rye bread




Rye bread


Yesterday I mixed:

-250 gr. wheat strarter 100% hydration

-100 gr. water

-200 gr. rye flour

-1 heaping tsp salt

-1 egg (10 gr)

The dough was very sticky. I mixed it for a few minutes with my hands, it was hard to knead. I then covered it with a plastic bag and put it in the fridge. It was 17:00.

Today at 09:00 I took it out. It looked like it hadn't risen, so I let it sit on the table at room temperature. 

At 13:00 I checked it, and it was all spongy inside when cut with a knife. So I carefully transfered it into a dish lined with lightly oiled baking paper, smoothed the top with water and sprinkled it with rye flour.

I let it rest in a cold oven.

At 13:40 I turned the oven on (with the dough inside) to 200c, with the blower and a pan of water.

14:25 It began to smell good so I took it out. It was all brown on top, but I thought it wasn't cooked inside because a knife didn't come out clean when inserted. So I returned it to the oven, but this time not in the dish.

At 14:40 I took it out and it was done.


 Although the air bubbles were smal, the texture was nice and springy. It tasted wholesome. 




jem 2010 September 15

nice one.

I always like to see a 100% rye. I love it toasted and spread with a pesto or something savoury- yum!

It is a whole different ball game though isn't it.

I don't knead mine at all (I just mix and rise once in the pan), because I gather the starch network is more important than the gluten, so in some ways it is like a cake, but comes out with the structure of bread!

I gather the biggest enemy of rye structure is the enzymes in the flour which break down starch structure, so I would be worried about leaving it overnight unless I was going to add a lot of fresh flour in the morning.

Anyway, yours has a really nice look about it, thanks for sharing!

Zipora 2010 September 16

Thanks for the coment.

What exactly is the starch network? I mean, how does it affect the bread?

And are there really enzymes in the rye flour that break down the starch network? And wheat flour doen't have those enzymes? It sound interesting and I'm kind of curious.

jem 2010 September 17

I certainly found it fascinating. I tried everything I knew about wheat bread and it just wasn't working. Eventually I did some serious research until I could satisfy myself that I knew what was going on, and hey presto, I could make rye bread!

This is my understanding of it:

Rye is capable of gluten formation but not much. I think it is missing one of the proteins for proper gluten formation. Most of the structure in rye bread comes from networks of start molecules. They don't really benifit from kneading. You know that fragile, airy texture that well proofed rye bread has? It doesn't stretch like gluten. It's closer to gluten free breads (which often replace gluten with starch), or cakes. So I stopped treating it like gluten.

Anyway, to me the other key was the enzymes. The grain stores sugars as starch, and on germinating cuts the staches back into the component sugars with enzymes. One of the characteristics of rye and the climate it grows in, is that when they harvest often some of the grain has started to germinate, releasing enzymes that break down starch, and the final flour carries this enzymatic activity. This is why people like to add rye to new starters - because it helps to release sugars from the flour for the starter bugs to eat.

Anyway, the problem for bread is that these enzymes break down the starch network that gives the bread structure.


There are two things one can do about this.

1- minimise proofing time so the enzymes don't have time to work. An instant yeast, direct dough rye bread with a single proof in the pan is fairly easy to get right.

2 - acid inhibits the enzymes, so of you are going to go for long slow fermentations, make sure conditions are acid. One way to do this is to build the dough in stages. If you just add a bit of starter to a whole lot of flour and water, the water activates the enzymes and they get busy before the starter can make things acid and stop the enzymatic breakdown. But if you have some starter and triple it, then triple it again when it has had time to multiply, you keep a fairly constant acid environment and the enzymes never really go to work. The "detmolder" 3 stage process for rye runs along these principles. My very rough version of it is that I start with a good acid starter, then build it by adding about twice as much flour again and leaving it for however long it takes, say 6 hours. Up till now the whole process has been at 100% hydration. For the final stage I will double or triple the weight in flour, add salt to make the final mix ~1.8% salt, and water to make the final mix ~80% hydration. I give it a good mix, and put it in a pan to rise (a wet spoon is my friend!).

The last factor for crumb development in rye is the salt. I don't know exactly why, but its important, so if in doubt, tend towards the upper range (2%)


Anyway, as you can tell I find it fascinating! Hope I have replied to your question and not too many others along the way!

Zipora 2010 September 17

That was an excellent answer, thanks. I feel rye bread comes out sweeter than wheat bread, maybe it's because the enzymes release the sugars from the starch.

I have made today another rye bread. The taste was so good, but it was too moist inside. Maybe the oven was too hot.

Anyway, thanks for the answer, now it's much more clear to me.

jem 2010 September 17

No worries, glad to be of use to someone.

You're spot on about the reason why rye is sweeter.

The moisture is a tricky balance, and you're probably right that maybe a longer slower bake would help. Its also said that you shouldn't cut  rye bread till the day after you bake it, and I've heard reputable sources say two days!


I don't know about you, but I've found this does improve the bread.


I wish I could be baking myself and sharing pics, but my oven is out of comission!

masterbaker 2010 September 30


Hey Australia!

Try to start feeding a rye starter!!

You should always at least ferment 30% of the rye flour!!

It has to do with enzymes!

There should be a ratio of 70 % lactic acid and 30% acetic acid in your rye sour.

Keep feeding it for several days, it should taste and smell a bit like sour apples ;o).

I love that smell!!!

Mix your dough for a few minutes, let it rest for 45 min then shape and give final proof in a basket, seam-side down.

When you are able to poke a dimple in the surface and it does not even out again you are good to go,

Have the oven preheated (as hot as you can, around 250°C) roll the loaf of bread out of the basket (now seam-side up) onto your peel and into the oven!!

Turn down heat to 210°C

Make sure you have enough steam,

Crack the oven door open after 5 min and let the steam escape so the crust can start to form!

Halfway thru the bake take a soft brush with water and brush down the rye flour on you bread, it should get pasty.

This will make an even better and shinier crust!!

And please give it more colour, really dark!!!

If want to have an extra sensation try to use some ground caraway, ground fennel seeds, ground anis seeds and ground cardamom seeds in the dough.

Here in Germany we call them "bread spices" and almost every rye-recipe calls for some of these spices ;o)

Have fun, peace, Rene

Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2010 October 1

Absolutely!  Line it with an old tea towel and dust with rye flour - perfect!

thanks for the great input masterbaker, the whole reason I got started on making sourdough was because I missed the great bread I ate in Germany whilst living there.  Ich liebe roggenbrot!!  Aber, have found a whole bunch of other really great sourdough breads that I love just as much.  Vielen dank.


Happiness is making bread

rossnroller 2010 October 1

[quote=karniecoops]the whole reason I got started on making sourdough was because I missed the great bread I ate in Germany whilst living there.  Ich liebe roggenbrot!!  Aber, have found a whole bunch of other really great sourdough breads that I love just as much.


Exactly the same story with me, Karen. German bread was nothing less than a revelation to me, and I've been in quest of bread of that quality ever since. Who'd have thought the solution was only as far away as the kitchen? Took me far too many years to stumble on home baking of SD bread, but I am so thankful I finally did. And as you say, once you enter this amazing world, you come to realise that there are many, many gorgeous breads out there just waiting for you...and many generous home bakers on artisan bread sites like this one happy and willing to share their knowledge. I can't imagine life without home baked SD bread now...and I sure don't want to!

Best of baking all!

aaaburke 2010 October 24

Since sprouting activates enzymes and converts starch to sugar and sugar feed bacteria, would making a starter by sprouting rye berries and griding them or using some portion of sprouted rye at any time of the procedure create more sour dough?

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