The Fresh Loaf

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Pierre Nury’s Rustic Light Rye - Leader

zolablue's picture

Pierre Nury’s Rustic Light Rye - Leader

This is a new recipe I made from Daniel Leader’s book, Local Breads, for a Parisian loaf of Pierre Nury’s who is a recipient of the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France award, as noted in the book.This is a very rustic light rye considered to be his signature loaf and is compared to Italian ciabatta.

It was very interesting to make and loads of fun although my timeline didn’t quite match Leader’s description of what would take place in the amount of time noted.I have made notes below in the recipe for how this worked for me.

This is delicious bread!I will definitely bake this loaf again.The recipe is so simple I see it as almost a no fail bread.The flavor is very good and I would describe it so far as the most tangy bread I’ve made to date keeping in mind my sourdoughs are very mild.I think it is really an outstanding flavor and toasted it is wonderful with a real depth of flavor.

The crumb is beautiful and very moist and almost spongy.It is very open like a ciabatta which just seemed so odd to me after such a long, overnight rise.

Here is the recipe for those of you who might like to give it a try.

Pierre Nury’s Rustic Light Rye – © Daniel Leader, Local Breads

Makes 2 long free-form loaves (18 ounces/518 grams each)Time:

8 – 12 hours to prepare the levain

20 minutes to mix and rest the dough

10 to 12 minutes to knead

3 to 4 hours to ferment

12 to 24 hours to retard

20 to 30 minutes to bake


45 grams - stiff dough levain(45%)

50 grams – water (50%)

95 grams – bread flour, preferably high-gluten (I used KA Sir Lancelot) (95%)

5 grams – stone-ground whole wheat flour (5%)

Prepare levain by kneading and place into a covered container.Let stand at room temperature (70 to 75 degrees F) for 8 to 12 hours until it has risen into a dome and has doubled in volume.*

Bread dough:

400 grams – water (80%)

450 grams – bread flour, preferably high-gluten (I used Sir Lancelot) (90%)

50 grams – fine or medium rye flour (I used KA medium) (10%)

125 grams - levain starter**

10 grams – sea salt (I used kosher)


Pour water into bowl of a stand mixer.Add the bread flour and rye flour and stir until it absorbs all of the water and a dough forms.Cover and autolyse for 20 minutes.


Add the levain and salt.By machine, mix on medium speed (4 on a Kitchenaid mixer) until it is glossy, smooth and very stretchy for 12 to 14 minutes.***This dough is very sticky and will not clear the sides of the bowl.Give the dough a windowpane test to judge its readiness by gently stretching a golf-ball sized piece until it is thin enough to see through and not tear.If it tears mix for another 1 to 2 minutes and test again.To get maximum volume in the baked loaf, make sure not to under-knead.


Transfer dough to a lightly oiled container and cover.Leave to rise at room temperature (70 to 75 degrees) for 1 hour.It will inflate only slightly.

Turn: (stretch and fold):

Turn the dough twice at 1-hour intervals.After second turn, cover dough and leave to rise until it expands into a dome twice its original size, 1 to 2 hours more.****It will feel supple, airy, and less sticky.


Place the container in the refrigerator and allow the dough to ferment slowly for 12 to 24 hours.It will develop flavor but not rise significantly.Two to 3 hours before you want to bake, remove from refrigerator and let stand on the counter, covered.It will not rise and will feel cool.

Preheat oven:About 1 hour before baking heat oven (with baking stone) to 450°F.

Shape loaves:

Scrape dough onto floured counter and coat the top of the dough with flour.Press the mound of dough into a rough 10-inch square. Cut dough into 2 equal pieces (18 ounces/518 grams each).With floured hands, lift up one piece from the ends and in one smooth motion, gently stretch it to about 12 inches long and let it fall in whatever shape it may onto parchment paper.Repeat with the remaining piece of dough, spacing the two pieces at least 2 inches apart.(No need to score.)


Steam oven as usual.Immediately after shaping, slide loaves, on the parchment, onto the baking stone.Bake until crust underneath the swirls of flour is walnut-colored, 20 to 30 minutes.


