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Hamelman's Vollkornbrot recipe

Uberkermit's picture

Hamelman's Vollkornbrot recipe

Hi folks,

I am in the process of trying out Jeffrey Hamelman's recipe for Vollkornbrot, prompted by a German friend's whining about the lack of real rye bread in this country. In the process, I came across a mistake in the recipe for preparing the sourdough starter. The starter recipe as printed (Hamelman, 2004; p. 217) calls for 3 5/8 cups of rye meal, 5/8 cups water, and 2T + 1stp mature sourdough culture. However, if you prepare this you will end up with dry crumbles of rye flour, definitely not a viable starter.

The correct recipe should read 1 5/8 cups of water, which works out to 13oz. The recipe does list the correct measurement in ounces, but being naive, I still work with volume measurements. I guess that will show me.


Kind regards,



Hamelman, J. 2004. Bread: A baker's book of techniques and recipes.

JMonkey's picture

Hey! Good catch. And let us know how the bake goes -- I'm planning on making a pumpernickel this weekend based in large part on his recipe for Horst's Black Bread, with the main difference being that I intend to eliminate the wheat and replace it with whole rye. I'll also up the hydration from 75% to abouot 80%, I think, to account for the extra whole rye.

Anyway, looking forward to hearing what you end up with.

Uberkermit's picture


 Let me know what you find. I checked my copy and I have the first edition, second printing (You can tell the printing # by looking at the copyright page. At the bottom you should see a sequence of decreasing numbers, e.g. 10 9 8 7 ...  The lowest number should be the printing).


Uberkermit's picture

Having not worked with rye much before this, I'm not sure exactly how it should look, but here's how it does look:



Overall formula:

Whole rye flour: 100%
Sunflower seeds: ~8%
Water: ~82%
Salt: 2%
Yeast: 1.8%


60% of the flour went into the sourdough starter. I used Hodgson Mill whole grain rye flour in place of rye meal, as its the only thing I can locate around here (Troy, NY). The book recipe also called for a rye chop soaker, which I skipped entirely and replaced with some extra water and more sunflower seeds. No clue how the crumb or taste will turn out, since I'm supposed to wait 24-48(!) hours before slicing into this sucker. I can tell you though that if I were blindfolded I might mistake it for a rather nice smelling brick. Though from what I gather, density is a good thing with this kind of bread.

Next report I'll pass along what my German friend/critic thinks.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

very good!  I don't know if could wait 24 hours.  Putting it in a form was a good idea.   --Mini Oven

weavershouse's picture

But I'd love to see the inside of the loaf :)                                     weavershouse

dwg302's picture

has anyone tried the pumpernickel recipe in hamelman's bread book with pumpernickel flour instead of using rye meal?   he says in the book that you can substitute it but i was wondering if anyone has tried it and noticed a difference.  also, i have had a hard time finding rye meal and would love to know a good place online to order some.   any help would be great,


susanfnp's picture

I thought pumpernickel and rye meal mean the same thing: a coarsely-ground whole rye flour. Hamelman (p. 48) says:

"Pumpernickel rye, often called rye meal, is just that: a coarse meal rather than a flour; it is made by milling the entire rye berry. It can substitute for whole rye flour, the main difference being the mealy consistency of pumpernickel. In any event, pumpernickel means that the entire berry has been ground, and from a milling perspective does not have anything to do with the artificially black breads known in the United States as pumpernickel."


Chris, great looking loaf! I love the crinkled surface that the rye gives. Please do let us know how it tastes and how it rates with your German friend.



sphealey's picture

You might want scan through the German Rye and ISO Great Rye Bread threads - there was a lot of discussion of rye flour there.

The basic problem is that in the US there is no standardization of rye flour names, and no strict equivalence to the German standard names. What you describe is what you will get with Bob's Red Mill Pumpernickel, but if you order Pumpernickel Flour from King Arthur you will get a different product (a coarse whole dark flour).

For people really interesing in rye I recommend that they get one package of each type available locally and each of the Bob's Red Mill and King Arthur types, then decide which they want to use.