65 Percent Sourdough Rye with Rye Sourdough

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Dough Yield: About


    loaves at 2 lb each

Appears in


By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

The following three formulas are presented as a comparison of the results obtained when rye bread is made with a sourdough containing rye flour, with a sourdough containing white flour, and with no sourdough at all. Note that the first and second formulas are naturally leavened, and the only differences between them are that the first formula has a slightly higher hydration and it is leavened with rye sourdough, and a firm white levain leavens the second formula. The third formula relies on 1 percent yeast to leaven the bread. An experiment like this can be instrumental, as it is by no means uncommon for bakers who are unfamiliar with good rye principles to acidify either a portion of the white flour in a rye formula in lieu of rye, or to not acidify any flour at all. In fact, superior results are obtained only when all or a portion of the rye flour is acidified in rye breads: dough volume improves and crumb texture is more agreeable when comparing the rye sour-leavened bread to the white levain-generated. When no flour is acidified (the third formula), the crumb is gummy and unpalatable because the amylase enzymes had free rein during the bake, wreaking their expected havoc (for a discussion of the “starch attack.”) So while three formulas are included here, note that it is just the first, 65 Percent Sourdough Rye with Rye Sourdough, that I consider to represent the fullest potential; the second and third formulas in this series are resources that are included simply as a comparison to this first. A photo of the first two of the breads made with these formulas appears in the color insert.



Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Medium Rye Flour 13 lb 6.5 kg 1 lb 4.8 oz 65 %
Bread Flour 7 lb 3.5 kg 11.2 oz 35 %
Water 14.8 lb 7.4 kg 1 lb, 7.7 oz 74 %
Salt .36 lb .18 kg .6 oz 1.8 %
Total Yield 35.16 lb 17.58 kg 3 lb, 8.3 oz 175.8 %


Medium Rye Flour 7 lb 3.5 kg 11.2 oz ( cups) 100 %
Water 5.6 lb 2.8 kg 9 oz (1⅛ cups) 80 %
Mature Sourdough Culture .35 lb .175 kg .6 oz (2 T) 5 %
Total 12.95 lb 6.475 kg 1 lb, 4.8 oz

Final Dough

Medium Rye Flour 6 lb 3 kg 9.6 oz ( cups)
Bread Flour 7 lb 3.5 kg 11.2 oz ( cups)
Water 9.2 lb 4.6 kg 14.7 oz (1⅞ cups)
Salt .36 lb .18 kg .6 oz (1 T)
Sourdough 12.6 lb 6.3 kg 1 lb, 4.2 oz (all less 2 T)
Total 35.16 lb 17.58 kg 3 lb, 8.3 oz


  1. SOURDOUGH: Prepare the sourdough and ripen for 14 to 16 hours at 70°F.
  2. MIXING: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl. In a spiral mixer, mix for 4 minutes on first speed and about 1 minute on second. When the dough is tugged, you should be able to feel a bit of gluten strength from the 35 percent white flour, but the overall dough strength will not be much. Desired dough temperature: 80°F.
  3. BULK FERMENTATION: 45 minutes.
  4. DIVIDING AND SHAPING: Divide the dough into 2-pound pieces; shape round or oblong.
  5. FINAL FERMENTATION: About 60 to 75 minutes at 80°F.
  6. BAKING: With normal steam, 460°F for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 440°F and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. The baked bread should rest for up to 24 hours before slicing in order to improve its eating quality.