Cool on wire rack for about 1 hour before slicing.Don’t be surprised by the long troughs running through the crumb.This is part of the bread’s character.


Store loaves with cut side covered in plastic at room temp for 3 to 4 days.For longer storage, freeze in resealable plastic bags for up to 1 month.


*Leader says to allow the levain only to double in the amount of time noted.My starter more than tripled in less than 6 hours so at that time I mixed the dough.I think this may have slowed my fermentation way down since my starter had not fully risen and collapsed but I find I am always at odds with Leader’s instructions on firm starters.

**The levain recipe calls for ingredients which make up more than is needed for the dough recipe which I find problematic only because it bugs me.I want instructions for making the amount I need for a recipe and not to have any levain as leftover.He does this in some recipes and not in others so to me that is another flaw in their editing.Just make sure you weigh the proper amount for the dough recipe.

***I used a DLX mixer at about medium speed for roughly 10 to 12 minutes.

****My dough did not rise more than about 25% (if that) in the container in more than three hours after fermentation started.Again, I think that was due to using my levain too soon.I chose to place the dough in my pantry overnight to rise instead of the refrigerator since it had not doubled as it was supposed to by that time.My pantry is very cold at 62°F now as it is on an outside wall and this allowed a good spot for the dough to ferment overnight instead. It rose to just over double by the time I was ready to bake it.That fermentation took about 17 hours total.


zolablue's picture

Mini - I'll be anxious to find out how yours has turned out so please report!

weavershouse's picture

Your bread looks so perfect. What a great recipe this is and what a great job you did with it. I've been making myself refrain from baking bread until I use up what's in the freezer but everyday I take my sourdough out of the fridge, put it back in, take it out at least one more time and tell myself, or otherself, not yet. Well, your photos and very fun write up put me over the edge. The SD is out of the fridge and I'm going for it.


This bread has such a lingering good taste that I might make this recipe more than any other. I have none in the freezer so I think I should make!  


Your photos are great and I swear I can taste that bread. The sour is just right for us.                 weavershouse

zolablue's picture

Isn't this bread just the most interesting recipe. I have so many on my "to try" list but certain recipes just call to you and Mini didn't help matters making me so hungry for it again! :o)


I won't be able to bake mine until tomorrow as it has to go through its long overnight rise but I just cannot wait. I think I may actually make up another levain today so I can bake a batch for my neighbors on Saturday.

weavershouse's picture

I have so many different breads I want to try including the Pain a l'Ancienne rainbowbrown posted today (such passion!) but all I have to do is think of Pierre Nury's Rustic Light Rye and I swear I can taste it. Can't wait till I do. I like mini oven's idea of stuffing it. I bet it would even be a good pizza dough.                      weavershouse

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Oh yea, got the cement job done. Now the toilet won't fall off the wall when I go to visit my nephew. (He's got a new flat and I'm helping him out a little... also poured some over the newly laid pipes in the floor. We build tough around here...) I just love to get my hands into stuff! The fresh baked bread has been feeding the work force. (painting, laying floor, electrical, sanding doors, etc)

For Valentine's day (I live about 20 kilometers from St. Valentine, the town.) I bought my men a new lawn mower! They can't say I've no heart!

AND HERE THEY ARE: Pizzie-Pierries (The toppings were a little heavy on the dough but they tasted great, maybe traditionally flat would bake better...I call 'em "End of the winter tire sale pizzas" black olive effect...the dough made 9, don't ask how that happened, it just did.)

 oozing with wonderful pizza flavour,  the boys ran off with these for video games  Pierre-nury pizza:

Mini O

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Got to do these again.  The now older work crew was asking...

I might freeze them for mini-oven size servings.  Shrimp, crab, bacon...

Sylviambt's picture


These have got to be the most inspirational photos I've seen in a long, long time.  Outstanding.  I know what I'll be baking next weekend.



zolablue's picture

Sylviambt - I hope you make this and like it as much as some of us here do. It is a great recipe.


Mini - Those look incredible! I'm sure they were delicious and you are making me very hungry.


