Another 100% Sour Rye Bread

Brydie at Cityhippyfarmgirl, one of the wonderful Australian bakers that I have met in the last year of blogging, mentioned that she had tried making this recipe from The Handmade Loaf the other day. Here are pictures of my version of this recipe.

28 thoughts on “Another 100% Sour Rye Bread

  1. Kelly

    I never seem to get enough of sour rye – this morning we enjoyed a marble rye fresh from the market. Your loaf looks moist and delicious and I appreciate the 100% whole grain. (I also confess to being smitten with Zeb! :)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Welcome Kelly! I’ve never made a marble rye; it’s not a common bread here; another one for the list of breads to bake! Zeb sends you a kiss too, he loves all his friends :D

      1. Kelly

        You can have a peek at the marble rye here:

        I’ve edited Kelly’s url to put a direct link to her blog, to visit Kelly’s blog just click on her name above.

  2. heidi

    I don’t believe I have ever managed to make a loaf exactly like the recipe guide and pictures show them.
    I think the recipe is a guide- not a promise- and everyone ends up with their own particular loaf. :)
    If yours tastes the way you like and you aren’t too disappointed with the look of it- then you have succeeded!
    I wonder how many loaves they made before they took the photo for the Handmade Loaf.
    I’m going to make my adaptation of the rye with golden flax seed today. I love that bread- I really just love rye bread!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Absolutely agree with you Heidi – just on this one the coating is part of the recipe and it contributes to the elasticity and final ‘finish’ of the bread, so it is a bit frustrating not to be able to figure out how to do it properly.

      I adore rye with golden flaxseed too. One of my favourites :D

  3. Choclette

    Oh oh, just so much to try. I thought I was happy with my rye sourdough, but now think I really ought to try this method, just in case it makes it even better ;-) Yours looks very good to me

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I would like to try your method one day Choclette – is it on your blog hidden in between all those delicious cakes? You could try taking a proportion of the rye flour from your recipe, and whisking it up with near boiling water and adding it in to see if it adds anything maybe?

  4. Ruth

    Ooh! This is the first post I’ve read on your blog and I’ve subscribed already! Baking bread is one of the best things in the world to do, isn’t it?

  5. C

    I think it looks gorgeous! I’d definitely agree about the hot water soaker making the flour sweeter, I was surprised at how much I noticed this the first time I did it. My current fallback loaf is 300g flour, 230g boiling water plus salt and dried yeast. I pour the boiling water over 75g of flour and then allow it to cool enough to not kill the yeast before proceeding. I find that the loaf seems to be both sweeter and softer. The inspiration for it was Dan’s black pepper rye bread, another great rye loaf!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Thanks C! I think there is some science going on in the background. The hot water releasing sugars in the flours and so on. I am pretty sure I have seen Far Eastern bread formulae employing this technique to get a sweeter white bread without adding extra sugar. I wonder if it would work for cakes as a way of reducing the sugar… hmmm, something to consider…..

      I like that black pepper rye bread enormously as well. It doesn’t involve a sourdough though so it has a gentler flavour than these nordic style ones :D

  6. Amanda

    Brydie, Celia and yourself have finally got me motivated and I have an aging starter in the kitchen that I’m feeding in an effort to kick-start it. I hope I can turn out some similarly delicious looking loaves soon!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Can’t wait to hear what you come up with Amanda. Sending your starter encouraging thoughts, if it has been neglected for a while it might take a few days. If you know someone who has one they can always mix a little up with a lot of flour to an almost semi dry crumble and pop it in a baggie and post it to you. I would but I think your Customs might take a dim view of it. ;)

  7. drfugawe

    I don’t remember proofing my ryes in a banneton or basket – were they free form rises? Could this rye rise w/o assistance? Re the whisking in of the hot water – does Dan mention why you can’t whisk in cold water and then heat it? Am I missing something?

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I think I will have to try it free form if I want to avoid the flour on the top, I was wondering if one could rise it in an oiled basket maybe, though I haven’t heard of anyone doing that.

