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Looking for a German Rye Bread - Does Rye Flour Need a Sourdough for Best Result

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The Original Recipe - Rye Bread
The texture of rye bread dough is slightly sticky.

The texture of rye bread dough is slightly sticky.

J.McGavin

First, I started with the original recipe, using Hodgson Mill's coarse rye (not fresh), King Arthur whole wheat (not white whole wheat), and Hungarian High Altitude unbleached white flour (sold in Colorado). I also used Fleischman's Instant Yeast from the jar.

I mixed the rye and whole wheat flours and instant yeast (I did not proof the yeast) with the sugar, milk, salt and molasses (see picture). Then I added the white flour one half cup at a time, until the mixture was thick. My final weights were:

  • 315 grams coarse rye from Hodgson Mill's
  • 230 grams whole wheat from King Arthur
  • 250 grams unbleached white from Hungarian High Altitude

Since I didn't proof the yeast, I forgot the extra water and used less white flour than the recipe called for - see how hard it is to follow a recipe exactly?

The dough was mixed on a KitchenAid stand mixer with a dough hook for several minutes on the lowest setting, making it unnecessary to do any kneading by hand. As you can see, the dough is still tacky, which is an attribute of rye dough.

Rye flour is different from wheat flour. Rye flour has little gluten to create the strong, stretchy spaces that wheat flour does. It also has high enzyme activity. Enzymes chop up the starch chains which form the crumb in rye bread. In addition, coarse rye has quite a lot of bran and other fiber. This also makes it difficult for the gluten that is present, to do its job.

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