I made my second batch of this bread and increased it enough to make three loaves. I used the whole rye to compare to the medium rye flavor. I promptly gave two of the loaves to my neighbors and had one left that I decided to take down to my parents house so I have no idea how the crumb looked or how it tasted. I did start another levain yesterday before we left town so I can make another batch again today and bake tomorrow. I just about can't wait.


zolablue's picture

I wanted to report on my results from substituting whole rye in place of the medium rye called for in the recipe. It completely changed the crumb structure and texture and the flavor was different for me as well. The whole rye did not add any more "rye" flavor either.


Having made two batches of this within a couple days I can also report that my dough rose significantly faster. I did allow the levains to expand way beyond double so perhaps that was the reason, based on how my starter works and not due to the whole rye flour. Both batches rose according to Leader's instructions and actually doubled by the first hour following the second fold.


When I put them into the refrigerator they continued to rise and were easily quadrupled by the time I took them out to bake. The first whole-rye batch I allowed to sit at room temperature for a couple hours and it continued to rise. (Yowsa!) Based on that, the second whole-rye batch only sat out for about a half hour and I decided, what the heck, even if it is cold it will bake nicely so I popped it into the oven. Those loaves actually looked better.


But using the whole rye really affects the hydration so you don't get the wonderful, very-open crumb and texture that you do when using the medium rye. Or at least I did not. I even added about 50 - 60 grams more water on the second batch but it still was not enough.


In the future, I'm going to stay true to the written recipe to get the flavor and crumb Leader describes and that I was so lucky to acheive with my first run. It is just amazing bread.


I'm going to have to make another batch again using the medium rye and allow my levain to ripen more and see how the dough performs. Anyway, hope this info helps.


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Zolablue. 

I'm struggling with why using whole rye rather than medium rye flour made such a difference.  

I also got greater than expected dough rising using whole rye. Leader's recipe says the dough should rise little during cold fermentation, as I recall. Yet, my dough more than doubled overnight in the refrigerator. I wonder if it was over-proofed. If it were though, I don't think I would have gotten the oven spring I did. 

Hmmm ... Do you suppose the extra bran in the whole rye cuts the gluten strands and makes for a less open crumb? We certainly see this differnce with whole wheat vs. white flour in other breads, even with high hydration breads like Hamelman's Miche, ponte-a-calliere.

I'm going to make this bread with light rye next time. In fact, I'm going to get the levain going overnight tonight. Ooooo  ... I can't wait!


zolablue's picture

David - I can't answer why the difference, but I got two consistent results with the whole rye and while they looked like the same bread on the outside the crumb was just not the same. The dough was not very wet despite my adding extra water so obviously I didn't add enough. I also think Leader wrote the recipe the way he did for a reason and once that tiny deviation is made it is no longer that recipe anymore - good bread, but just not the same recipe.


I also thought my loaves would be overproofed based on how much that dough expanded in the refrigerator. Remember when I made it the first time it was so dead looking (hehe) I was afraid to put it into the fridge and stuck it into my very cool pantry instead.


Honestly, I have far from the experience to know why the dough behaved so differently using the whole rye instead of the medium rye. I’m thinking more it was due to the way I handled my levain. I’ll know more once I make it again.


You are talking about using white rye but the recipe calls for medium rye or fine rye. What is fine rye? Is that another name for white rye? (I'm starting to sound demented.)



weavershouse's picture

I may be wrong, but didn't Liz use whole rye? There are so many posts here I kind of scanned them to see. If she did she has large holes in her loaves. I know I used whole rye and the holes are not as large. I also use KA AP or KA organic Artisan flour because I'm not using a mixer and was told by KA that you need a mixer if using Sir Lancelot. Could that make a difference?


I don't know if mini or the others used whole rye or what. I think I was the only one who didn't use a mixer I wonder if the holes are smaller because of that. I'm going to get started on a new batch tonight and sift some of my whole rye to see what, if anything changes.


Wish we could all have sample tastes or each others breads.


Looking forward to results of the experiments of you and David.          weavershouse

zolablue's picture

Liz milled her own rye so I don't know what that means exactly in comparison.


