Rye Sour 1

Rye Sour


One of my favourite breads and I only made two loaves the first time, gave one to Jasia and William and for the other proceeded to devour it in under ten hours. Please rest after baking for 12 hours to develop the fullest flavour profile.

The original formula comes from “Bien Cuit: The Art of Bread” by Zachary Golper and Peter Kaminsky (ISBN: 978-1-941393-41-3).  My version will make four 610g loaves and involves a longer final proof. Hydration is 71.12 %

Rye Sour 17.05.2016 my ryes

Rye slugs!

First Pre-ferment

100g Ripe Sourdough Starter (100% hydration wholewheat)
200g water at about 21 C (Sainsbury’s Basic’s Sparkling Table Water – Greenmoor Spring)
200g light rye flour (Shipton Mills Organic Light Rye Flour Type 997)

Second Pre-ferment

120g white flour (Shipton Mill Untreated Organic White Flour – No. 4)
0.6g instant yeast (Dove’s Farm Quick Yeast)
80g  water at about 21 C  (Sainsbury’s Basic’s Sparkling Table Water – Greenmoor Spring)

Pre-ferments x 2 for Rye Sour cp.jpg


10g of roasted and ground organic caraway seeds (Brixton Whole Foods Ltd)  [Note: you will need 18g – 22g seeds to produce this final quantity as the seeds decrease in weight when roasted]
700g white flour (Shipton Mill Untreated Organic White Flour – No. 4)
200g white rye flour (Shipton Mills Organic Light Rye Flour Type 997)
100g dark rye flour (Shipton Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour – Type 1350)
10g diastatic malt powder (Bakery Bits Diax)
30g Sicilian sea salt (Trapani Sale di Gucciardo Vincenzo)
2g instant yeast (Dove’s Farm Instant Yeast)
720g water at about 21 C (Sainsbury’s Basic’s Sparkling Table Water – Greenmoor Spring)


Mix both pre-ferments about 12 hours before you are ready to mix the final dough.  The starters should be left at room temperature (21 C) for anywhere between 10 to 14 hours and should be at peak after 12 hours. Take any temperature variations into account. Use a plastic, ceramic or glass container with a lid or covered with Clingfilm.  I prefer to use a medium glass bowl covered with cling film.

Caraway seeds are an essential component of this bread and I dislike adding whole seeds as I’d rather not need to prise them out when they stick between my teeth. Find your own flavour level for the roasted and ground seeds. The original Zacahry Golper formula would call for 8g of the roasted and ground seeds but I prefer a very slightly elevated, more European, profile and use 9 or 10g. To roast the seeds and concentrate the essential oils place them into an aluminium pudding basin (Vogue Aluminium Pudding Basin 340ml) and bake for 6 to 10 minutes at 205 C. [To obtain 8 – 10g roast 18g – 22g Caraway seeds].You will smell the aroma and know when to stop and let them cool down completely. When cooled use a spice grinder to process until finely ground. I use a NutriBullet with a milling blade attached.

In a medium bowl mix together the flours, diastatic malt, salt, instant yeast and seeds. Mix the two pre-ferments together with all the water in a large bowl making sure to break up the ferments. A Danish dough hook is a great tool for this. Now add most but not all of the dry mix from the medium bowl to the large bowl and combine.  The technique can be one of many but I find it best to use a dough scraper and roll and tuck, roll and tuck until a sticky mass with no dry patches results. Then add a small amount of the remaining dry mix and repeat rolling and tucking the dough until again a uniform mass prevails. Repeat until you have added all the dry mix and carry on rolling and tucking until the dough strengthens and begins to resist further rolling. I find reserving about 1/5th of the dry mix will result in a dough ready to rest with only a few additional tucks and folds required after no more dry patches can be seen in the mixed dough.

This dough now needs 3 stretch and folds. I rest for 45 minutes and perform the first stretch and fold and repeat at 45 minute intervals. Use a stretch and fold method you prefer. However, this dough is delicate and will tear. Either be very gentle when stretching and folding or put in a bit more tucking and folding when mixing the dough. I always use a large dough scrapper to gently stretch the dough into an extended rectangle on a well-floured work surface before folding by thirds to obtain 9 layers of dough and shaping into a round and placing back into the bowl seam side down.

Purists will want to refer to “Bien Cuit” for the method of rolling and tucking proposed by Zachary Golper. Likewise don’t think this needs to pass the window pane test. That is for dough extensively mixed.

After the third and final stretch and fold rest the dough on a work surface covered with a damp cloth for 20 minutes before dividing into 4 equal pieces. Use a 12 x 11metal dough scraper placed first on the scales and tared without any dough to make life easy.

These can just be shaped but I would recommend a pre-shape into a tube or batard, use the technique you prefer, resting for 5 minutes and then shaping into an oval or batard. I like them plump with pointy ends.

Once shaped place into the refrigerator and chill for between 24 – 31 hours. I use Cloche lined half pan sheets, two loaves per pan.

The loaves should be seem side up on the lined Cloches and a transfer peel will prove useful getting them turned over and onto a bakers peel.

Bake at 240 C for 40 minutes. Moisture is required. There are several ways to achieve this so use the one you are familiar with and gives a consistent result.

I use a Miele Moisture Plus Oven with 2 bursts of steam, at start and after 10 minutes, with the oven set to 220 C  for 40 minutes.

This is the first bread I baked on a real bakers steel. After a long wait we can get hold of excellent bakers and pizza steels from The Pizza Steel Company. I recommend you invest in one of these as they give the bottom of any bread or pizza a real proper bake.

Let the loaves cool for at least 4 hours but preferably for 12 for 36 hours before slicing. Enjoy.

Rye sour crub on blue.jpg

Rye Sour crumb


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