Tuesday, April 27, 2010

BBA Challenge Bread #32 — 100% Sourdough Rye


This'll be quick. No one wants to dwell on this one, trust me — 100% Sourdough Rye.

I'm baking my way through Peter Reinhart's award winning book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice, along with a number of other amateur bakers (I'm not sure how many are still with us, and a few have finished!). Want to join in the madness, or just learn more about this semi-crazy undertaking? Check out the following links:

So. This bread – if you can call it that – was strange and weird and seriously wrong right from the start. As with other sourdough breads, this is a multi-build, multi-day process, beginning with a firm rye starter.
SDR-firm starter

At the same time, you also make a rye soaker. This consists of coarse rye and water. I didn't have coarse rye, so I used the bran I'd sifted out of the white rye. Don't know if that had anything to do with what happened later, but I wasn't sure what else to use.


The next day, the firm starter and soaker combine with the final dough — more white rye, salt, caraway seeds (if so inclined, I used charnushka seeds instead), and water. 

I knew things were going horribly wrong when my firm starter did basically NOTHING and looked like this:
It was the strangest texture—gritty, pasty, unlike any starter I've seen.

And the dough didn't improve from there. It was the same thick, pasty, gritty consistency of the firm starter. There wasn't a hint of gluten in this blob of dough.
Again, I got no rise out of this dough after 4 hours so I just "shaped" them, proofed for 2 hours (waste of time) then baked them.
SDR-shaped loaf
"shaped" loaf


TA-DA! I made bricks. Weapons, really. You could inflict some serious collateral damage with these bad boys. I did eat some. The flavor wasn't horrible, but I about broke my bread knife trying to slice it, so you can imagine what chewing it was like.

I wasn't the only one in the BBA group that ran into this scenario. I think the biggest chuckle I got was from Mags at The Other Side of 50. Check out her post; it's a hoot!

Like Mags, I threw my bread out for the birds. I really hope I didn't kill any with that bread!

It gets better from here, thank goodness. I've since made the next two breads with much better results. Now I just have to post them!


  1. Love this post! My starter looked and behaved exactly like yours; my "dough" looked the same and never moved; my finished bread looked *exactly* the same as yours! (I was too bummed to take any picture of the process, though.) Ours wasn't too hard, just very crumbly, and made passable corned beef sandwiches. And then we tossed the rest. =)

  2. Yeah, Mags is a hoot! Your post was something to chuckle at, too ~ Perhaps together, we could build a brick house with our rye breads.....

  3. Sorry to read about how it turned out, but I really enjoyed your positive spin on this post ;) My first loaves of Anadama Bread turned out like bricks too - guess we can't have a 100% success rate for all the breads in the book! Good luck for the next one.

  4. OK, so I'm trying to take up the cudgels for this rye bread AGAIN!!! It's really not THAT bad. At least, mine wasn't. Sure, it was quite ugly, and it did resemble a brick, but the flavor was great - and yes, this bread made it into my top 10 list. Had to giggle, though, when I read your post ;o).

  5. Abby- Wasn't it a strange doug?? Sounds like yours was at least edible, though, so you're ahead of me there!

    Frieda - I'm pretty sure you could build something with those things. They were practically indestructible.

    Danielle - I guess we have to take the bad with the good, eh? I like to chalk it up to a learning experience. :)

    ap269 - I think it's so cute how you keep defending this bread. :) You're bound and determined to save its reputation. Well, I have to admit that, if PR included it in this book, it must be good - but take some practice.

  6. Oh, dear. I actually loved this bread, but mine came out goopy rather than the broken, um, lump that some seem to be experiencing. I'm with ap269 here, that this bread was pretty good. Maybe it has something to do with the flour in the US vs. Germany?


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