I can't understand why it would matter so much. It is probably the way I handled it in not adding enough more water when I could clearly see the dough was simply not very wet dough like in the first time I made it. And it also didn't have that same almost odd elastic feel I got the first time. It reminded me of chewing wheat grains to make gum - we did that when we were kids - I know, that sounds so corny. (lol)


But, again, it wasn't just the crumb not being quite as open but it didn't have the same chewiness or spring. Hard to describe. Great tasting bread - really wonderful but I just preferred it so much the first time I followed the recipe accurately.


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Zolablue. 

I assume light rye=fine rye, but I'm not 100% sure. Guisto's rye flour, which I buy in bulk, is fine ground but is whole rye. KA Light Rye has some or all of the bran sifted out. So, really, the short of it is, I don't know. 

Hi, Weavershouse. 

I used Guisto's Baker's Choice for the wheat flour. It is lower protein and I assume lower gluten than KA Bread Flour, not to mention Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour. 

After scanning all the posts in this entry, I find that Zolablue and I are the only ones who said what kind of rye flour we used. I used Gusto's fine-ground, whole rye flour.  

I too have the levain fermenting to make this bread again tomorrow. My plan is to use KA light rye and KA Bread Flour.  

It will be fun to compare notes, and I hope we have enough data to be suggestive if not conclusive. 


fleur-de-liz's picture

Just wanted to pipe in on this discussion of types of rye to use in this bread. I have made it 3 or 4 times and have always used freshly milled rye. It is whole rye, milled somewhat finely (I didn't sift out the bran). Since I don't know how the dough would feel with a commercial type of rye or a lighter rye, I cannot comment. I can only say that this dough has worked very well for me using freshly milled whole rye. The flavor is outstanding.

I have found the rising times to vary quite a bit. This weekend my starter must have been feeling extra frisky, as the dough rose at a much faster clip. For the first time, there was considerable rise after the bulk fermentation. And, during the overnight retardatation, the dough popped the top of the lid! Interestingly, while it tastes great and did have some nice ovenspring, this bread lacked the extra large holes of previous versions that didn't rise as dramatically. Is there a relationship between a longer, slower rise and a more open crumb?

Thank you, Zolablue, for introducing me to this bread. It's become a staple in my bread repertoire. I much prefer it to typical ciabatta type bread. And, I love what MiniOven has done with this dough.

One aside -- there has been recent discussion elsewhere on Reinhart's Pain a l'Ancienne. While I've never made that recipe, it seems like some of the techniques are similar to Pierre Nury-- the long ferementation in the refrigerator (though it's made with yeast), slack dough and non-shaping before baking. Has anyone baked both recipes?


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Liz. 

Fresh milled rye? Just what we need: another variable! ;-) I was just trying to recall which of you was grinding your own berries. I'm sorry to hear you got so much variability in rise times. Maybe we can't attribute it to whole vs. white/fine rye flour, after all. 

The only variables I know that result in a more open crumb are higher hydration and gentle handling while shaping. I think they require adequate gluten development and sufficient fermentation, also. What I don't know is whether a long slow fermentation versus  faster fermentation makes for a more open crumb. It sure makes for better flavor, though.   

I have made pain a l'ancienne once many months ago. It tasted wonderful, but I wasn't happy with my overall result. It didn't have much oven spring or the big holes. From what (I think) I've learned since then, I suspect I handled the dough too roughly. I do have to try this bread again. (Like, how's it going to fit into my baking schedule?)  

The Pain a l'ancienne formula calls for retarding the dough immediately  after mixing (with ice water!) and one rising before dividing and baking, as I recall. Pain a l'ancienne and Nury's light rye have in common high hydration and long, slow fermentation. Plus, as you said, Nury's is naturally leavened and the P-a l'A. uses instant yeast.  

If we can get answers to all the questions in this one topic, I, for one, will have learned a years' worth of new bread baking knowledge!   


zolablue's picture

Liz - You reminded me that I forgot to say that earlier! (hehe) I was contemplating the faster rise and the less open crumb, too. Hmmm, interesting. I just don't know but there was something seriously different in those last two rises. It is funny you mention the lid popping off because mine was close to doing that as well!


