - who wouldn't love that?
And your wonderful rye bread, the taste of which must have brought back many happy memories of your summertime visit to Prague.
:^) breadsong

Franko's picture

Dear breadsong,

Please accept my apologies for forgetting to reply to your kind comments regarding the rye bread and papillons. If LindyD hadn't jogged my memory I might never have remembered, so sorry ! :^(

Marie leaves for Prague in another few weeks and I'll join her a few weeks after that so she and I will have another, and longer opportunity to explore the city this time and make some brand new memories.