slowing it down to eat some rye bread


Sourdough is not a quick process. It’s slow, likes to amble. Take its time. Focus it’s energy on the job on hand and then gradually release all of that sourdoughy goodness. Especially slow in winter. I don’t mind though. I’m in no hurry. The bread and I have no place special to be, and if I did…well the bread can wait. Sourdough is like that. Occasionally moody and a little flighty, but regularly reliable, and keen to just make peace with what ever is happening. I like that.

I had started with a 100% rye from Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf. I took my time, didn’t hurry it along. It turned out ok, but I wasn’t thrilled. Mr Chocolate had mistakenly washed up my 2 tablespoons of crucial gelatinized mix to go on top of the loaf, and it all looked a little too floury. I had been nervous about putting the sticky mass dough in my banetton, so had floured a teatowel to line it instead. The loaf just came out looking like a floured teatowel though. Never mind. I’ll try a again.

Trial one

Second time around and I thought I would tweak the flavours a little. I wanted a more in-depth flavour, and also banished Mr Chocolate from my gelatinized mix at the crucial time. Flavour was better, and I didn’t bother with a banetton, just freeformed a rough round shape and pegged the sides of the baking paper to cradle and support it a little. It did rise, the top looked a little glossy, and several cracks developed while rising…. but it wasn’t quite there yet. What was missing?

Trial Two

Third time around, and the weather was cold. It certainly was going to take longer than the 5 hours recommended to let it rise. Once baked, I left it for 48 hours wrapped in baking paper before I cut into it. This really did seem to help in the development of the flavour, but….

Trial three- it’s getting there. The flavour was certainly there, but not quite there yet…

Fourth go. It tastes good.

I’m done.

Trialing and tweaking I’ve enjoyed doing, but I still find it a bit of a pain to make on account of it being so sticky. The taste is there though. It was really cold the day I made this one and it certainly didn’t double in size. It was a loooong cool prove, probably 12 hours on the bench all up plus 12 hours in the fridge. I’m still sticking with the hand shaping and laying on bakers paper rather than a banetton, I didn’t bother checking the temperature of the boiling water asper Dan Lepard’s instructions, (things aren’t that slow round here.) Just whisked when it’s boiled. I also think wrapping it afterwards is very crucial. The taste is a light sour, really tight crumb and I think the linseed and dark malt flour I added give a bit more depth, to which I like.

It’s filling, it’s good for you, The Monkeys won’t have a bar of it, and that suits me just fine. I can eat my way through it… slowly.


My changed ingredient list is as follows, for the method and some other invaluable notes on Dan Lepard’s more original recipe- jump over to Zeb Bakes. The lovely Joanna made this a little while back and it was really interesting to see what she thought of the same recipe.

100% Sour Rye

adapted from The Handmade Loaf
300g rye starter
75mls cold water
450g gelatinized rye mix
400g rye flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp dark malt flour
50g (1/2 cup) linseed meal, or LSA
gelatinized rye mix- 90g rye flour and 360 mls water
The night before make up the gelatinized rye mix, using just boiled water and whisking flour in immediately. Leave two tablespoons aside for the top of the loaf. Whisk cold water into thr rye starter and then also whisk in the gelatinized mix. Then add remaining ingredients.
On to an oiled surface, try and squish it into the shape you want. Smoothing it round and leave it for 5 (ambitious for me)- 12 hours on a baking paper cradle or banetton. Until it’s risen a bit anyway.
Spread the remaining gelatinized mix on, spray with water and pop in the oven at 210C for about 50 minutes.
This post submitted to yeastspotting.

39 thoughts on “slowing it down to eat some rye bread

  1. Great job, Brydie. I know from reading other blogs that this was a tricky loaf to master. The cracked top on the final loaf looks very sophisticated. 🙂


  2. Four goes at the one loaf. You are really persistent! I’m trying a different flavour combination everytime I bake at the moment. Next up is some soy and linsead.

    I have to give the borrowed car I currently have back on Sunday, so this Satruday is going to be a trip to Feather and Bone and then onto Auburn for some flour to stock up!

    Have you got a rye and white starter on the go?


