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 
112 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.

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