100% Whole Grain Rye Sourdough Bread
I tried this bread several times to be sure I was doing it the right way. On this journey, I learned that:
- mixing this dough with a standing mixer has no benefit comparing to a simple stir with a spatula
- this bread is a "Speedy Gonzales" of all the sourdough bread loaves I ever made
- in the oven it has a little oven spring then it is retracting itself, no matter if you proof it longer or shorter
- it looks like a stone / brick when taken out of the oven, but wrapped in towels will recover its moisture on the crust.
But in the end, all my experiments were perfectly good to eat and I ended up with delicious, healthy and nutritious bread. I do not know why, but when I see this bread I think of some cheese spread on it.
The recipe is:
- 50g rye sourdough 100% hydration
- 420g water
- 420g whole grain rye flour
- 825 whole grain rye flour
- 725g lukewarm water
- 15g salt
- 50g barley malt (optional)
I made a video that gathers all my findings and lessons learned with such a high rye content bread.
Although I have done some tests with different proofing times, I am still impressed to see that the bread retracts in the oven after the initial small oven spring. I have tried to cut the fermentation shorter and I've got a little bump on the top but the crumb was denser. On the other side, when I let it longer, I got the classical big cave under the crust. The version presented has the optimal timing for this bread.
I have to mention that I didn't take the recipe from a specific source and I created it respecting some well-known principles and adapting it until I liked it.
Did you have similar experience in baking 100% whole grain rye or am I missing something here?
I watched your video earlier today, it's a great primer for rye baking! You give some very nice non-obvious tips for those only used to wheat-based dough. Looks like very nice and simple whole rye bread.
Thank you, Ilya! I was looking for a very simple recipe and I came up with this one. I am a big fan of some TFL members (like ananda, codruta and so on) baking gorgeous 100% rye bread. Their recipes are the next level and to arrive there, you need first the basics.
The video is really helpful, and makes it seem quite do-able. I may try this next week. Thanks for sharing!
That was my intention: to make a very simple and great bread that anybody can do. No need to even touch the dough. I love to make complex bread but I am very much aware that this is only for people passionate about bread. For the rest, any homemade bread is much better than cheap supermarket bread with 20+ ingredients inside.
I loved watching your video. Well presented and explained. I have made a few rye loaves, but nowhere near 100% whole rye. The highest I've gone is 70%, a three-stage Detmolder process. I'm pleased that you demonstrate the difference in handling rye dough from wheat.
Thank you, Gavin! You absolutely need to try a 100% rye bread because it will be so much different than one with wheat. Once you know how pure rye dough behaves you know how to adjust your techniques to any lower percentage rye bread. You understand what is the impact, what to expect and how to handle the dough. In the future, I'll try more complex rye loaves, but for the moment, the basics are extremely important.
Beautiful video, I really enjoyed watching it. All the steps are well explained with good graphics. Makes me want to try baking a 100% rye now.
Thank you very much, Benito! Try it, is so simple that I put it on my lazy bread list. No need to get your hands in the dough, although this might be a downside for an experienced baker like you :).
Here’s some good news about your loaf shrinkage problem: the video clearly shows that the loaves are over-proofed before they go into the oven. Notice all the pin holes and emerging cracks? Those show a rye paste that has been stretched beyond its capacity to retain gas. It will inevitably experience some degree of settling, either during or after the bake.
To prevent this, get the bread into the oven at the first sign of a bubble breaking at the surface. You may not see much oven spring but you should be able to forestall any collapse of the loaves.
Best of luck with your future bakes. You are already producing some admirable bread.
Paul, indeed, this is what I thought as well. Thank you so much for addressing this issue because this is how we all learn. I did make a test cutting the proofing 30 minutes earlier but I was not very satisfied with the crumb, being a bit denser. So I had to find a compromise. It makes a lot of sense what you are saying because the sourdough bacteria is already exhausted at the moment when it is put in the oven and does not have the power to raise more. I very much appreciate your comment!
Your videos are very clear and succinct. I know it takes a lot of planning and hard work to make it look so easy. Excellent work.
I remember how I started some years ago, designing bread schedules on paper because the recipe was saying: 5 hours of bulk proof and 8 hours retard.... and ups that finished at 3am. I like to sleep during the night, I like to integrate bread into my life not life into my bread schedule. So, to me, it is important to be clear about all bread steps. I am not an experienced video maker but I have some amateur photography skills. I do bread as a passion and I like to connect with people having the same interests. It is true that it takes time to make these videos but I learn so much doing them not only on videography side but in making bread also. I replay them and I discover my own mistakes and what is more valuable is that I can compare between bakes. This is an advice I would give to any baker: film yourself with a phone and replay. Next time you'll be a better version of yourself.
