Tag Archives: Rye Bread

Pain au Levain with Mixed Sourdough Starters

Same but different. Bread No. 51 for the MellowBakers.com Hamelman Challenge is a slight variation of the last bread I posted, the Pain au Levain. This time around, it includes both a liquid white sourdough starter and a stiff rye sourdough starter. Both were created from my normal 100% hydration white starter, PJ.

Is it worth keeping a liquid white sourdough starter and a whole wheat and a rye one, then maybe even stiff versions of each? Aside from the increased hassle of keeping the feeding schedule for a large number of different sourdough starters, there’s not really a great reason for the home weekend (or two) baker to go to all this trouble. I wrote to Jeffrey Hamelman about the issue of handling multiple starters recently and here’s what he said:

Hello Paul,

Thanks for writing and for asking your astute questions. Feel free to quote me on the answers.

I’ve maintained two starters for a number of years: a firm German-style rye culture (made the third week of August, 1980), and a liquid levain kept at 125% hydration (it’s about a dozen years old). We use the rye for all our rye breads, and the liquid is the base levain for all other breads. Continue reading

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Rye with Caraway: Learning when to say when.

I’ve noted here and elsewhere that I will include recipes even when they go wrong so as not to give the impression that I am some expert (so not true) and never have a failed bread.

This would be one of those times when something goes wrong.

MellowBakers.comOh, this is MellowBakers.com’ 19th bread from Hamelman’s book “Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes“. For those who didn’t know, we’re a bunch of crazy breadheads who decided to do all 84 recipes in the book but in a casual, relaxed, dare I say “mellow” fashion. If you’re a bit bread crazy too, join us, jump in at any point and play along. Or just read up on our adventures, lots of talk, lots of photos and links to members’ great blogs too.

Now I’ve done this bread or at least a couple of recipes very close to this bread before and they came out very nicely. The very similar 40% Rye with Caraway based on the Back Home Bakery recipe, for example. This came out so nicely, I’m using photos of that bake as the main graphic for the site.

That looks like I know what I’m doing, doesn’t it?

Let’s put that theory to the test, shall we?

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80% Rye with Flour Soaker

This post is about rye bread. Not your grocery store Deli Light Rye but hefty, hearty, packed-with-flavour rye bread. The type that you slice really, really thin and it still can hold up to bold flavours like strong cheeses or spicy deli meats.

The kind of rye bread I like best. But that I’ve never made before. So it’s one I was looking forward to getting at in the MellowBakers.com adventure through Hamelman’s book Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes.

So having never made one of these really hefty ryes, it was a little bit of an experience making what looked more like paste than dough, the small amount of rising the bread did. This isn’t your mom’s normal white bread, oh no. At 80% rye, there’s little gluten to be seen here but a whole smacking load of sticky.

But don’t let any of this deter you from trying it, because aside from being just a tad “unusual” it really isn’t difficult. Just different.

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When good bread goes a-rye.

Sometimes, things just don’t work the way they’re supposed to. So I’ll just say right out of the gate I’ll be redoing this one because something went quite wrong here.

Wanna see? This is the “short version”, there are lots more photos that, had this worked out, would be in here too, like the usual Mis. I’ll just jump right in then. Come along and see if you can spot where it went wrong.


So I make the rye sourdough. Nothing tricky here: mix and let sit for 14-16 hours, I went with 16. Next morning, it has expanded nicely.

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Sourdough Pumpernickel

Here we are at bread No. 34 in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, Sourdough Pumpernickel. The header image is the same as the prevous entry since it features both the lighter New York Deli and the Pumpernickel breads. These are what we should be hoping to see once we’re done baking.

This was a pretty simple bread, all in all, nothing terribly tricky or fancy to do, the most unusual thing here is the use of cocoa powder to boost the dark colour of the bread. Otherwise, there’s nothing in the process we haven’t already done many times. So let’s have a go at this 10th-to-last recipe in this BBA Challenge.

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New York Deli Rye

And here we are at the first of several Sourdough Rye breads in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, bread number 31 of the BBA Challenge.

This one seems intriguing as it’s not simply a rye bread, not even a rye and caraway bread but a rye, caraway and onion bread. The pressure on this one coming out well is high as I was a little disappointd in the previous Basic Sourdough. That was a good brad but didn’t really fare well compared to the Hamelman Vermont Sourdough. So this New York Deli Rye had  to pick up the batton and go the distance. Did it? Let’s see…

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Twisting it up: Marbled Rye

71-MarbleRyeHead Yeah!! Rye bread!

Here we are at recipe #19 in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge and finally into my fave type of bread. Rye breads are flavourful, strong breads with distinct character that can stand up to almost any combination of bread and food, from cheese to soups to basic spreads, without being beaten down. Even with that, there are still many different varieties that allow for a certain amount of nuance in the flavour as well as texture.

So I was looking forward to making this one, even tough I’d just finished making a couple of loaves of the Back Home Bakery’s Sour Rye last week. But its pretty much all gone now. Time for a new loaf — or two in this case as Reinhart mentions this recipe makes 2 or 4 loaves. This is also a recipe that can be made in just one day so that’s a bonus as well. Mixing two colours of the same dough will offer a nice visual too.

I’m up for it, so let’s go!

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