When is rye bread, rye bread?

Fred Rickson


 Anyone else wonder about following a thread on sourdough rye bread, and coming to the end with AP, enriched white, or maybe whole wheat flour in a four or five to one ratio to rye flour.  I bring this up because I am on the high end of the game with a 75-80%  rye component, and my loaves can be bricks if I don't add some pure gluten and proofed yeast at specific times during the build.  You might not even call them loaves unless you get a little square with some lox and cream cheese at a party.  Then you feel the bite of sour 80%.  On the other hand, for a very long time my favorite nosh has been a Reuben sandwich....even a Florida Keys variety made with lobster or grouper.  Here we need a loaf that at least looks like sandwich bread.  Fifty percent rye, with some bite and flavor is work, but produces a Reuben that works. So, no real point to this post, just a comment to you rye bakers out there to hang in there.  From a two inch high loaf, with a very tight crumb, to a photogenic beauty, all rye efforts are worth it.  Anybody have some good rye stories?....and yes, I am jealous of the pictures of those great, perfect sourdough loaves.   Fred 
14 users have voted.


davo 2013 January 16

Most of my sourdoughs have some rye in them (wholegrain stone-ground, it has a mix of particle sizes in it). I usually make my SD loaves around 10% rye. My preference is for around 25-30% but my kids like it less than they like lower percentages! I have made 100% rye loaves a few times, with some soaked whole rye berries mixed in, and a tiny starter amount. I can get reasonable crumb and make a free-form loaf (proved in a banetton) up to around 50-60%, but after that it does start to become a bit gluey and dense.

The 100% was baked in a tin - tasted great and did have some little holes in, but required about 2 days sitting in a plastic bag after baking before the brick-hard crust re-absorbed some of the moisture from inside the loaf, and I could slice very thinly with a super sharp carbon steel knife. Very good in little squares with Gravlax, cream cheese gherkin and an extra sprig of dill! But you wouldn't make a standard "sandwich" out of it.

Once over about 70% rye, I find that the gluten is so low that you are effeectively mixing rather than kneading - it's more like handling thick toothpaste than springy dough. I find the easiest way to handle high rye percentage mixes is to use olive oil on bench and hands.

davo 2013 January 16

PS I think if you click on my name you can see the few photos I have ever put in my album on here, which include one of my 100% rye-in-tin efforts, and some underproved 30% loaves that came out of a banetton.

Fred Rickson 2013 January 17


Slacker I have read that piece several times and still can't understand how the loaf gets that lift.  My crumb looks identical, but my lift seems to be about a third less.  Our mix and technique seem nearly identical.  Actually, I have a build going now using about half Bob's Red Mill pumpernickel rye meal, and half Bob's Dark Rye.  I have never used the course pumpernickel grind before so maybe this will give a little more lift while retaining a strong rye taste. A rye loaf is never boring to make.  As I said in another thread, every so often I make a loaf of standard sourdough just to see it "erupt" during the final rise, and then stay there during the bake. Take care.

Post Reply

Files must be less than 64 MB.
Allowed file types: png gif jpg jpeg.


  • Allowed HTML tags: <p> <br> <a> <img> <em> <strong> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <table> <thead> <th> <tbody> <td> <tr> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

Plain text

  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.