Rye Sourdough Bake-Off

Of late, I've been baking more and more with rye since I've a german neighbour for 2 months. First, a small finger in, with a few tablespoons of rye, then I started baking from a rye starter, and the latest, almost half rye plus spelt. Interestingly, many rye bread recipes ask you to throw in that teaspoonful of instant yeast. Is it a valid crutch? I just ignored that bit and went full sourdough. Hey, whaddya know? It came out fine, with a pretty decent spring.

Please, please help me explore more on rye breads. I know there are braver ones amongst us who go full rye. And, why not? Rye breads pack so much (complex) flavour I'm thinking if I'll ever go rye-less again.

Let's celebrate this bake-off come-back with drool-inducing loaves!


 Great idea TP.  Time to get a rye starter going.  I have an idea I want to explore.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot


Since I feed my white starter Rye I usually get Bobs Red Mill Organic Dark Rye however.... Every once in a while my best Cheap source runs dry so I am almost out of Rye.   Maybe I can substitute some Flakes... humm.  I'm still up for it but it might take a couple of days to source some flour or Flakes.  So are we talking all rye, mostly rye or any percent rye?

One thing for sure,  a good Loaf of Rye goes so well with Corned Beef!! And it is almost Saint Patricks Day after all! 



You really are what you eat, so eat wisely...

Ask your neighbours if they like schwarzbrot- 100% whole rye meal, 100% whole ryemeal starter.


I can help with that one.

You sure know how to make a person hungry! Rye bread and corned beef! YUM! And, for St Patricks! Gotta love these celebrations all over the world which we can jump right in and participate.


I've got a bag of Bob's dark rye too. Haven't opened it yet. Before, I used generic organic medium rye. All up to you how much rye you wanna put in your bread. It'll take me a couple of days to sort out what I want to bake. Will be busy today with cherry custard tarts.

Sounds a bit daunting, Dave. She may like it but my family may find it some getting used to. I've to meet them in the middle as I'll be baking enough for all. But, why not, indeed?


 ill post some pictures so I'm not all talk :P i stated off with a white starter easier to get going then after a week or 2 went into adding rye as % of my flour weight adding 10% each feed i found that once i got to 70%rye 30% white it starts to get week and i get lees bloom with it. but soon ill have it worked out :) i feed mine 70g rye 30g white to 50g leaven and 100g water.

Although we love pix, talk about bread is good for us to explore together its wonders. I used to keep as many as 5 jars of starter in the fridge. A bit more confident now, I just keep one plain starter, use that as a base to refresh with whatever flour when I want to bake. For rye, I'd just give it 2 feeds with all rye. Cummins, why do you have that mix? 

One of these days, I'm going to experiment with baking using:

a) a rye starter plus plain flour for the dough

b) plain starter plus rye flour for the dough

and see how the flavour develops. Perhaps some of you have done it before. Which did you prefer?



 Just a picture of my Rye Starter all ready to go.

Rye Starter

I just hope the bread turns out okay as it has been a long time since I have baked with this much rye.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot


Are you doing a full rye loaf, LD?

 No TP that is just my preferment for the loaf.  Looks like a lot doesn't it?  The loaf will end up being 39% Rye.  I might go for a higher percentage next time, maybe even to 100%.  You might like to read this thread as it explains what I'm doing to make this bread.  I'm substituting Rye for the Whole Wheat in the preferment.  The dough just finished the bulk ferment and it looked outstanding.  I was surprised as I didn't know what to expect.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot


Greetings all,

Just to let you know that I have decided to go all or nothing for a 100% rye loaf.  Wish me luck as this will be a first.

The starter look OK, so I am very hopeful.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of SuperRye.


I was having some problems loading two pictures at a time, so I only loaded 1.  But I noticed you were having a similar problem in LeadDog's Fred Bread post.   I was waiting to comment till I can see what you were talking about. 

Maybe Maedi can look at them and give a suggestion.  I want more picture... I need more picture!!!  Maedi... Wo bist du?  Where are you, we are baking Rye and we want pictures!!  Terri

You really are what you eat, so eat wisely...

 Your starter looks great!

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot


 Oh the bread turned out okay.  Now I just have to wait before I cut it.

Rye Bread

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot


Often the term 100% rye has been equated to Bricks... If you are not certain of your skills go for less than 50% Rye Flour to test the waters.  And prepare to knead the stickiest glop you have ever seen!  But, if well executed the taste, as long as you can cut your bread, is amazing!

Adding Jane of Au Levain's Link - if your language is not English or French, she has other Translations...


You will have to search for Rye or pain de seigal on the right or try the following to see her article on Rye baking

Boulanger avec la farine de seigle/ Baking with rye flour

As for me, just cause it is easy, I will do my Apple Rye first - but Pierre Nury's is a great choice too and I have not done it in a while.  By the way I still had one more bag of Bob's Dark organic Rye so I am raring to go!



You really are what you eat, so eat wisely...

Terri...for sharing that bit on rye. I'll be doing a 50% rye (black bread). And, THANK YOU, LD, for that handsome loaf. Details and crumb pix, please! Can't wait!

 TP the first bite was just WOW.  I don't know what it is about making bread like that but I get more flavor out of the flour doing it that way.  The crumb had small pea size holes in it.  Now to get my courage up to go for a higher Rye percentage.  The really scary part is the picture of my preferment has a hydration of 175%.  The rye flour absorbed all of the water.  I think for a 100% Rye bread I'm going to have to increase my hydration more than I was expecting.  


