The Fresh Loaf

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100% rye flying crust

kolobezka's picture

100% rye flying crust

For 2 months or so I'm struggling with my rye breads. I hadn't had that problem before but now I always get this flying crust. Also you can see the crumb at the bottom is a bit denser.

I've tried pricking the the proofed dough with a wooden stick, covering the loaf with an aluminium foil loosely at the beginning of baking, lowering the baking temperature... nothing helped.

Any advice?

Thanks a lot 


(in the picture it's 75% home-milled rye + 25 % store-bought fine dark rye, 85 % hydration, 85 % prefermented flour. But I had the same problem with other ratios, too)

ananda's picture

Hi Zdenka,

I have come across this problem from time-to-time with 100% rye breads.   It may well be due to excess starch damage in the milling process.   Whatever, the most likely problem is excessive amylase activity, and the likelihood is that the rye grain is lacking in quality.

Try the following: slow down your fermentation by using cooler temperatures and consider a stiffer pre-ferment.   Can you cut down the amount of pre-fermented flour?   Cut back on overall hydration a little bit too.

All good wishes


kolobezka's picture

Thank you so much for such a quick comment, Andy.

I don't think a lower hydration would be possible - the dough was quite dense for a rye dough. Yes, I can try lowering the temperatures and the prefermented flour (please, what's the rational behind this?). I did not think about amylases as the crumb is otherwise not bad.

I may also try it with a different flour? 

Any idea how I could adapt the home-milling process? (I have a Komo mill)

hreik's picture

I gather that with rye breads w more than 50% rye you really need a dough docker.  Are you using one? Looks like steam is trying to escape and is just lifting the top crust.

I am NOT speaking from any experience, only from reading.  Rye seems daunting to me. A whole other kettle of fish.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Have you tried shortening the proofing time of the pre-fermented dough?  

85% is a lot of delicate dough to mix in more flour.  Can the 15% flour addition hold up the crumb?  

What if 1/3 of that 15% flour addition was pre-gelled?  Tangzhong?

Elagins's picture

Try reducing the preferment %age to the 40%-50% level, preferably using a 3-stage sponge. Bulk ferment 1 hour, proof 30-40 minutes, until cracks or broken bubbles start to show on the surface. Preheat to 450F/230C, steam for 10 min, then reduce to 375/190C and bake to an internal temp of 195F/91C, about 1 hour. That should solve the problem.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

in a glass, mark and time it, watch what it going on using the same variables you do with the proofing bread dough.  Be particular sensitive to when the dough dome stops rising with evenly distributed bubbles underneath during the pre.ferment and last proof.  Note roundness of bubbles and when they change to odd shapes, when the round bubbles start breaking into each other forming odd shapes, you have officially found out the dough's limit.  Proof with less time.  Even over-proofed, the top skin on the rye will stay up if the sides are supported while the inside structure collapses.

Run some time tests on your starter as well.  If the starter is too slow or yeast not concentrated enough, it could be that the dough is breaking down before the yeast can raise the volume you're accustomed to.  It can also happen that the yeast in the recipe is too strong and tearing the dough.  Information about the build of the preferment would be helpful.

Meanwhile start a new rye starter.  In a week you can compare your starters.

When is the salt added to the recipe?

kolobezka's picture

Thanks for all your suggestion. I'll give them a try.

@Elagins: I'll try 50% preferment although I'm not sure it's the problem (when I bake with 85 % preferment at my mother's house, with store-bought flour I have no issue when I cover the bread). However, it seems 30-40 minutes proof won't be enough. It takes about 90 minutes with 80-85 % preferment. I bake up to internal temperature 98°C (208°F).

@Mini Oven: do you thing the preferment may be too sour or too weak? might be. The crumb is OK. Thanks for your detailed description of the the fermentation experiment.
Do you think it's worth trying even if I have no issues with other bread (wheat/rye, rye/wheat, proofed in a banneton, about 6 - 8 loaves a week)

The salt is added at the very beginning. I don't autolyse this kind of dough (you adviced me that a couple of years ago for your Mini's favourite rye ;)). I let the dough sit 10 - 30 minutes. Bread tin. 60 (oven) - 90 (room) minutes proof

Tangzhong? Hmmm, interesting idea? I'll certainly try that one. Independantly of the flying crust problem ;)

@hreik: no, not a dough docker. Just tried a wooden stick. The problem is only with 100% rye. As for 50% rye bread, I just score them. But it might be quite decorative to use a dough docker... hmmm, I might buy one ;) Thanks!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The rye starter has to be at optimal condition with the right bacteria count and a healthy yeast population.  

The crumb is not OK if it is falling down inside the loaf or ripping from the top crust.  It looks like the fermentation is pushed past the flour's limits.  Rye combined with wheat or other flours will slow down the destruction of the dough matrix and give a longer working window to handle the dough, longer than just rye dough.

Salt is added in the beginning, do you mean salt is in the 85% preferment?   If not, try getting the salt into the preferment since that is the bulk of the dough.  Just to be clear, have you got a recipe showing the pre-fermenting stages and amounts?  

I would test the starter to see how fast it ferments the flour at the various builds of the recipe.  Small scale.  That will give you the best clue as to where the problem lies.   

I put my bets on over proofing and waiting too long to see visual signs of oven readiness.  If 85% of the dough flour is in the preferment, then after adding the 15% rest of the flour, give the mixture 15 minutes to chemically bond to the preferment and then bake the sucker.   Preheat your oven right after you mix the dough and shove it covered into the oven when 15 minutes are up.  Even if the oven is not up to temperature.  As soon as the oven reaches the optimal temp.  Start counting the baking time.  

In my perspective, I put 85% pre-fermented rye dough under "doughs that need to be rescued"  like when I let a shaped loaf  ferment too long.  Let the steam combine with the newly added flour to make the oven spring.  Wait too long and it's over-proofed (again.)

kolobezka's picture

To tell the truth, I use various stages for the preferment. I'm not very consistent and it depends on time.... Last time it was:

100 g SD starter + 350 g water + 350 g rye = 8 hours
800 g preferment + 875 g water + 875 g rye = 5 hours (that one might have been a bit too long)
225 g rye
0,5% salt, caraway...

The salt is added when mixing the final dough, with 15% flour.

It really doesn't seem like the crumb is falling down. I'd rather say the crust is flying up. Sometime it's only on one side or part od the loaf.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

without an anti-gravity oven,  I would think gravity had something to do with it and not lack of gravity.  If up were down and down were up,  I might let you talk me into the crust flying somewhere. ... And... I think that you figured it out already.

That 5 hour ferment was too long.  Wow, that's almost a 1:1:1 ratio?   BOOM!    Shake and bake in 1 to 2 hrs.   3 tops  What did it look like after 5 hrs?  Must have smelled wonderful!

kolobezka's picture

@Mini: I was just thinking... rye bread usually don't rise in the oven too much (rather at all). So the crumb just remains at the level of the maximal proof. With other breads there is an oven spring (even in the normal-gravity ovens ;). If a flying crust occurs in wheat breads a too hot oven might be a possible reason...

Here are some photos of the same loaf as above, just a few slices later:

100% rye home-milled   100% rye home-milled

The flying crust was not all along, as I already mentioned.

Also, I used to bake 80-85% preferment rye with no problem in the past. I also shared the recipe and all of my friends (some of them had not bake a 100% before) got perfect results.

Tvo days ago I tried the same recipe with the fine dark rye store-bought flour. No problem there. I guess Andy was right.

Now... is it rather the quality of rye grains or the process of milling that pose a problem? Would using less preferment help?