70% Rye with Swiss Dark Flour and Rye Chops

Rye bread takes the air...

These rye breads with a high proportion of rye flour and grains are not to everyone’s taste. They are however, enormously popular in Germany and other northern European countries, but I suspect have a relatively small fanbase in England where tastes run to stoneground wholemeal wheat and malted granary loaves, rather than to rye and sourdough when people want a brown bread. The idea that brown bread and in particular wholemeal wheat is ‘good for you’ has been studiously promoted over the years here, but rye is rare in the English diet, apart from in Ryvita crackers!

If you are used to sweet fluffy white bread then this is the complete opposite, a substantial strong taste with a distinctive texture and mouth feel. You might like it, but the odds are fairly high that you won’t if you’ve never had this sort of bread before.

I was brought up to eat these breads, but B refuses to eat them. He just doesn’t like the way they taste.  Fortunately, I have lovely German friends who are happy to take them off my hands and give them a good home.  I like making them but I can’t eat my way through all this bread, so the only answer is to share the bread around with those who love it! I don’t know if I will make all the rye breads in Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman, but I will certainly make some of them as they turn up at Mellow Bakers and next time I will remember to scale down the recipe! Jeffrey Hamelman’s rye recipes are really well crafted and I always enjoy making them. They work. What more can I say?

Baking Notes:

I used a lovely flour from Shipton Mill which they call Swiss Dark Flour for the wholegrain part of this dough and some of their chopped rye for pumpernickel. They don’t always have the chopped rye in stock, so check before you make the trip.

The dough was soft and sticky but did show some development, though nothing like a wheat based dough would. I didn’t bother with shaping, but spooned it, blob by thick blob, into the tin, smoothed it down with a dough scraper, and sprinkled a bit of rye flour on the top.  The dough took about two hours to double in height at which point I baked it.

I was pleased with how it came out, nice height, visible aeration, the soaked rye chops were soft, apart from where they were a bit hard on the top crust, and the bread held together well.   I did reweigh the soaked chops before I mixed them in the dough and drained some of the excess water away. I have made similar breads before and if they are too wet they don’t cook too well.   I hope my bread is happy in its new home.

Rye bread crumb shot

12 thoughts on “70% Rye with Swiss Dark Flour and Rye Chops

  1. Oggi

    It’s a beauty! I love the crumb and its color.

    I’m a new convert to high percentage rye sourdough. I used to not like it but as I baked it more often it’s slowly becoming a favorite.

  2. Abby

    I think it looks lovely! And I was so happy for your comment about spooning the dough into the pan . . . it saved me! =)

  3. Annalisa

    Looks lovely! I adore rye bread, spesh topped with nut butters and maybe a bit of banana. Difficult to find the proper stuff here in Suffolk which is why I turned to making my own artisan bread. Know what you mean about not being able to eat the whole loaf though. But I love how it takes time to eat and chew it, iyswim.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Thanks Annalisa! I don’t know Suffolk well, but I know that there aren’t many artisan bakers on the North Norfolk coast, in fact I can’t think of one…

      I was thinking about the size of this loaf and when I have made similar doughs I have tried splitting them into smaller tins and then freezing it, I haven’t found it defrosts that well, loses something in the process….

  4. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    I always want to say something like “It’s bread, Jim, but not as we know it….”

    Oggi, you are a rare being! This bread is good with a nice slather of cold butter on it and interesting strong flavoured toppings and sliced thinly. I would never toast it though…..

    Abby, that’s great to hear :)

    Because this one is made with all the rye flour component of the dough being in the pre-ferment or sour and the non rye added to the final mix, it avoids ‘the starch attack’ problem that is common with these breads. English bakers (not the artisan variety, I hasten to add !) tend to offer a rye bread that is made incorrectly, that tastes pasty and has the texture of a brick, this of course does nothing for the rye’s reputation!

    Heidi and Celia, It is toothsome and when newly baked and cut, sticky as well; all the books say leave for 24 hours before cutting. The only thing I can think has a similar sort of need is something like a heavy fruit cake or a cake made with a high proportion of ground nuts, these too always benefit from being left a while to settle down. Nut based cakes’ flavour seems to improve hugely after a day or two.

  5. Blue

    You are one courageous baker!
    I tremble at the thought of a seriously high percentage rye loaf after my first brick-producing experience, but each bake teaches something new and now I know what a ‘starch attack’ is.
    And as usual, your loaf looks perfect Joanna.

    I hope to re-join you mellow explorers soon – I have found a shop here that will bring in Allinson’s strong and very strong white bread flour for me; should be here next week:) In the meantime, I found a bag of Hovis strong white and the loaf I made with it yesterday is retarding at 6°c. It has risen much more than any of the loaves I’ve ever made using the low protein flour I can find here. Will keep you posted (that is if the workers installing my kitchen don’t pull the plug on my loaf – they have been warned!)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      How exciting, importing flour! I’ve just been to a Vietnamese and a Chinese supermarket in search of bleached flour. I have bought two bags of flour, one labelled Golden Orchid and the other something lIke Golden Dragon, but the actual origin of the flour it doesn’t say, one says packed in somewhere in London and the other says nothing at all! So we’ll see…..

      I think you should steer clear of the high ryes for now though. Just a feeling that it isn’t really your taste…it certainly isn’t Brian’s ! I can’t remember if you made the light rye bread which we made earlier on? That is a good one to make when you get your very strong flour…. :) Would love to hear kitchen progress reports, perhaps by email?

      1. blue

        “Will keep you posted (that is if the workers installing my kitchen don’t pull the plug on my loaf )”

        You can guess the rest – they did :( (but I guess that means I’ll just have to use it again when the time (aka ‘starter’) is right)

        Joanna – will e-mail progress and photos

  6. cityhippyfarmgirl

    That looks good. I like the shape of it, the colour, the aeration and rye is good. Really good.
    I have a light rye on the go at the moment, I still haven’t got up the courage to do a full rye, but maybe once I get better with the sourdoughs. My last batch was a bit raw and forgot the salt, (very disappointing) I’m hoping the light rye will redeem me.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Bread without salt wouldn’t make me happy either Brydie! I think there is one called Tuscan bread. I don’t think that people should make full rye unless they like the taste of those vollkorn breads anyway, full rye bread has a very strong and distinctive taste and as I know from my home life, it can take a bit of a jump to understand and like it if you’re not brought up to eat it….it’s always best sliced thinly and eaten in small quantities. Good luck with the light rye!

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