The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

80% whole rye with soaker (Hamelman)

Esopus Spitzenburg's picture
Esopus Spitzenburg

80% whole rye with soaker (Hamelman)

Having to work at home for the foreseeable future, I wanted to pick a new-to-me bread project. I remembered that I have around 20 lbs of rye berries (thanks to GrowNYC grains), and decided to make this a period of rye experimentation, having never made very high percent rye breads. I've been looking for recipes that call for whole rye because I don't want to sift my home milled flour.

To start, I made this loaf from Hamelman's Bread. What a trip! I didn't mix the soaker (I thought the recipe implies to do this), and it only got about half hydrated. Trying to shape the final dough was a losing battle, so I approximated boules, and let them final proof on the baking tray.

Looking back, I should have done the final proof in brotforms, which would have given them a smooth and nice look. Instead the crusts are quite shaggy, even pointy.

Having baked them yesterday afternoon, I just dug in, and I am shocked by how much I enjoy this bread! It has an amazing aroma of imperial stout, and a lovely taste. Not very sour (as I like). The only thing I didn't like was that the crust is a bit tough, although this is solved by toasting.

If you have suggestions for more high % whole rye recipes, please do share!


Happy baking, and stay safe!



Angelica Nelson's picture
Angelica Nelson

What a beautiful bread!  I"m a long time fan of rye, though I can no longer eat it.  Many of the techniques I loved for rye also work well in whole grain gluten free baking.  There really is something deeply satisfying about whole grain bread, and rye in particular.  The easiest way to soften the crust is to use milk for part of the water.  And it takes a lot more kneading to get the smooth texture.  You can probably sift out the hardest sections of the bran and then add them back if it's not very much, underneath the bread or even as a topping.  The sharp edges tend to burst the bubbles during rising and can lengthen the knead time by damaging gluten strands. Just sift it through a sieve and collect the large bits of bran for later use.