Rye Sourdough Loaf

Day 7: Rye Sourdough Loaf

Welcome to day 7 of the #7days7breads challenge. This is the last day of the challenge and today we are concluding the efforts of the week with a wonderful smell of freshly baked sourdough bread at home. Remember, I will be there every day to guide you through the recipes, share my tips and hints and at the end you can share your results on social media using #7days7breads to win amazing prizes. I am also on Facebook every day live to show you how to master each recipe and technique at home with hardly any effort. All recipes are designed to be easy to follow and at the end you can enjoy a freshly baked loaf at home.

Today we are going to finish off the no-knead bread from yesterday and we are also going to learn how to make a 100% rye sourdough bread with the pre-ferment we have started yesterday. If you are having difficulties getting light rye flour you can also use 50% wholemeal rye flour and 50% wholemeal spelt flour to make almost the same loaf at home.

What you will learn:

  • how to prepare a dough from a pre-ferment
  • how to do pre-shaping & final shaping
  • how to prove a sourdough loaf in the fridge
  • how to bake a sourdough bread

Day 7: Rye Sourdough Loaf

Rye flour is very low in gluten and therefore does not need to be kneaded to activate the gluten. For this recipe we are going to sue such easy techniques you will be surprised how beautiful the end results are. In addition, rye is actually a very healthy option and contrary to what you may have read about rye bread being very dense, this loaf is very light and fluffy and keeps well for days without going stale or mouldy. I actually use a very small tin for this recipe so that I can get a high loaf but you can easily double the recipe in the future and use your standard loaf tin to make this bread. The rising time will be the same.

In the recipe I have added the pre-ferment so that you can follow the whole recipe when you revisit this page but for now you can actually ignore that step because we have done that on day 6 already.  When the the bread initially comes out of the oven it will be very moist and continue to cook for a while as a whole so make sure you remove it from the tin quickly and leave it to do its thing on a wire cooling rack so that.

Top Tips for better results

  1. If you cannot get hold of light rye flour easily, you can simply use wholegrain rye and spelt wholegrain flour 50/50. Rye flour absorbs a lot more liquid than spelt so it might feel like the mixture is too runny. It should resemble very thick porridge. You can add a little less water first to see whether you can achieve the consistency.
  2. Dust the top of the dough with flour generously to identify easily when the loaf has proved enough. If you use flour to cover the dough you can kill two flies with one trap. Firstly, you prevent the dough from drying at the top and secondly it helps you identify quickly when the dough has risen enough and is ready to be baked. Once the flour has cracks at the top and you can clearly see the dough through it, you know it is ready.
  3. Add some coriander and caraway seeds into the dough for a slightly more intense flavour. I quite like adding more seeds to get a slightly citrusy flavour but if you are not used to rye and also not used to the intense flavours of coriander seeds I would start with a standard loaf and then slowly introduce seeds to the mixture.

An extra task

Remember we started the sourdough no-knead bread yesterday? Well, today it is time to finish it off. After you have attended to the rye bread you can take the no-knead sourdough out of the fridge and follow these steps below to finish off the loaf.

Finishing off the no-knead loaf

In the Morning:

  1. Uncover dough and do your first fold. To do so, pull one side of the dough up and stretch it over to the other side. Repeat with the other three corners so that you have folded it over four times in total.
  2. Leave to rest for 30 minutes, then repeat the folding method again.
  3. Uncover the dough and place onto a floured surface. Gently push it down slightly and do a pre-shape. This is done by folding over the corners of the dough into the centre until you end up with a rough ball. Flip it upside down and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Now you need to flour a round bread proving basket or a bowl with flour generously and uncover the dough. We are now doing the final shaping into a ball. Do this by folding in all the edges towards the centre again until you have an even more tightly shaped ball and then you roll it between the palms of your hand and the table until you can see that the surface has built up enough tension and underneath you have a very small seam. Place it seam side up into the bread proving basket and dust with more flour. Cover with a shower cap and leave to rise in the fridge all day until it has doubled in size. This may take even until the evening but may be faster, depending on the temperature of the fridge.

