Sticky Dough & Brick with Uncooked Centre :(


Hi guys & gals, I'm a newbie & would appreciate your guidance here...

I've just made my second loaf of sourdough rye & both have had sticky starters, sticky dough & resulted in bricks with gluggy uncooked centres, which then required further cooking to cook through (thus overcooking the outside). I've attached a pic of yesterday's effort - that's a teaspoon for scale.

My first loaf was made from a rye starter given to me by an excellent artisan baker - he also gave me the basic recipe (I halved below quantities for my tin):


1kg fine rye flour

250g starter/levain

800ml water

20g salt

15ml olive oil

15ml molassas


Mix room temp starter, flour, lukewarm water, salt, oil & molassas for approx 20min. (I started with a spoon & then moved to hand 'kneading' - it was VERY sticky). I then put mixed dough in a bowl with slightly perforated clingwrap on top & left in a warmish place for 6-7hrs (it's winter here in Sydney, Australia).

When the dough had approx doubled I then gave it another knead/stretch & fold, then put it into an oiled 1.5L tin, covered with clingwrap, left in warm place for a few hours until it had risen approx 30-40%.

Then I placed this into pre-heated electric oven (fan off) at 200 deg. C for 25min (quickly spraying top with a bit of water after approx 15min & 25min) before lowering temp to 180deg. C for another 45min.

I tested with a bamboo skewer & it seemed cooked through but when I cut it open the centre was gluggy/uncooked, also the loaf had not risen at all - was quite dense. To salvage my loaf I covered with al-foil & further cooked at 150deg.C for another 30-40min (cooking the centre but overcooking the crust).


Any guidance re the sticky dough (which is impossible to 'knead' properly), & also the uncooked centre would be appreciated.





226 users have voted.


Muff 2010 June 30

Toasty, I've never tried a 100% rye, although I understand that some German bread is made that way; I may be mistaken. But the reason I've never tried it is because I was always told that it's essential to have wheat flour to provide some gluten. I've made a few batches that were 2/3 rye, but I didn't expect much volume and I didn't get it. 50% rye is doable, but touchy, at least in my experience.

I wonder if you'd like to try again with half rye, half wheat. You should get much different results.

Good luck,


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2010 June 30

 This is the post where I learned most of what I needed to know to make a 100% Rye bread.  You can also look at how I made a 100% Rye bread.  

Yes 100% rye is sticky and is different than wheat so you have to get used to handling it.  There isn't a whole lot of gluten in it so long kneading isn't going to help develop the gluten.  Skip the stretch and folds as it is doing nothing.  A long bake at lower temperatures should get the bread done.  It will take a few days for the crumb to set up, I cut mine after three days.

Toasty 2010 June 30

Thanks for explaining that these challenges with100% rye are to be expected.

Thanks also for the links to Rye recipes & notes.

I'll try 50/50 Rye/Spelt next time.


Any tips wor woking with sticky Rye dough?


EricD's picture
EricD 2010 July 3



I would like to give some precisions to the comments.


First of all, rye contains gluten. It is just that the rye gluten is a "bad" gluten considering its physical properties compared to wheat gluten. This is due to the fact that gluten doesn't mean always the same thing. The gluten is an association of two proteins, gliadine and glutenine, which can present some differences depending of the grain and which can be associated with different proportions. So, that means the gluten of the rye is not the same as the wheat's one or spelt or even barley...

Secondly, you can make a rye loaf without wheat, 100 % rye. You just need to adapt your process.


Looking at your photo, the loaf looks, a-priori, over proofed. The rye dough is something delicate and needs a lot of attention.


You shouldn't leave a so long bulk proofing. Usually, traditional methods for rye breads include a high proportion of leaven (until 50 %) but almost no bulk proofing or not all and a short proofing (no more than 1 or 2 hours maximum at a standard temperature). A little tip, when the top of the loaf starts to crackle, it's time to bake it.

Pay attention to the quality of your starter. If it collapsed in its container, don't use it in your dough. Refresh it and use it at the apogee of its fermentation, not later. A lot of bakers, even professional, make a confusion between leaven (or sourdough) and rotten dough.


Concerning the kneading, you should reduce it. Try to knead it only for 10 min, it should be far enough.


Avoid to put molasses in your recipe. It increases the speed of the fermentation and, personally, I don't like molasses... ;-)

There is no need of oil as well, remove it.



Concerning the baking, if you use your kitchen oven, I would suggest to keep the fan on for a tin bread. Be careful, a home oven doesn't have the same properties as a professional one, you have to make some tries and see what time and temperature are the best. Usually, a fan oven need between 20 and 40 °c less than a deck oven.

Don't forget to put a bowl of water in your oven.

I would recommend to pre-heat it at 240°c and, after loading, bake at 200°c maximum.

A rye bread needs a long time to bake properly. For 600 g of dough you should need around 45 to 55 min (in a tin). Bigger is your loaf, longer is the time and lower is the baking temperature.

To protect the top of your loaf from over cooking and to give it a nice aspect, dust it sifting rye flour before the proofing.


When your bread is baked, allow it to cool down completely. I would even recommend to appreciate it the next day, it would be even better.


I hope this will help you to get the loaf you're looking for.



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