  3. I’m impressed! I don’t have that kind of patience. Although I love rye- I tend to make a marble or Jewish sourdough rye and eat my way through it like a voracious mouse!
    Your loaves look progressively better- myself- I like a hand shaped loaf .


  4. Ah we are on the same rye path..seeking…seeking. I have my second attempt sitting on the bench as I write this. Fingers crossed! I am trying to recreate some of the fabulous rye bread I ate in Denmark – full of seeds and grain and more delicious than I thought rye could be. First attempt was a failure – raw despite cooking for an hour longer than the instructions. This time I am going to leave one loaf in the oven for a few extra hours just to see what happens. The chooks are getting well fed on lots of organic rye goodness at the moment.


    • Oh lucky chooks! Actually, just thinking about Dan the Man’s book I think there is a rye one in there that I remember thinking geez that’s a lot of cooking time.
      I’ll definitely be interested in what you come up with.
      I started making grainy knackebrod last week, and am hooked. Love them!


    • oh geez, I hope he didn’t nod slowly, saying, ahh yes, the nervous stalker...:-/
      Were the awards fun? I’d love to go to something like that. Just flicking through the finalist list, so many of Australia’s top producers in there!


  5. I am so impressed with your efforts and patience with bread baking: not just the time required for making a loaf (which I agree, must pay off more than enough!), but the re-creation efforts when coming up with new flavours. Beautiful. I’m glad for your sake you get the whole of this loaf to yourself 🙂


    • Yes, no one else is particularly keen on the sour dense dark loaf… suits me though 🙂
      Thanks though Kari. Bread making is kind of addictive I think. We have all just got so used to home made bread, it really would hurt having to buy it all again.


  6. I just ordered Dan’s book yesterday, and I’m very much looking forward to reading it. I think your rye bread looks a bit beyond my early abilities but given time (and sufficient nerve) I’ll be trying that one, too. I showed your loaves to my husband, who as a Dane was reared on a piece of dark rye bread, and he said simply “Mmmmmm.” He’s a man of few words…


  7. Well done, Brydie. That last loaf looks very professional. We’ve been away on hols, but I’m about to get my starter out from the fridge, resurrect it and get back to some bread baking.


  8. that bread looks just fantastic, all the better to know that you can eat it all to yourself. I’ve just about got my 2 girls convinced about my homemade spelt loaf (I use half wholegrain spelt and half white spelt) so the loaf disappears much faster now. I am working up to trying a sour dough – you make it sound such a fascinating process. Our local baker, Hobbs House, sells a sourdough that has been going for 55 years, so with that on the doorstep I haven’t got round to trying to make one.


  9. Well done for having the patience to persist. It took me quite a few goes before I got my rye sourdough right, but so pleased I persisted – don’t know what we’d do without it now. You and Jo are so adventurous – I really do keep meaning to experiment with my ingredients but when it comes down to it, I’m always in a hurry and don’t have the time to think.


    • I think that is why this one bugged me a little… I had to concentrate far more than I do with any of my other regular sourdoughs. I do love a darker loaf though, so it certainly won’t be the last time I give it a crack.


  10. Sweeping bow to floor, with tri-cornered hat in hand 🙂 They all look great to me and one day we might crack the mysterious shiny coating pictured in the book. I don’t know if you have any left or frozen, but it would be excellent as an old bread soaker in a new bread.

    And as for knackebrod experiments, I can’t wait. We have had one go so far and I both got something far too hard and (ahem) a little bit burnt. So please knack the brod, I want to know how to do it xxx


    • I wonder if the shiny coating is to do with the gelatinized mix? Did you check the temperature before you whisked? As I said, I didn’t… could that be it? A tiny shift in the temperature creates the shiny?…
      I wanted to make knackebrod today but not enough ingredients, tomorrow, tomorrow… have I knacked the brod, I’m not sure, but I’m happy with them 🙂


  11. All i’m saying Brydie is that this could do with some of that smoked salmon that you so lurrrrrve…. I do love a good dense bread that lets you know it means business!


  12. It looks amazing Brydie. I’m very impressed at your persistence, but it obviously pays off, the final version looks delicious. I need to get more into sourdough, it’s just that yeast is so quick and easy. I do enjoy eating sourdough though and dark rye sounds amazing.


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