Sourdough Rye

You’ll find a new video on the Breadtopia web site… finally!  This one is a fine sourdough rye. If sourdough is not your thing, no problem, we cover the instant yeast version as well.

For a bread that delivers on so many levels, it’s surprisingly easy to make and the ingredients are readily available in most grocery stores.

I’m looking forward to seeing if you share my overshadowing fondness for this bread.

14 thoughts on “Sourdough Rye Video Posted

  1. Lesley

    Has anyone tried making this bread with all whole rye flour? I don’t want to use wheat and I tried using spelt but found it changed the flavour. Also, want to stick to whole grain. Any advise would help.

    • Gyan

      Hey Lesley: yes, I’ve been making it with all rye for some time. Because of the reduced gluten in rye, it makes a much denser bread. Instead of a kneadable dough, you’ll have more of a thick sticky batter. I use my KitchenAide with the standard beater (not the dough hook). You can see my comments a few posts below from 28/April/2011, where I detail my experiences. If you have any other questions, I’m glad to answer.

      • Lesley

        Thanks Gyan, I spoke too soon. Saw your post last night. My plan is to follow your doubling formula and continue with the sourdough rye video instructions on the last few steps. I have made that bread a few times and really love it. Do you do the short rise after forming the loaf? With the original recipe I short rise in a lined bread loaf pan before baking in a heated romertopf.

        • Gyan

          I found that the dough was too gooey to transfer from the lined bread basket to the clay baker, so I let it rise in the clay baker in the oven on warm (I have the loaf shaped clay baker as opposed to the larger Romertopf, since in the Romertopf the ‘dough’ just spreads out), then I turn up the heat and bake it. Don’t forget to score the top though.

  2. Jennifer Niskanen

    Ooops I bought the wrong yeast. I have Fleischmann’s Traditional Active Dry Yeast instead. When I looked up a conversion it said to use a 1.5 tsp of it instead of the instant. Would I still put it in with the dry ingredients or in with the wet as it says on the jar. Will the proof time be the same?

  3. Gyan

    @Barry: I’ve been making a 100% rye “Volkornbrot” now for several months and while it’s different from the recipe here, I’ve seen the same things you’ve seen. Here is my experience:

    The gumming of the knife happens on every loaf I’ve baked. I think because the bread is really moist, especially if you’ve used a soaker/sponge (soaked cracked grain). I’ve found it gets better as the bread ages, but the knife has never come out clean for me.

    Here’s what I’ve been doing to get the best rise out of the loaf. It’s still very dense, but much better than when I started:
    For the dough (not including the soaker) I start with the sourdough starter and feed it over two days (4 feedings). For example, this recipe calls for 490g flour, 400g water and 70g starter (35g flour & 35g water). So, that totals 525g flour and 435g water. From there I figure out how much I need to start with to get 4 feedings. In this case, ((((525 / 4) /4) /4) /4) is approx 33g of flour. So I’d take 66g of starter (ie. 33g flour/33g water) and add 33g flour & 33g water (mixed together) and then added to the starter to double it. That’s the first feeding (totals: 66g flour, 66g water = 132g mass). 12 hours later, I feed it again, this time adding 66g flour & 66g water (again mixed together before adding to the starter mix). That’s the second feeding (totals: 132g flour, 132g water = 264g mass). For the third feeding, 12 hours later, I double it again, adding 132g flour and 132g water (totals: 264g flour, 264g water = 528g mass). For the 4th and final feeding, I double the flour and add the remaining water (e.g. 264g flour, 171g water) as well as the remaining ingredients. It’s at this point that I knead/mix and then set in a warm place for the final rise. I have found that the dough does not rise properly if I put it in the refrigerator, but then again, I’m using 100% rye and no wheat flour.

    I’ve found that if I put more flour in so that the dough is manageable for kneading rather than being almost like a very thick sticky batter, that the finished bread is very dense, so I stick to exactly the quantity of flour that my recipe calls for.

    In this way, the loaf comes out very tasty, with a strong sourdough flavor.

  4. Barry

    I just finished my 3rd loaf of the Sourdough Rye Bread and I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong? I’ve followed the recipe as closley as I could using a scale to weigh out the components (flours, water starter, etc.) As others posted, I don’t get a great rise on the finished loaf, but I expected that. The flavor, crust and crumb is very good but I’m concerned with the density of the bread, and the way it gums up the bread knife when I slice it. What suggestions do y’all have to correct the above problem (if any)?
    Thanking y’all in advanse.

  5. Gyan

    Hi: I’ve baked a 100% Rye sourdough bread (no added yeast) twice now that’s been absolutely fantastic tasting (sour and chewy with a nice crunchy crust) but it doesn’t rise more than 1/3. I’ve tried letting it rise the recommended 2 hours to over 16 hours with the same result. I realize that it’s 100% rye, and as such won’t rise as much as if I put in wheat flour and/or yeast, but the loaf is very dense in comparison to the 100% sourdough rye bread I’ve been buying at my local natural foods store. Any suggestions?

    • Janet

      I haven’t tried this bread yet, I am just getting back into baking, but I have been researching flours quite a bit and I’m told that Brown Rice flour tends to make your bread light and fluffy. Suppose you substitute some of the rye flour for a bit of Brown Rice flour . . . would it not make the texture lighter?

