100% Rye Sourdough Baking | Cultures for Health Journal

Rye is such a cool grain with a deep and rich history of nourishing cultures throughout the world. So is the practice of sourdough baking. Marrying the two, as I have over the past couple of years, produces some really good loaves, Sourdough Flatbread, and interesting sweet treats. After falling in love with a no-knead dough that produces a super simple loaf, a lovely pizza crust, and a delicious focaccia; I ended up putting together a collection of recipes together to form a cookbook. This book, 100% RYE, contains some recipes that I didn’t even know were possible without wheat, sugar, or yeast. It’s truly a collection of family favorites with much of the recipe-testing and development done with the Cultures for Health Rye Sourdough Starter. Here’s a little bit more about that starter and the ins-and-outs of baking with 100% rye sourdough.

In my research on 100% rye baked goods I often came across opinions leading me to believe that wheat was a necessary ingredient in edible rye breads. I found that working with rye was tricky and certainly churned out a great deal of not-so-appetizing loaves before figuring my way around the grain. Once I found hydration levels, kneading techniques, and baking strategies that worked with the rye grain, delicious fermented breads were beginning to grace our table. The baking, cooking, and fermenting I do in my own home has to be simple enough to be sustainable. Elaborate, labor intensive, or special equipment and ingredient-heavy recipes are not doable in our off-grid kitchen with four young children running around. So all of the recipes in 100% RYE are simple, long (or slow) fermented, and contain basic but healthy ingredients such as traditional fats, molasses, and honey.

Some of the recipes we make on a regular basis include:
  • No-Knead Sourdough Rye Bread
  • No-Knead Sourdough Rye Focaccia
  • Rye Sourdough Boule
  • Rye Sourdough Tortillas
  • Sourdough Rye Molasses Snack Bread
  • Sourdough Rye Muffins
  • Honey-Sweetened Rye Sourdough Brownies

Working With Rye Sourdough Starter

In my experience, rye flour creates a superior sourdough starter which can be placed in a sourdough bread kit. Many bakers find this to be true and so keep a rye sourdough starter to use even in wheat baking. There are various theories on why rye works so well as a medium for the sourdough culture, but whatever the case may be I can testify to this personally. This Rye Sourdough Starter is incredibly vigorous, raising breads often much quicker than other starters. Because I prefer to ferment our breads for at least 12-24 hours, I utilized this fact to my advantage. With a 12+ hour fermentation begun right before bed and the higher hydration of the dough, I can then pan the bread whenever I’m ready and it does its final proof in 1-2 hours. This starter makes 100% rye sourdough baking a dream. The entire table of contents can be found at the listing for 100% RYE and don’t forget to check out the Rye Sourdough Starter.

download our sourdough guide and recipe book
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