In the Afternoon / Evening: 

  1. 30 minutes before you are ready to bake, remove the bread dough from the fridge.
  2. Preheat the oven fitted with a large, round cast iron pot to 250C / 230C Fan / Gas Mark 9. Once hot, carefully remove the cast iron pot and open up the lid. Tip the proved dough onto a baker’s peel seam side down dusted with polenta and score it with a bread knife a few times. Carefully slide it into the pot, close the lid and transfer back to the oven. Spray the oven chamber with water and immediately close the door. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until dark brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove and leave to cool on a wire cooling rack.

Ingredients

Pre-Ferment (we did this on day 6 of the challenge)

  • 75g sourdough starter
  • 140g cold water
  • 100g light rye flour

Rye Sourdough Loaf

  • 175g light rye flour (or 100g wholegrain rye flour and 75g wholegrain spelt flour)
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds and caraway seeds (optional)
  • 130g cold water

Method

Day 1 Evening (we did this on day 6 of the challenge):

  1. Place the sourdough starter cold water and rye flour in the mixing bowl and combine 10 Sec. / Speed 4. Pour the mixture into a small bowl and scrape out every last bit from the mixing bowl with a spatula. Cover with cling film and leave overnight.

Day 2 morning: 

  1. Uncover the pre-ferment and pour into the mixing bowl. Add the rye flour, salt, seeds if using, molasses and cold water and combine 20 Sec. / Speed 6.
  2. Transfer the dough into a rectangular loaf tin 22x12x9cm (it’s a very small, 1-pound tin) lined with greaseproof paper and dust the top with rye flour. Cover with a shower cap or cling film and leave to prove at room temperature for at least 2-3 hours until you can clearly see that the flour at the top has cracked. If you are going to be out all day, leave it to prove in the fridge all day and remove 2 hours before baking to leave it to come to room temperature.

Day 2 Midday / Afternoon:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250C / 230C Fan / Gas Mark 9. Once hot, uncover the loaf and very carefully transfer it to the oven. Spray the oven chamber with water everywhere and bake for 20 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 220C / 200C Fan / Gas Mark 8 and bake for a further 25 minutes until the loaf has a dark crust at the top and sounds hollow when tapped.
  2. Remove and leave to cool on a wire cooling rack before slicing.

9 thoughts on “Day 7: Rye Sourdough Loaf

  1. Jean Misko says:

    Sophie I’ve enjoyed participating in this activity. I haven’t made all the breads yet, but will do so. I’ve got my Rye Sourdough loaf rising at the moment. I can’t wait to try it. Fortunately it is a little warmer here in Perth, Western Australia today. See you in November.

  2. Tina Reel says:

    Thanks for sharing your 7 day bread challenge with us. I really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it as I would not use yeast in cooking my bread but did do the spelt loaf and it was lovely. Going to do the sourdough and the gluten bread Tis weeks. many thanks again

  3. Chelsea M says:

    Hi I have two questions please. I have made my starter with wholemeal flour, can I use this to make a loaf of different flours (rye spelt etc) also do you need to add the molasses to the recipe? Thankyou

  4. Lee Smith says:

    Hi Sophia. please can I check. For the rye sour dough loaf you say to use a 1lb tin, but the dimensions are the same as the 2lb tins I have. My 1lb tins are 19cm x 9cm. Please let me know which is correct. Thank you!

  5. Alison Ivers says:

    Hi Sophia. Thank you for helping me get back into sourdough with your simple approach. Having luck with my rye starter (never tried before, works a treat). Just wondering if I could use spelt (or wheat I guess) in place of the rye in the recipe above? Or would that be a completely different recipe? Would like to continue to use my rye starter, but make spelt sourdough if possible (unless you would suggest starting to feed starter spelt instead…?). Or else could I just use your spelt loaf recipe from Day 2 and replace yeast with starter?? Thank you so much for helping if you can – really has been great watching/following your starter methods!

    • Sophia Handschuh says:

      Hi Alison, you could always use the starter to make any kind of bread. It can be spelt, no problem. The texture of the recipe will change when you are adding spelt flour instead of rye but what I would do is start experimenting a little. The texture should be a little like thick porridge so I would go for it 🙂 I regularly substitute rye with spelt. x

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