I agree I love what Mini did with this and I'm so glad you love the bread, too. This is just payback for you getting me so hooked on that wonderful Pain de Campagne which I still adore so thanks back!


Oh, and I have made Reinhart's Pain a l'Ancienne many times; actually it was the second recipe I ever baked; Reinhart's ciabatta being my first. Anyway, great stuff! Interestingly, I did think of that bread the first time I made the Pierre Nury which is very similar in the way you make the loaves. (Crappy photo but here was my first attempt at that bread.)

Pain a l'Ancienne

weavershouse's picture

I started a batch last night, we'll see. I know I can't match completely with those using a mixer so I'll see how this batch compares with my others. To make it clear.......I'm using this time:
no mixer, my milled rye that I sifted one time, Wheat Montana all purpose flour, my milled whole wheat for the levain

Last night I made the levain, this morning I mixed the dough and used the wire dough wisk to mix it in the bowl about 4 or 5 min., let sit an hour, did one S & F, let sit one hour, did one S & F. Put in very cold room. Tomorrow I'll continue.

I'm hoping mostly that the taste is great, as usual, and that the bread has large holes...but not too large. I want some crumb there! I look forward to everyones experiments.
One experiment I made last week with this recipe was to use my sourdough starter in place of making a levain. The bread was ok but nothing like it should be. Oh well, I tried. weavershouse  Added 2-21-08This batch came out pretty much like the first. This time I added the right amount of levain and I didn't see any difference. I didn't notice any difference in taste with the sifted rye. There is so little rye in this bread I don't know why Leader calls it a rye. It adds a lot of flavor but it's not a rye bread. Anyway, the bread is delicious. I think the larger holes come from using a mixer. I'm happy with the crumb as shown in my post above.  Also, this batch hardly did any rising in the overnight retarding but rose up very well in the oven. Other times I've made it the dough more than doubled overnight. Who knows.  How's it going for you David?                                                                                                     weavershouse 

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Weavershouse. 

I've described my latest bake in a blog entry. In short, I got a really nice appearing crumb. The mouth feel was wonderful - cool and creamy. It was chewy but tender. The downside is that, using white rye, the taste was not nearly as good as my first attempt, which used whole rye.  

Next time, I think I will use whole rye, make sure the hydration is high enough and handle the dough very gently when dividing. I'm betting I can get the open crumb and the better flavor, both.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I think the big holes has to do with handling of the dough. Once it left the mixer, all I did was fold it, no kneading, punching, poking, dropping, etc. (I love to drop dough, that really pops bubbles!) The rye I use is whole fine type 960.

 Rubbed onto my dry hands

Rye type 960 Haberfellner: Rubbed onto my dry hands

The all puropse wheat is type-480 but I now have some type-700 (more ash). Zee pizzies even had coarse white type-480 in zee dough. I did use lots of steam, and after the water was gone, removed the water pan so the bottom would get very brown. I used a rye starter. I think getting the crust brown is very important to flavour.

Mini O

(info: Type 700 or 800 is light rye, medium rye is type 850, light pumpernickel is type 1300 and dark pumpernickel rye is type 1700)

AnnieT's picture

Mini, when I first saw this picture I thought you were fermenting some exotic new loaves! Pays to use my specs now and again! I see you still have fingerprints - I don't, which caused some concern when the FBI wanted to see them. NO, I can't claim over use of Comet wore them off, more likely years of crosstitch, A.

Paddyscake's picture

I thought those were loaves with a really cool crackled crust! Once again I should read and not skim a post!! Glad Annie has the sharper eyes!

Windischgirl's picture

I saw this on the site, realized we were on our last slices of the previous loaf, and put it together tonight.  I had a minor panic attack when I went back to find the recipe and could no longer find the links.  I too have Dan Leader's book from the library, which I paged thru over supper--due tomorrow!--but I may renew it so I know what to do after the retard!