I share these videos back as a tribute to a comunity that thought me also so much. If more people would change their habits to make bread at home instead of buying low quality bread then I am happy about my small contribution.
Thank you so much, Another Girl. Comments like yours give me a lot of motivation to continue.
Another excellent video!
What benefit is derived from fermenting the dough for 1 hour before placing it in the pan?
I ask because I am wondering if the dough was placed directly into the pan after mixing, it would have an extra hour to ferment without any more handling or interruptions. I am eager to learn...
Can’t wait to see what your next submission will be.
Thanks for posting, Denisa...
Dan, very well seen and I am glad you raised this point. If you bake in pans, as the shaping is just scooping, probably there is no real benefit (still to be tested!) and you can place it directly in the pan just after mixing. I chose, however, to do it this way mainly for 2 reasons:
1. didactical purposes to clearly separate the bulk fermentation from final fermentation.
2. if you decide to not bake in pans but the final bread shape to be round (as this bread is traditionally baked in some countries) you'll then have to do the final fermentation in well-floured bannetons. I mentioned this in the video.
When you transfer the dough, it might look that you disturb the nicely bubbly structure, but rye dough is capable to rebuild it even if you flatten the dough a bit more. I am wondering if the structure of the dough (that is anyway so weak) will not be more unstable if you do both prooves directly in the pan. It worth a try. I'll do this bread again in the feature for sure and I'll come back here with feedback.
Thank you so much, Dan for the question and for your appreciation!
his is a very good point and I thought as well about it when I processed the video. I chose to do it this way for didactic purposes, to well separate the bulk from the final fermentation. But
I would think you'd get extra time by fermenting for one hour then shaping it into a pan and de-gassing then allowing it to rise again.
Abe, this is an interesting approach! What would be the advantages and disadvantages for the rye bread to degas it? Any impact in the internal structure?
I was also interested in this question, already noticed this discrepancy between different rye recipes in the length, or even presence, of bulk ferment.
What I learnt just recently from one of Rus Brot videos (sorry, only in Russian, but you can try auto-translated subtitles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqqp-Nq_0Gk), is that in German/Austrian tradition the bulk is usually very short, 10-30 minutes. While in Russian tradition it's longer. And that is related to how much prefermented flour is used, i.e. Germans have more preferment. And apparently the main point is accumulating the right level of acidity.
So I think the point is that the dough can spend only a limited time in final proof, before it overproofs and starts falling. And if by that time the dough is not acidic enough, the quality of the bread will suffer (acidity is crucial for good, not gummy crumb with rye bread), and therefore you might have to bulk the dough - unless you use a very big volume of preferment, which provides the acidity from the beginning.
A lot of rye recipes have a big pre-ferment in which case the bulk ferment is short. So it would depend on how much is prefermented.
One can increase the ferment times by doing 2 ferments and after the first, shape (which would involve degassing) and then allow it to rise again. This will improve the crumb, structure and flavour.
Denisa, I am setting up a spreadsheet in preparation to bake your rye loaf. The salt is calculated at 1.2%, which seems low. Is this correct? And if so, why is the percentage of salt so low?
If you baked this bread again, would you change your hydration up or down from the present 90%? I will be using 100% extraction home milled Rye berries.
Thanks for the help,
Dan, in one of my tests I totally forgot to put the salt. The impact in the crumb and taste was not noticeable and then I thought of the sweet side of this bread. Rye has a sweet flavour and I also added the barley malt. Reducing the salt is a matter of preference, no real reason for the bread technique. I am however not very convinced that salt has the same strengthening effect in rye dough as it has in the wheat dough. You can go to 2% with no worry.
Regarding the hydration, this is a good and interesting point. In one of my tests I did a version even less hydrated and then I increased it to the version presented. However, I think you can try the upper limits of the hydration of this bread. For an even better version of this bread, I would take into account some hints I have received above in the comments and I would change the following:
- increase the hydration of the dough. As you put it in a pan anyway, what if you go even higher than 100%?
- put the dough straight into pans after mixing
- ferment just until the first bubbles appear on top of the bread and no longer
Let me know your feedback if you make your own version.
I really love how you challenge me with every little detail because this is for me great experience and feedback!
“ - increase the hydration of the dough. As you put it in a pan anyway, what if you go even higher than 100%?
- put the dough straight into pans after mixing
- ferment just until the first bubbles appear on top of the bread and no longer”
Check, check, and check. I will use your advice. Mixing and baking this morning.
But, as far as the 100% hydration, I plan to mix your written 90% hydration. Then an additional 10% water will be measured out in a separate bowl and slowly added (bassinage) until it feels right. Any remaining water will be weighed, that way I will know the exact hydration, while allowing flexibility in the choice of hydration.
