It’s about time I bake something with more rye, don’t you think? Most of the bread you find among the recipes on this blog contains mainly wheat flour.
For some strange reason, wheat flour seems to have a higher “status” than rye when it comes to baking. Besides, it is good for your health if you replace some wheat with rye
Despite that, bread baked with wheat flour seems to have a leading position on blogs (mine included), sourdough forums, and Facebook groups.
It’s weird because one of the most important reasons for baking with sourdough starter is that you get bread that tastes more.
I think you’ll agree with me when I say that sourdough rye bread tastes more than wheat. Still, most people seem to favor wheat bread.
Why is that?
One reason can be that it’s hard to bake bread with airy crumb if you bake with rye flour. Wheat flour is superior when it comes to that thanks to its high gluten content.
You also have to be more careful when kneading a dough with rye flour than with wheat flour. You can overwork it. Something that is quite hard with wheat dough.
Sometimes you don’t want bread that tastes too much, for example, if it is to be served to food.
Or perhaps some people just don’t like rye bread. What do I know?
I know one thing.
I like rye bread, and I think there are many of you who do the same.
So let’s start baking some great bread with a lot of rye.
When I say a lot, I don’t mean all rye. We will add some wheat flour, but only 40%. That gives you bread that is not so dense like bread baked only on rye tends to be.
If you don’t use your dough mixer, there’s no risk that you will overwork the dough. A few stretch and folds will be enough.
PREPARING THE DOUGH
As I mentioned earlier, I used both rye and wheat flour for this recipe.
The Protein content is 12.5% for the wheat flour and 8.5 for the rye.
The hydration is 75%. You may have to adjust that figure if you’re using stronger flour.
I’ve used my wheat starter (coaxed with some rye), but feel free to use a rye starter if that’s what you have available.
All ingredients were mixed, except the salt. After that I let the dough rest for an hour. I say rest and not autolyze. According to the hardcore sourdough aficionados, the starter is added after the autolyze. And I don’t want to mess with those guys.
After the rest, I added salt and performed the first stretch and fold.
I have described that process earlier in this recipe. Here you can also find an excellent video showing how to do.
Try to find a warm place for the bulk fermentation, preferably 78ºF/25ºC. That can be tricky if you are living in the northern hemisphere at this time of year. I use to place the dough in the oven with the lamp lit. That works fine, but you have to be a bit careful. It can be too hot, so I use to open the lid now and then and check the temperature with a thermometer. I let the dough ferment for 4 hours.
The time required for the final rise depends on many factors. The surrounding temperature and the strength of the starter are just two of many. You can let it ferment at room temperature or in the refrigerator depending on taste and how much time you have. Fermentation in cold temperature takes longer of course, but it also gives more taste to the bread. The end result can be quite sour though, so if you don’t like that, you should consider letting the dough ferment at room temperature.
It’s almost impossible to give advice about the time required for the final rise. Therefore I have stopped doing that. Instead, I encourage my readers to observe and touch the dough. The finger poke test gives you a hint when it’s time to bake. I have described the test in an earlier recipe, and you can read about it here.
TIME TO BAKE
Preheat the oven to 480ºF / 250ºC. I have used a baking stone for the bread on the pictures, but you can also use a dutch oven with good result. If you don’t have any of those items, It’s OK to use an oven sheet.
Always score the loaf before baking. Otherwise, you may end up with some interesting but undesired forms on your bread.
Always use steam in your oven when baking bread. It doesn’t have to be anything advanced. An extra preheated oven sheet that you can pour some water on before you close the oven lid is OK. Steam prevents the surface from drying out and gives the crust a more pleasant color.
This bread needs about 35 minutes in the oven. You may have to lower the heat during the last 10-15 minutes.
This is not a fancy or spectacular bread. It’s just an ordinary, hearty sourdough rye bread. The kind of bread I want for breakfast. Like my best sourdough bread, It’s quite easy to bake. I just have to bake this more often.
Easy sourdough rye bread recipe
This recipe for a sourdough rye bread is quite simple. But it will give you bread with lots of taste and character from the rye.
Mix all ingredients except the salt. Make sure that all flour is hydrated. Let the dough rest for an hour.
Add salt and perform one stretch and fold. Perform 3 sets of stretch and folds in total during bulk fermentation, spaced out by 30 minutes.
Let the dough rest for 4 hours at a temperature of 78ºF/25ºC.
Lightly flour your work surface and dump out the dough. Divide it into two pieces with your bench knife. Flatten the dough gently with your hands. Form each piece of dough to a bâtard There's a link to an excellent video showing how to form a bâtard in the recipe notes
Let the loaves rise until they pass the the finger poke test. The time required depends a lot on ambient temperature so don't look at the clock.
Preheat your oven to 480ºF / 250ºC with two oven plates. One to bake the bread on and one just below. If you have a baking stone or dutch oven, use them.
Score the loaves in your preferred pattern and place them in the oven. Pour some water on the plate below and bake each loaf in 35-45 minutes.
Let the breads cool on wire racks.
For those who prefer to use a stretch and fold technique instead of running the dough into a dough mixer, you may find this video helpful. You can also look at one of my previous recipes.
Maurizio from The perfect loaf has made an excellent video showing how to form a bâtard.