I have a starter that I feed daily so that it's ready to's somewhere between a liquid levain and the firm levain mentioned in the book, so I tweaked the proportion of water.  The gluten has developed sooo nicely...I could spin a web with it...

I can only hope that my loaves turn out as lovely as any of those posted on this thread! 


Paula F

Philadelphia PA

holds99's picture


I really appreciate your posting.  I am having the same problem which you mentioned where you said: "****My dough did not rise more than about 25% (if that) in the container in more than three hours after fermentation started. Again, I think that was due to using my levain too soon." 

I set my timer for 2 hours before going to sleep and just got up to check the rise and it's about the way you described yours was after 3 hours.  I was wondering what I should do so I came in and checked my computer and found your posting.  I too used starter, which had been recently refreshed (within the past couple of days)  and was in good shape for making the levain.  Anyway, I''ll keep it in a cool place until morning and hope it doubles by then. 

Thanks again for mentioning the problem.  You have been a great help.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

DakotaRose's picture

Wow, what flavor.  When I first saw this recipe I was thinking it might be something fun to try, but I didn't think I had the time to do it.  How wrong I was.  Beings there is so little handling of the dough there was little time put into it at all, but man alive the flavor is spectacular.  I decided to mix it up while I was finishing up the breads for todays market.  I thought it would be something new and interesting for our family to try.  I am so glad I did now.  It just got out of the oven about 45 minutes ago and the smell was marvelous and I couldn't wait to cut into it and see how the crumb was.  I am impressed, I will have to try out more of the recipes in this book. 

The two loaves after cooling for a bit.


Here is the crumb.  A lot more then I had expected.

Here is how they turned out.


dmsnyder's picture

If Pierre Nury, or even Daniel Leader, has any idea how much enthusiasm this bread has generated.

Lydia, you are now in on the not-so-secret about how wonderful this bread is. Good for you!

I see that your loaves are a lot lighter than this bread is meant to be. Believe it or not, there is even more flavor to be had if you bake until the crust looks almost burned in spots. Look at Zolablue's original photos.

Keep that in mind next time you bake it. (I have no doubt that you will!)


DakotaRose's picture

Next time I plan to keep it in longer.  I had set the timer for 30 minutes and then had to run some errands so hubby pulled it out.  I guess he figured that he had better not let it get too dark.  On the next go round I will leave it in 30 again, but put the racks a bit higher.


crunchy's picture

This has become one of my favorite recipes since I first tried it a couple of weeks ago. It's so easy, yet so full of flavor.

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, crunchy.

Welcome to the Nury's Light Rye Fan Club!

It is a pretty terrific bread.


Doughtagnan's picture

Well,  after fearing I was heading towards breadagedden or a doughaster as the dough's for both loaves were very wet the results were positive. See below the very rustic Nury's light rye flanked by two Bouabsa non-ficelle's (too wet to shape properly!)

Looking forward to the fromage course later, cheers Steve

M2's picture

I love reading all your postings, and that motivated me to give this bread a try!  I adjusted the formula ratio a bit so that I can use all the levain.  I'm not sure if I did the maths correctly, but it worked:

built-up levain: 195g

water: 533g

flour: 600g

rye: 16.67g

salt: 13.34g

I folded it 3 times on the hour, then let it fermented at room temperature for about 2 1/2 hours (just because I had to go to run some errands), then retarded it in the fridge for 18 hours.  I took it out from the fridge an hour before baking.

Here is the crumb shot:

This bread is going to replace the C&C's San Fransico Sourdough that I make all the time!

Do you find the crust colour too light?  I wonder if I should bake them a bit longer...but when I tapped the bottom, it sounded right (and it smelled right also).  So I took them out.  Also, I noticed that the bottom was split opened in some areas.  I did follow the procedures in dough handling.  Do you have any suggestion on how to prevent the bread from opening up on the bottom?


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Michelle.

As you discovered, this is a wonderful bread.

It has massive oven spring, and most loaves do have some splits. Look at the photos in this topic. You can see splitting in almost all of them.

You could try scoring your Nury loaves to control where they split, but, with such a wet dough, that my just introduce another set of frustrations.