I hope you understand my questions. I am not trying to find fault with your formula or method. I am interested to learn. Your work mesmerizes me! I appreciate your thorough replies to my questions.
Dan, we are all here to learn. I also appreciate so much people telling me what to improve because I do not have the possibility (or the patience :) ) to run 100 tests to find the perfect formula. So feel free to post me any thoughts or questions you might have.
With the hydration, I would have done the same as you: to leave a quantity of water at the end and add it until I feel is good, especially when you do the recipe the first time. When you film, you want to keep it simple, so the amount of hydration I tested it before.
There is also another aspect: the type of flour. Like for wheat, there is dark rye and white rye and the hydration accepted by them might be different. I had a very grainy flour in my bread (bought from a local stone mill), it looked more like semolina. I saw your video in mixing 100% hydration rye dough and I can tell that it looks different than mine. Hard to say which one is better, our skill should be to adapt the hydration accepted by the flour we have. We need to train our eye for that.
I seem to recall that several rye pan bread recipes mention docking, piercing the top of the loaf just prior to baking. Have you experimented with that to see if it would stabilize the oven spring?
I think that these are done to minimise the wild cracks for the free-standing loaves. It can be an idea to try and see how it is affecting the oven spring. Thank you very much for the hint!
Boy, Denisa! This is a super easy bread to bake...
This short video shows what to expect of a 100% extraction 100% Whole Rye. Think, brick mortar, cement...
It was a blast forming the dough in the pan using a wet spatula. I went straight from mixing into the Pullman omitting the typical bulk ferment.
The loaf was covered with a towel and rested 24hr.
If using a large USA Pullman the Total Dough Weight could be increased to 1900g.
This loaf will be sliced and refrigerated for long term (weeks) consumption. Of course, the neighbors also get their cut :-)
The flavor profile and texture -
First off, very moist! The flavor is unique, completely rye. I’d describe it as deep and dark. Rustic European. Acidic notes tingle the sides of the tongue at the back, a very nice sensation. As the bread is chewed it gets very creamy. For those that like rye, this bread is one to bake.
Up until now, I considered 40% whole rye as the sweet spot. But now, I can say that both 40 and 100% are keepers. It is excellent for sandwiches, or either buttered plain or toasted.
Thanks for posting such an “Easy Peasy Whole Rye” bake!
Just remembered that I have an image of the dough after proofing. Paul tells me it is a little over proofed. Boy, does this dough move fast when warm proofing!
Comments and suggestions are always welcomed.
Dan, did you follow generally Denisa’s formula with a fermentation of the final dough in total of 2.5 hour at 29ºC, I believe that is what she showed in her video. This is probably the simplest bread ever to make and I think I’ll have to give it a go. I don’t recall when I might have had a 100% rye bread last, probably not in years.
Pretty much followed her lead, but I’m not one to time anything. I watch the dough.
I did up the salt to 2% and also raised the PPF to 40%. Also didn’t do an official BF. Denisa’s formula and method is a good one that requires almost no effort. IMO, a pan is the way to go for 100% whole rye. The slices stand higher when confined.
OH! 100% hydration worked well and the bread was moist, but not gummy. Went with the optional Barley Malt syrup.
I bet you’ll like it...
What degree of rise did you aim for or what did you watch for to know to end “bulk’ and go to bake. I know some look for the first bubbles to break the surface to bake.
I forgot to mention that the dough moved extremely fast. It had some holes on the top of the dough and wondered it it was starting to over proof as Paul wrote in. See image below.
Looking for experienced opinions on whether this dough over proofed or not. The bread looks like it turned out OK to me, but want to learn...
There are two “tells”. First, the surface of the dough is pitted and rough because of bubbles rupturing as their pressure exceeds the paste's elasticity. Second, the top crust of the baked bread is slightly sunken, rather than remaining domed or even flat. Actually, there's a third: you can just see the beginnings of some compression in the bottom half-inch of the crumb.
Had you not gotten the bread into the oven for another fifteen minutes, all of those indicators would have been more severe. As it was, you caught it just in time.
For the next bake, the risen dough should look very much like the just-shaped dough except for being higher in the pan. If you see one or two pinholes in the surface, get it into the oven right away; it is fully proofed at that point and will only go downhill from there.
You are progressing into the world of rye breads in leaps and bounds. You'll find it hard to go back.
Yes, overproofed (but the result looks great anyway!). Perfect proofing time is when you see just a few holes appear.
Danny, your loaf looks gorgeous! Thank you so much to give it a try. I find the crumb looking much aerated than mine, it might be due to the type of flour and a better-undisturbed fermentation. I love it! With such a short time of fermentation is very easy to over ferment this dough and this might be the tricky part of this recipe, as your oven needs to be hot when the dough is ready. Very useful your experiment, thanks in a million!