TP details?  Did you read how I make Fred Bread?  This is made that same way as that bread is made the only difference is that instead of whole wheat flour for the preferment I used used whole rye flour.  The preferment is 944 grams at 175% hydration, 600 grams of water and 343 grams of rye flour and 2 grams of my storage starter.  I let that ferment for 24 hours and then add 16 grams of salt and 540 grams of bread flour.  That is how the dough is made.  The rest is just the normal bread making stuff.

Rye Crumb

It was a great bread to have for St. Patrick's Day.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot


If we could just taste a little bit...  LeadDog - that is a lot of preferment - what was total dough weight! ?

You really are what you eat, so eat wisely...

 Yes it is a lot of preferment but it was one of my crazy ideas that I really like.  You can make your own if you want a taste.    The total dough weight was 1500 grams.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot


Greetings bakers-off (or should that be baker-offs?)

I have to admit that I piked out of the idea of making my loaf free form.  The comments about the characteristics of 100% rye dough were spot on.  Although the French lady did seem to manage.

Anyhow, the long and short of it is that I baked in a tin.  Which isn't so bad really - the class I went to in Italy, they baked the 100% rye in a tin.

Here's how it turned out.

The rise in the tin was pretty good, but there was absolutely no oven spring.  It will be interesting to see how it cuts.

But that is for another day.


I'll be baking a batch on Tuesday, pics will follow.

The weather here is a bit crazy.. usually we are getting our last big snow.  But today we were out cleaning up the yard in t-shirts!  My starter is trying to make it's summer adjustment for warm weather already, it's a little Hyperactive.  So my first loaf was a little overproofed even though I put it in the Fridge right away.  I have a new way of slashing overproofed bread that helps. Also it had risen to the top of the pan so I was afraid to let it warm up so the crumb turned out a little moister than it should have.  I'll post pictures and then add them.



You really are what you eat, so eat wisely...

All your breads look soooooo good!


Quite shy about posting my bread, but, what the hey! I definitely made a couple of bad decisions here. 1) this bread is much too complex, should hv just done a plain rye. This one has cocoa, coffee, molasses, cummin seeds, grated carrot, 50:50 dark rye:plain. It's tweaked from Dan Lepard's Black Bread. 2) Baked it free form. Crazy for a bread with 72% hydration (and, a bit got stuck to the banneton...which got it deflated somewhat.) Baking from a cold oven didn't help either. I'm not sure if I'll bake this bread again. The flavours were a bit too much for me. Methinks it'll go very well with a chicken curry. ;)


I'll be travelling for most of the rest of the week. I'm going to throw in another loaf next week. Thanks for posting the link, LD. I have a lot of catching up to do with the older posts.




I tried a Rye once with coffee and cocoa... I wasn't sure about the flavor either.  The Ohio Apple rye is only about 20-25% rye, but the White Whole Wheat helps make it more whole grain.   http://sourdough.com/recipes/ohio-apple-rye-white-wheat


Today I am doing a 50/50  rye spliting everything down the middle and using an approximation of my everyday bread recipe - that doesn't usually contain Rye. I am also a bit of a chicken like Farinam, and will stick to loaf pans for the 1st attempt. 238g of 100% hydration starter, half rye and half white.  300 g of water and 8g of salt, then added 450 grams of flour, half unbleached bread and half dark whole organic rye. After today I will have to find some more rye flour, before I can try again - so hopefully this batch goes well.  The other loaf lets say... didn't turn out too badly, because it is almost gone today!



You really are what you eat, so eat wisely...

 Both of those breads look yummy.  I want a slice!

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot


I came across this description of the method used in german bakeries to develop a richer flavour in rye bread. I tried it when I made my Christmas breads, and I can tell you the flavour was incredible. The advice is to begin with just 2-3 grams of your active starter (or you could end with 10 Kgs of starter!)

German Rye fermentation method in three steps (Dreistufen-Sauerteigführung)

1rst feed:  Refresh. It increases the yeast growth
1 + 1 + 1 (starter, flour, water)
time: 6 hours
temp: 25ºC
2nd feed: Acidification: it develops the sourness of the dough
1 + 5 + 3 (starter, flour, water)
time: 8 hours
temp: 23º-25ºC
3rd feed: Complete acidification: it develops lactic acid aromas
1+ 1,2 + 1,4 (starter, flour, water)
time: 3 hours
temp: 30ºC



This method sounds vaguely similar to a description that I read about three stage builds (see my blog on Starter/levain Building Spreadsheet) although it didn't talk so much about the flavour aspects that I recall.  It was also in the context of changing the starter hydration to suit a recipe if it was different from your stock.

I have used the method without changing the hydration as well but I am not sure that I have absolutely detected a flavour benefit.  But then again I have never been able to do a side by side comparison.

Hope to have my rye crumb shots later today.


Thanks, lluisanunez. Hmm...I think I'll give it a go next week. Would that be full rye?

Yes I did it with full rye, but I can't see why it shouldn't work with clear or white rye...  

What's clear rye?


What's clear rye?


Sorry, TeckPoh, my fault. Here we call "clear" or "semi" the flour that is between 85% and 90% extraction

Terri, the bread's not sweet. The dominant flavour is bitter (!) with a background sour. My german neighbour ate it and said, "So nice...so nice!" The flavour is really puzzling...it's not my ideal bread flavour and yet it's so interesting, I'm eating piece after piece.


Go, bake-offers/bakers-offs (whatever), Go!

Hi guys,

I had the same thought when I tasted mine for the first time today - a hint of bitterness - and I can't blame any other additives so it must be down to the pure rye flour.

Any how, here is the long awaited crumb-shot.