My advice is to enjoy the rustic look and the marvelous flavor and accept the splitting. 


M2's picture

You are right, David.  This is a rustic bread, so I should accept the look.  It is not that bad looking after all :) 


dabrownman's picture

I have been slashing right after final forming and before final proofing.  The bread then splits somewhere near this slash almost always.  It appears that some control of where the loaf splits is possible with this method.  So far, thankfully, no other frustrations.  I do like the rustic splitting very much and think it is a characteristic of rustic breads not to be controlled - too much :-)

neoncoyote's picture

Thank you so much, zolablue, for posting this recipe and such detailed instructions -- and of course the lovely photos, which inspired me to give this one a go.

The results with my white-flour starter were very good, but the results with my newly made rye starter, taste-wise, were superior. I'm excited to see how much better the taste of these loaves can get as my starter develops more flavor in the coming months.

Happy holidays :)

Finn's picture

Here is my journey with Nury's Rustic Light Rye


I did not use a stiff starter for this but one at 78% hydration. I have been feeding it 125 grams of water, 80 grams of Dover Vienna bread flour, and 80 grams of Organic Stone Ground Red Fife. Which gives me a hydration level of 78%, definitely not a stiff starter. The flavour however is great. It is very acidic with relatively short rise times in most breads.

Dover Vienna


Organic Stone Ground Red Fife

So, what I did for this recipe is simply used my starter as is at 78% hydration. I used all of the prepared levain as many have done. I am very happy with the results and will do the same next time. My levain acted exactly as described by leader. I prepared it at 9:00pm and left in covered on my counter till 8:00am the next morning, when it was nicely doubled and smooth. I prepared the dough at 8:00am and followed the recipe exactly, folding and stretching at one hour increments twice, then let sit on my counter till doubled, mine took 5 hours to completely double and went into the fridge at 3:00pm. The rest of the recipe I followed except I baked mine  for 32 minutes plus 3 more minutes with oven off and door open, and of course the usual steam and misting.

I used Rogers Dark Rye Flour and not a light or medium rye. I chose Rogers partly because it is Canadian and I like using local ingredients, like the Dover and Red Fife flours. However, I am very surprised at how little the rye flavour comes through in this bread. I believe it is partly do to two things. First is my use of a Red Fife starter, which really provides a strong nutty/wheat flavour which predominates this bread for me. Secondly is the tangy acidic nature of this starter (and of course the long refrigeration). Now I am not complaining in the least, I LOVE the flavour of this bread. The nutty/wheat flavour with just a hint of rye is amazing!

Here are a few images:

Great rustic crust (my bread did not split)


Nice crunchy crust that is not too thick


Beautiful open and moist crumb

I am now on the Rustic Light Rye bandwagon.



sdoh123's picture

Saw a few folks asking about the stiff dough levain for this recipe's levain.  I forgot which thread here on the forums gave the ratio for Leader's stiff dough levain, but according to it, and for the amount of stiff dough levain called for in this recipe, this worked great:  15g water : 15g 100% hydration starter : 27g flour (knead to get everything mixed well).  The initial starter was fed whole rye flour, and the same flour was used to form the stiff dough ball which was left for 12 hours to ripen before incorporating into this recipe's levain.  It does make a little more than 45g, but better to have a little more than a little less.  Using this stiff dough levain, the recipe's levain doubled (and then some) in 10 hours and was a perfectly thick, sticky, bubbly mass.

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, astutia.

If you look at the photos in this topic, your bread's profile is not out of line. The crumb could be more open, but you are in the ball park there too. Dark rye will generally absorb more water than white rye. It does give better flavor to this bread, IMO.

