From the archives: Overnight 100% Rye Sourdough

This is a repost from 2014, of one of my favourite rye recipes. This bread was made using a combination of Dan Lepard’s recipe for 100% Sour Rye, and methods from Ken Forkish and Peter Reinhart.

The temperature is still up, and the best time to bake is early in the morning. Early morning baking calls for a bit of a manipulation of the proofing time of bread, and so overnight retarding in the fridge is ideal. Since it is hot in the kitchen by the afternoon, it is also a bonus to have a recipe that does not call for much hard work, and this no-knead rye bread from Dan Lepard is the perfect loaf for the situation.

Despite originating in colder climates – Scandinavia, Russia, Eastern Europe for example – a rye flour sourdough works well here because it does not need a great deal of handling and only requires a single proof; no bulk fermentation is needed. This is partly because the gluten in rye flour is extremely weak, and does not benefit from the extra developing time. Also, rye flour, when mixed with water, becomes extremely sticky. Kneading only exacerbates the problem, quickly turning the dough into an unworkable mess.

cracked_rye_sourdough
The cracks along the bottom are from the loaf’s expansion whilst proofing; rye flour is much less elastic than wheat flour.

Another bonus of this recipe was the opportunity to try something I had never used before – a rye scald. Lepard’s “hot gelatinous rye mix” is 4 parts boiling water to 1 part rye flour, which is mixed an hour prior to beginning the bread and used both in the dough and as a wash before the bread goes into the oven. The scalded rye mix adds an elasticity to the loaf which would otherwise be absent.

The recipe is from Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf and I highly recommend buying it if you’re into a little bit of experimentation with traditional loaves. For the ingredients to this bread, go and buy a copy!

For the method, I followed my own instructions to suit the overnight retardation. It is a mix of Ken Forkish’s method for an overnight sourdough from Flour Water Salt Yeast, and a few techniques I picked up from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

sliced_rye_bread
The sliced loaf – the crumb is slightly more open than in a regular rye bread, due to the inclusion of the scalded rye mix

Method

  1. 8pm, 2 days before baking: Refresh 2 tbsp rye starter with 100g rye flour and 150g lukewarm water.
  2. 9am, 1 day before baking: Refresh starter with 100g rye flour and 150g lukewarm water.
  3. 3pm, 1 day before baking: Mix boiling water and rye flour, stand.
  4. 4pm, 1 day before baking: Combine remaining ingredients, reserving 1 tbsp of the rye mix for glazing. Shape the dough as per instructions in the recipe and place into a floured banneton.
  5. Proof for 4 hours.
  6. 8pm, 1 day before baking: Place banneton into a clean plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.
  7. 6:30am, day of baking: Preheat oven to 210°C
  8. 7:10am, day of baking: Bake at 210°C for 50 minutes.
  9. Cool on a wire rack, then wrap in baking paper and store for one day before eating.

    rye_sourdough
    The finished rye loaf. The rye flour gives an amazing colour, texture, and flavour to the sourdough.