80% Rye Bread with a Rye Flour Soaker Part 1

Last of the ryes for me this month!

This Jeffrey Hamelman rye bread was made with Bacheldre organic stone ground rye, a much coarser sort of rye than the usual Shipton Mill one I use.  This bread is made with a rye flour soaker and a rye sourdough.

A rye flour soaker?  A soaker is when you pre-soak one of the ingredients of your bread; could be linseeds, could be whole grains, could be an old crust of a nice loaf. In this bread the soaker is a quantity of rye flour, covered in boiling water and mixed up and left overnight.  The boiling water gelatinizes the flour and it has a remarkable effect on the final bread.  It’s no more trouble than making the sourdough the night before and it changes the character of the bread noticeably giving a smooth, sweeter quality to the crumb. I think they must do this a lot in German rye breads as that is what this sort of rye reminds me of.

In Part 2: The crumb shot and my mother’s recipe for Gravad Lax

12 thoughts on “80% Rye Bread with a Rye Flour Soaker Part 1

  1. Choclette

    Ahh, interesting tip for the soaker Joanna. This is one I could easily try. Bachaldre Mill Rye is the very one I use for my weekly loaf.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Give it a go Choclette, i’d be interested to know if you notice any difference. I think you don’t want to use more than 10 -20% of the total weight of your flour as a soaker in this way.

  2. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Jo, that is interesting – until the recent cornbread you posted, I’d never soaked flours before. Then I made Dan’s BBQ buns where the semolina is soaked. So could I just make my standard recipe and instead of adding rye flour with the bakers flour (I don’t make a straight rye), instead add presoaked rye flour and adjust the liquid accordingly?

    Hope that all makes sense, I’m only just awake.. :)

    Thanks, Celia

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      If you want to… you can do it with white flour too… it makes the bread sweeter. I have a feeling they use this method of pre-gelatinizing a proportion of flour in chinese breads to take advantage of the extra sweetness it brings to the bread. It’s good with rye in particular because rye can have quite a strong dark flavour in high proportions and this softens that taste somewhat. I have no idea what it would do to your standard recipe or how it might affect your spelt/white sourdough. I just looked through a rather technical document on the subject here. But you have to be awake to read it. I’m thinking about that hazelnut chocolate of yours right now. If I could just have a little nibble…. damn why do you live on the other side of the globe? :)

      1. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

        If I lived any closer, I would do what Gill did and put my dough in the boot of the car and drive to your place to bake it. :)

        The hazelnut chocolate is ridiculously easy – even if you just melt chocolate and stir in Nutella – worst you could end up with is an amazing hazelnut chocolate spread. But if you get your trusty bread thermometer out and stick it in the melted choc, and just wait until the temp drops to 31C before adding the Nutella, then it should set quite well. Maybe not quite as good as if it was tempered, but fine to keep in the fridge!

  3. cityhippyfarmgirl

    I’m off my game. A run of hideous cooking efforts this week has deflated my ego. When its back I will keep this bread in mind. I love any of the ryes, great photo.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Time to do something else maybe Brydie? – we had bought pasta tortelloni and home made tomato sauce for supper last night. We spent an age on the Downs throwing toys for the dogs and watching the sun go down and it was far too late to consider cooking efforts by the time we got back in. No forward planning had occurred and we wanted something quick. Hope the weekend is going well !

  4. heidiannie

    Can I do a soaker and a sponge (sorry- do you call it a poulish?) with the same bread?
    I love sourdough rye but am not satisfied with the crumb of mine yet.
    I’m going to try it tonight.
    Thanks for the tip/information- you have a of wealth of bread sense!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Heidi – I guess you could. Is the sponge part made with yeast or with a sourdough? What sort of bread do you have in mind – there is a sort of tipping point with rye and wheat flours in a loaf, If you go over 40 % rye then it becomes quite different to handle and the crumb is different accordingly. If you keep 60 per cent wheat in the loaf, although you still have a strong rye flavour and some change to the texture the dough handles more like a wheat loaf. You will see the pic of the crumb of this 80% today, is that what you want or something more open and lighter in colour and texture, in which case use less rye, I usually do, as I don’t make these high rye loaves very often.

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