Your crust color makes me wonder if your oven temperature is accurate. Your breads look like they were baked at a cooler temperature. Have you checked it?


dabrownman's picture

I scaled the levain back to end up with the correct amount for one loaf since I put twice the amount in last time I made bread by mistake   :-)  Am now on second turn right now with ZB's and on first turn with David Snyder's new SF Sourdough recipe using the same starter for both 1/3 rye. 1/3 wheat and 1/3 spelt to see which one I like the best.  ZB's are the best looking loaves I have seen and David's bread is tough to beat.  Both are such fine bakers....... and so little time to try all of their concoctions

dabrownman's picture

Baked off Zola Blues Pierre Nury and David Snyder's unfinished latest SFSD  I'm going to try and post some pictures.  Both tasted exactly the same even though David's didn't have any rye in it.  Maybe this is because I used the same starter and build for both.  I couldn't taste the rye at all in ZB's even though 1/4 of my starter was rye.  ZB's proofed higher than David's before it went into the fridge but David's really took off in the retard and after removal from the fridge.  ZB's didn't do much at all in retard or the final rise before the oven.  The 85 degrees final proof was the difference?

I used my new modified parchment containment for ZB's  and David's was placed in a floured basket to retard and rise.  I slashed both but the SFSD  was tough and dry on top, it may have been over proofed, so I botched the slashing and it deflated a little which my have caused it not to spring at all in the oven.  ZB's spring was terrific.  I baked them together with a 500 degree preheat, 475 degrees regular bake for the first 15 minutes with a Pyrex bread pan full if boiling water and 12" screaming hot cast iron pan with  a cup of water and then 425 degrees convection for the remainder after removing the steam at 15 minutes.  I baked ZB's for 30 minutes and David's for 5 minutes longer which was 5 minutes less than David recommended.

Both had the same sourness,  David's had a slightly more open crumb even though it didn't spring.  I like both very much and they seem to be twins except for their shapes .  Why this is I have no idea when one had rye and the other didn't.  Thanks to both ZB and David fo their hard work and fine breads.

Marc Brik's picture
Marc Brik

I looked at the first posted photographs and thought: I want that too.

little problem, I've never made a sourdough starter before. So after a lot of research my head was spinning. But I did learn a sourdough is fermented flour mixed with water catching wild yeast out of the air. fed every day with some bakers flour or rye and water. Easy. 

I made a starter with a little cheating: 1 Cup of flour, 1 C of water 1/2 t of instant active yeast and 1/4 C of cloudy organic apple juice.  Boy... did it bubble. I fed it everyday with 1 C of flour and 1 Cup water and every 3rd day with 1 C of rye instead of flour. for 1 week. After taking what I needed for the levian, I weight 500gr with 500gr of flour and 156 gr of water and turned into a ball starter. I let it start for 1 hr and placed it in the fridge

Then I made the recipe. The flour I use only had 11% protein, so I added another 3.5% gluten flour to get 14.5%

 followed all the rules, window pane, folding every hour and resting for 24 hr. taken out of the fridge 3 hr before baking. 1/2 hr before baking I heated the oven, 2 minutes of steam prep

The result:

tangy, flavoursom, chewy and holiest bread I have ever eten out side of France, and to be honest even in side of France any boulangerie would be struggeling to make such delicious bread.

I am so pleased it worked. The recipe and my sourdough starter


cjc's picture

According to the recipe above – the levain is 45%.  Does this consist of the 50 grams water, and 100 grams flours to make the 45 grams of levain?  OR does the levain come from someplace else?  If  you add the %’s, it is 195%, if the add the grams, it is 195 grams.  I understand just adding 125 grams of the levain to the dough.  I just can’t seem to understand where the 45 grams of levain fits into this.  Any help is appreciated.

dmsnyder's picture

Any formula for a sourdough bread with assume that you already have a healthy, active sourdough starter. Typically, the formula will provide instructions for the final feeding of the starter (levain) that will be mixed in the final dough.

Zolablue's formula will confuse you if 1) you are not familiar with sourdough baking, and/or 2) you do not understand baker's math. Your questions suggest you have both issues. I strongly recommend that you do some reading on these two topics, and then look at this formula again. Both topics are addressed in the TFL Handbook (See the menu bar at the top of each TFL page.) You might also find my own tutorial on baker's math helpful. (See Baker's Math: A tutorial )


cjc's picture

I shall do what you suggest - didn't realize that levain = starter.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Since when is a Pierre-Nury so good looking?  

dmsnyder's picture

It's way too pretty! Hope it tastes as good as it looks.