Several comments. Room to experimant. Save a few slices of your finished bread (freeze) for the next loaf batch. One or two slices per loaf. Crumble into the weighed water either before elaborating the preferment or before mixing up the bread dough. While nice and wet crumble bread slice with fingers or a fork any large lumps. This not only gives a flavour boost but gives the matrix substance to block air rising in proofing dough.
100% rye loaves tend to rise straight up. Which means if the dough is leveled flat across the top while shaping, it will remain so while baking. Then when cooling, the center will fall somewhat. Tapered pans that are wider at the top exacerbate this effect. Try shaping the dough paste into a dome that is slightly higher in the middle, tapering down to the sides of the pan. This should correct the sinking in the middle along with the addition of altus (or already baked bread) and still let you have an open crum whether or not you decide to drop the hydration to 85%.
Mini Oven these are truly great tips! I knew about altus addition will improve the bread, but as this was my very first recipe with 100% rye, I wanted to keep it simple. I made it several times with just little changes to find an optimum method.
For me, you are the Bread God of my favourite God. It was Codruta's post who inspired me to try 100% rye bread, and back then, you were the one inspiring her. I, and we all in this community are so lucky to have you with such a great experience.
Just a big thank you!
to do so. Play with the flour to get to know it. Then you have a basis to compare. Thumbs up!
Sorry, no god genes here, just blue jeans. Each one, teach one and soon the ryesperts will double in volume.
Mini, are you suggesting that the hydration be lowered to 85%? I don’t know much about rye.
I’ve never tried altus, but it will be interesting to do so. Great comment about the flared sides of the baking pan. I wouldn’t have thought of that.
I am thrilled with the bread, but always looking to improve. You know, CIP... Anyone know what that (CIP) means?
Mini, while searching for a straight sided bread pan I can across an old post of yours but the links no longer work. Do you have a link for a straight sided pan that you would recommend?
Also, what percentage of Altus is recommended? I want to separate some rye bread out so it isn’t all inadvertently eaten :^)
while reviewing images of the bake I noticed the image below. The sides shrunk at the top and not the bottom. Wouldn’t the wider sides towards the top of the pan be more beneficial?
or at least found some new ones. Mark Sinclair got me onto the Walmart pans and they used to be very economical. It is dark metal makes narrow loaves that hold about (3x) 1.2k dough. Narrow and straight sides is key.
Last weeks loaf had 90g rye bread crumbs in it. It had 700g total flour. I usually aim for 60g altus per 500g flour. Which turns out to be about a slice per loaf. You can add more or less as you experiment. Fun part is you only have to add a tiny bit of water if the bread is a little dry, no messing with salt or other things because the altus is balanced. Should be anyway.
If you dry the slices ahead of using, just weigh and add back water to match the hydration of the dough. Or soak and squeeze the soaked slices using the water into the recipe. Example: 100g dried altus crumbs might need 85g water to toss into a 85% hydration rye dough.
Mini, unless I learn otherwise, I plan to mix the dry slice(s) using an immersion (stick) blender. Often with large amounts of rye levain an immersion blender is used to mix it and the water. It seems like a good time to also mix in chopped pieces of old bread. This should eliminate hydration concerns.
What do you think?
Perfect. Oh and altus tends to speed up fermentation a tiny bit. The bugs love the stuff!
Thank you for this post!
This is the first time I've ever attempted a 100% rye bread. I used my sourdough starter (not a rye starter), but other than that, kept to the formula. I used Bob's Red Mill Dark Rye Flour.
I prooved in the pan a bit longer than the recipe - 105 minutes. Maybe I should have stopped as soon as I saw the pin holes on the top.
My bread pan is rated for 450F (232C), so I baked for 20 minutes covered with a dutch oven at 450F and then 45 minutes at 390 (200C). I forgot to check the internal temp and I feel I could have baked it a bit longer. Wrapped in towels and waited for almost 24 hours.
Tasty! Enjoyed it with cream cheese, pickled red onions & sliced boiled eggs. Thanks again.
Any insights or tips based on the above or the picture below are greatly appreciated.
Pat yourself on the back! Oh heck, give yourself a big hug too! :)
30 hours of wait time (after baking) seems to be my sweet spot for taste.
I wish I had read all the comments here first, to know to bake when the _first_ pinholes appear. In hindsight, mine was over-fermented.
Now I'm sold on this recipe.
Good thing I ordered 25 pounds of rye berries! $25 from www.countrylifefoods.com, and free delivery to the local co-op coordinator.
Did you ever try this?