      As to the whisking…. do you know I have no idea why you can’t do it the other way round – that is a seriously good point. He talks about heating the water to two different temperatures and saying that you get a different result depending on the temperature used. There must be a reason, or is it one of those things that people do because it’s how they’re taught, lack of hob space in a commercial bakery, less washing up, speed. I remember reading someone saying (can’t remember who) that the reason for mixing dough out on the workbench, the pile of flour with the liquid poured into a well in the centre was to avoid washing up even more bowls….

  8. jan trounce

    I too love heavy rye bread, but that does seem to be a very tricky process. It would be interesting to know the history of rye bread – I would imagine that the keeping qualities of the bread would have been important, but I would also imagine that doing it with just your hand would have been the original process and that would rule out pouring on boiling water – I would imagine:(

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Jan – Personally I think that you have to use a sourdough to make a 100% rye bread, I can’t imagine making one with commercial yeast, it would have that funny starchy taste that you get sometimes in poor quality rye breads that you can buy. The water is off the boil, about 90 C, but still too hot too handle. I am sure a baker would have had an implement or two to use, a whisk of twigs would do the job I would think.

      The history of rye bread? Don’t forget that commercial yeast is a very recent thing, dating to the late 19th century, prior to that breads were leavened with various different ferments and processes, some of which were very elaborate involving potatoes and sours of all origins. Although rye apparently originates from Turkey it is mainly grown in a belt of northern and eastern countries. It tolerates poorer soil and cooler conditions than wheat.

  9. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Joanna you are the best! So good to hear your thoughts on this one. I’ve done three batches of this now and don’t really want to do any more as it’s a longer process than what I want to be fitting in with my day. Having said that, I HAVE to do it at least one more time as I still haven’t got it.
    First one- Mr Chocolate happily washed up my last two tablespoons of mush that was supposed to go on top, he thought it was just grubby. Way too floury on top. I was nervous about it going in the banneton, so floured a tea towel in a bowl, but the loaf once cooked still looked like a floured tea towel.
    Second go- better, I did it free form, but pegged the baking paper it was resting on together at the top, so it was supported a bit. Also added dark malt flour and linseed for a bit more flavour. Shiny yes, but not smooth, and had a few big cracks in the top.
    Third go- it was cold and barely rose this time. Looking like a house brick, I went with the free form again (it certainly wasn’t going anywhere) and still haven’t cut into it though- will do tomorrow. The hot flour soaker seemed a little different this time, but I’m not sure what I did?
    Soooo…. to be continued too!

  10. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    Wow, three goes already Brydie !!! … I’m still eating the one above, it does keep very well.

    I wonder if it needs to be just a little bit wetter and cooked a bit cooler, and of course it has to be cooked at the point of perfect prove if we want to avoid cracking to the top. I wonder too if we baked it to start with under something like a roasting tin that would keep steam in so what oven expansion that does happen, happens with an unset crust. You have been more persistent than me! As you say, we’ll crack it one of these days….. When Dan’s forum is up in its new format we can ask what other people do.

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  12. sallybr

    As I mentioned before, I am a wimp when it comes to 100% rye, having been traumatized enough by it in the past. The fact that the recipe has Dan’s name behind it helps a little, but you would have to give me a great push to try it myself… I guess I’ll wait for your next report

    (I’ll be paying attention….;-) )

  13. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    I think I’ve forgotten your rye traumas, was this doing the BBA challenge? Did you ever try any of the ryes in Hamelman’s book? I have got on really well with those for some reason. Mysterious are the ways of rye formulae…. ;)

  14. Tony Inga (@TonyInga)

    I had a similar experience with the whisking when I was making the Sweet Rye loaf fromT HML and find that it was more effective to use a large ballon whisk as it didn’t clog up unlike the magic whisk!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I think you are probably onto something here Tony… if I ever do this again I will take your advice. The magic whisk is good for getting the lumps out of custard, but that is a different thing isn’t it? Balloon whisk it will be :D

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