Rye Sourdough


Let me start here by saying this was my very first time making sourdough bread.

The whole fermentation process, aka "feeding" a starter has been overwhelming and looming over me for weeks. I finally decided to jump in feet first and give it a try. "What's the worst that could happen?" asked my boyfriend after I expressed my apprehension. Well, what he doesn't understand is that for a perfectionist EVERYTHING CAN GO WRONG!!! It could go bad and become a blob of blue stinky mold and of course that means I'm a failure. Realistic answer to that question: I would have wasted a precious $5+ on a bag of fancy organic rye flour.


Lesson of the day/year/universe: take a chance!


This recipe used 1 cup of a starter, which I made using 100% Rye flour.  The flavor is definitely a bit sour & almost fruity. The texture did not come out spongy like I was hoping for. I reached out to an old friend I met while living in Asheville, NC, who does amazing things with food in Los Angeles,  and he informed me that the dough should be "a sticky blob of mess..and it should give you nightmares when you think about having to hold it together." My dough was definitely more along the lines of a regular ole rustic loaf. Time to get practicing! My goal here for my next attempt is higher hydration! Factors such as humidity, temperature and environment can all play an evil part in this process.


Being a perfectionist, 'experimental baking' simply does not exist.
Everything I make must end in a perfect product...or I cry. Literally cry.


I used this recipe as a basis. I do not have a baking scale yet so I tried to convert the grams into volume measurements which was weird. I ended up using about 1/2 cup of rye flour and 10 T of water each time I 'fed' the starter. I followed the directions through day 3, which is when I threw out about half and the starter and added some more flour and water to create a sticky gob. On day 4, I measured out 1 cup and that was the extent of it. 

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons local honey (Thanks Rian!)
1 large egg
1 cup of my special sourdough starter on it's 4th day of life
1/3 cup water
2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup rye flour
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast


First mix all 'dough' ingredients together with the 1 cup starter in bowl of mixer. Once everything is combined, remove from bowl and with floured hands form into nice round shape. Place inside a large, lightly greased bowl and cover with a cloth napkin or towel. My kitchen is cold right now so I placed mine beside my warm crock pot which was slowly cooking up some tasty bbq ribs. Seattle's weather has been in the 40/50's this November and we are trying to avoid turning the heat on until absolutely necessary. (I'm currently sitting here in my heavy knit sweater over a summery sleep dress and wool socks...like I do.) 

Let your dough rise for about 1 1/2 hours or until double in size. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and stretch the sides over each other to create a somewhat nice round loaf. I place my doughs on a sheet of parchment for their final rise to avoid sticking to the counter. Now just score lines/design of choice with a very sharp knife or razorblade & dust with a bit of wheat flour. Let it rise covered with a cloth for about 30 minutes while you preheat your oven, and dutch oven to 450F. Pop this bad boy in your preheated dutch oven (be careful) and bake for 30 minutes with the cover on, and then about 5-10 minutes uncovered until top is nicely brown, but not burnt. 


I set aside a few slices in my freezer A WHILE BACK for a rainy day.. and today made some rye croutons to top my bowl of potato broccoli cheese soup.