100% Sourdough Rye Bread – Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge #32

Rye flour….again.

Finally taking the plunge on bread #32 in the BBA Challenge meant I’d be creating a 100% Sourdough Rye Bread. Not being something the average Canadian is mixing up on a regular basis to fulfill their bread needs, I didn’t know what to expect.

This recipe called for both a soaker (rye flour and water) and a firm starter (wild yeast, flour and water). Asking for coarse rye flour, I searched through my pails and bags, only to find a normal grind dark rye. Having used this type of flour for my Marbled Rye Bread, I figured it was worth a shot. Plus, this way I wouldn’t have to go buy another bag of flour; these things add up you know.

The soaker was the easy part, as its job (once mixed) was to sit on the counter all night. Phew..tough work! The firm starter, while not requiring much more work, was to rise on the counter for a few hours before slowing its progress in the fridge overnight. Even with my very cooperative yeast, I didn’t get much action with regards to a rise. I tried to stay positive.

The next day, I put together the remaining ingredients and started to knead. Knowing that rye has a wonky gluten ratio, and can easily turn into gum, I started to get nervous. As I watched everything come together, it seemed too wet and I added a bit more rye…and then a sprinkle more..egad. I had to stop; I didn’t want to wreck this loaf. So I oiled a bowl, and let it rise into the night. Eventually, my desire for sleep got the best of me, and I shaped the dough for another night in the fridge.

Once home from work, I brought out the dough and let it warm up. It didn’t seem to rise as much as it spread. The dough also started to crack, and reminded me of ginger snap cookies. I needed to add another 10 minutes to the bake time, but eventually I found 200 degrees in the center, and the lovely thump from properly baked bread.

The first thing I noticed after baking these loaves was how much darker it was than other BBA participants. The dark rye clearly added some colour. I didn’t grow up with a lot of rye, and probably never anything that was 100%, so the taste was a mix. The texture was decent, a bit damp maybe, and the flavour was definitely rye. As Sarah and I snacked away in the late hours, she quite enjoyed it. The next morning, I used it for toast, and thought the heat took the loaf to another level.

All in all, I’m happy; happy that it turned out, happy that it tastes good, and happy that I can move on to the last few loaves. I do wonder though, what it would have been like if I put a bit of extra care and attention into the entire process. Instead of trying to make this bread over a few busy work nights, I think when I go back for another round; I’ll set aside some time on the weekend so I can focus a little better.

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6 thoughts on “100% Sourdough Rye Bread – Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge #32

  1. Don’t be so hard on yourself. This looks phenomenal! Just the fact you are actually accomplishing this on a busy work night blows me away. I used to have that kind of energy – and sometimes, I still do… but, not often enough. I have registered for another bread baking course this summer for one day only when we are away that I am excited about… meanwhile, I keep making Vanja’s “usual” white bread… I do squeeze in the occasional red fife, mixed loaf, etc… but he just does not eat them! Grrrrr…

  2. Chris, as someone who did grow up eating rye bread, I had the same reaction to this loaf — another one to cross off the list. Your process pitcures are great. Too bad the loaf didn’t equal the effort. Don’t despair: there are some excellent breads still to come.

  3. I say well done an now you’ll have a vehicle for a good home prepared Montreal smoked meat sandwich

  4. I’m impressed – yours looks like bread! =) (Mine barely rose and had the oddest consistency.) You’re coming up on the home stretch . . . enjoy!

  5. It’s funny, I also didn’t really take the necessary care with this one. I found this one to be dense. Still, your loaves look better than my “chunk” of bread. Surprisingly, I loved the flavor, despite my aversion to rye.

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