Thursday, February 16, 2012

That sticky business making a 100% Rye Sourdough Loaf

Just one note before I start: I wouldn't recommend to start with a bread like this if you haven't done a couple of wheat or wheat/rye mix (not more than 20% rye) breads. Same as I wouldn't recommend to start your cheese making hobby with a Gruyere.

My friend Joa (short for the German name Joachim) is talking about his 100% Rye Sourdough a lot. And if you talk a lot about bread to me I eventually kick into action and switch on the oven. He did it again yesterday in his comment to this post about making a sourdough starter. So late yesterday evening (actually a bit too late) I switched on my new MyWeigh KD8000 (I can never wait long to play with a new toy) and threw together a 100 % Rye.

Let me tell you, forget all you ever thought you know about kneading a dough when you do a 100% Rye. That flour behaves totally different. First you need more moisture. This leads to more stickiness. You will never get a window pane test done with a 100% Rye sourdough. It rises very slowly. You don't get the stretchy-ness like with a wheat dough. Forming it into a ball resembles a blob of concrete. Honestly, I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoy my other bread making. Its like kneading glue. And yes, I admit, I used the machine. But then I got most of the dough sticking to the side of the bowl. So I had to stop it again and again and remove the dough with a scraper form the side of the bowl. Once finished I did some kneading by hand. Or should I say I covered my hand completely with rye dough?

But is it worth it? Absolutely! 100 % Rye is so different to Wheat - Rye mix or 100% Wheat. The sourness comes through much more. The whole house is actually smelling of sourness right now. And the flavors are just - well completely different. You need to try it.

Ok lets get on with the recipe:

1000g Rye Flour (I actually milled my own) (100%)
650 gm Water (65%)
400 gm Rye Sourdough Starter (mine is 100% hydration) (40%)
25 gm rock salt (2.5%)

Add the flour and the sourdough starter in your mixing bowl. Rub together like you would do for crumbles.

Add salt and water and mix together.

Knead the dough for 10 minutes (I used the machine, 2 minutes on slow, 8 minutes on fast)

Form the dough into a ball (yeah right!), put back into the bowl, cover and let ferment at 21 deg C for one hour.

Remove from the bowl and fold over to degas. (Still sticky, eh?)

Let rest for another hour.

Remove from the bowl. (Sticky, sticky, sticky!)

Prepare two bannetons. Flour them thoroughly (remember the dough is sticky!). I use some spraying cooking oil and then flour them.
Bannetons covered with a stretchable cover

Split dough in half, form a (sticky)  ball and put seam-side up into the bannetons and cover with a wet cloth.

Let proof for 12 hours or overnight at 10 - 12 deg C.

Put the bannetons somewhere drought free and at room temperature (21 deg C) and let proof some more for not more than 2 hours. Do the proof test, poke a dent into the dough. If it springs out immediately you over-prooved (not much you can do, you bread will be flat) if it stays in it needs some more time. If it comes out slowly but not completely it is ready.
After proofing

Bake at 250 deg C for 20 minutes, rotate the loaves halfway through by 180 deg.

Bake another 10 minutes but switch the oven down to 200 deg C

Let cool for at least one hour (Important! Seriously, suppress the desire to cut a bread while still warm. The baking process with almost all bread has finished when the bread is cool. If you want a warm bread with butter running down your fingers, put it in a toaster!)

The dough was sticking to the side of the banneton a bit.As you can see on the side, it ripped the dough when tipping it out of the bannetons.
The bread has a nice hard crust, the crump is quite good but not as fluffy as with wheat. The oven rise also isn't that extensive so the bread stays a bit low (I wouldn't call it "flat" though). As expected the sourness is quite strong compared to a wheat or wheat/rye mix. The taste? Delicious!
100 % Rye Sourdough
Submitted to YeastSpotting


  1. Your bread looks like it turned out great! Rye bread certainly can be a pain to work with but once you get used to it, it's not too bad. You have to resist the urge to add more flour or you end up with a brick. I find using spray oil on the prep surface and on my hands makes it much easier to deal with.


  2. Hey Peter

    I feel honored that you mention me in your awesome blog - and even more so that I was the reason for you trying to make a rye bread :-)
    And what can I say? It looks awesome! I have actually given up on 100% rye breads a bit - and funny enough the main reason for it is you and all those yummy looking breads that you make :-) That way the circle is complete, don't you think?