  6. Bernie Piel

    This was an interesting loaf to say the least. Initially it was going to be another ciabatta, but I left the prefirment in the fridge for 4 days and was thinking I’d probably have to discard it. However, once I got it out and saw it was still fresh, but with a nice aroma to it, I thought this might just turn out to be a good rye loaf—and it was!

    I’m happy about this loaf for a lot of reasons, chief among them was that this was the first time I was able to use some hard red wheat berries that I purchased at my food co-op which I later milled on the Nutrimill that I bought on this site ( unless you are given one for your birthday, Eric has the best price for this wonderful little mill). Another reason, I’ve always been intimidated by making a rye loaf, a dark rye loaf to be more specific. But adding 1/4 cup of cocoa and 2/3 cup of molasses did the trick. But, I think this is what worked: My prefirment was 1 1/2 cup of bread flour, to which was added tonight: 2 C fresh milled whole wheat (hard winter red); 2 C AP bread flour; 2 C of Rye flour and, because we all know that Rye and whole grain whole wheat is a tad lacking in the gluten department, I added 1/2 C of Vital Wheat Gluten. Something else I did that was different was I added 2 Tbs of sea salt (I use sea salt exclusively because it produces a slight nuance of taste that seems better than iodized—sorry if that sound’s pedantic, but I really think there’s a wonderful taste difference, and I got it at Whole Food’s open bin of sea salt.) I used 2 cups of distilled water, which also was different–normally I use tap. I added the preferment to the water in 12 pieces, then I added the cocoa and molasses. I’m sitting here chewing a piece of this delicious bread and I can really taste the notes of molasses and the cocoa and, occasionally, a toasted caraway seed. I used about an 1/8th of a 1.9 oz bottle of the seeds. I mixed my bread flours, salt, gluten and (heresy) 2 packets of Fleischman’s instant yeast. My reasoning here was that the Rye and Whole Grain Whole Wheat was going to be really stiff and I remember reading in a Reinhardt text where he had the same context and he compensated with the extra yeast. As you can see from the photos, it needed the extra boost. The loaf, btw, is heavy weighing in at 3.6 lbs. After I added all the ingredients, I mixed them w/ a paddle for about 3-4 minutes and let it sit for 5 minutes to give the flours a chance to hydrate; I then changed to a dough hook and kneaded for 5 minutes at medium speed and then let it rest again to hydrate the flour and help start the gluten development; finally, I gave it one more vigorous kneading for 5 minutes at medium speed.
    I let it rest again for 10 minutes. I could tell ever so slightly that the dough was developing the gluten and it still remained tacky, slightly wet. I let it rise for about 20 minutes and decided to change proofing vessels since I do not have a large banneton—I switched to another Romertopf that I use to bake vegetables and is glazed inside the bottom. I sprayed this with a light coating of oil, put the bottom in first and then reversed so the top was on the bottom. I let it proof for almost two hours while I planted some seeds in the garden. I came in to fire the oven up to 450 (which I later bumped to 485 after I had already put the dough in the large #111 Romertopf–after about 5 minutes of being in at 450.) ( I guess it pays to write your steps down instead of trying to guess what Eric said in his video!). Anyway, it baked at 485 for about 27 minutes, then off came the top of the Romertopf and it baked at 350 for 12 more minutes. The thermometer read 203 and I took it out of the oven and let it sit for about 3 minutes in the clay pot to finish it’s residual cooking.

    That was it and I’m a happy camper because now I have some great bread to use with my corn beef sandwiches tomorrow. Happy flour trails. Bernie Piel


  7. I made this today and am in a camping situation so couldnt completely follow the instructions All was going fairly well till I cut off oxygen to the final proving and it dropped 2 1/2 inches (I had it sitting in a Thermal Pot lid open to protect it from the wind. I continued along and it was edible but not that bit of lift I was hoping for, my fault and I will be more careful next time.

    While proving I could smell the orange rind and it seemed great but disappeared in the final result. The anise was the overpowering flavour I felt and I was uncertain on how I felt about this. I made a sandwich with smoked ham for lunch and found that it tasted fine and will look forward to eating the rest of it.

  8. Yes

  9. Deb Habr

    We did substitute spelt for the wheat. This is before we purchased your scale so we just measured it out and the dough turned out pretty soupy. We are determined to make that sourdough rye because it had a great flavor. Should we just add more spelt next time?

  10. You could certainly try using spelt in place of the wheat flour. It would probably be a fair bit denser, but could be very good nonetheless.

  11. Deb Habr

    Thanks for your reply. No we haven’t tried the sourdough spelt recipe. My husband loves rye so we were trying to make that. Can we make a substitution for the wheat flour? What would you recommend?

    thanks. We love your products and videos.

  12. Deb Habr

    We tried to make the sourdough rye by substituting spelt flour for the wheat flour in the recipe. It didn’t work too well. Is there another type of flour that might work better? We are trying to avoid wheat.

    Thank you.

  13. Peter


    It is wery nice what you are doing here….
    I have one qestion.. how do oyu preapare the sourdough it self.



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