Rye Sourdough Experiment

6/3/2020 sourdough bread baking rye

I feel like one of those people we all love to hate.

You know the type, the "I was into this before it was cool" hipster guy who always has to top everyone else. I don't want to be that guy, but when it comes to sourdough bread, I have to be. It's been super fun to see everyone getting into sourdough during these unprecedented times, but I was making sourdough before it was cool :D

I mixed flour and water to create my sourdough starter in 2016 to see if I could crack it. After a week or so of stinking flour goop, bubbles finally appeared, and now in 2020 this thing is still going strong! It's so cool to bake without commercial yeast and know that your bread has a certain "terroir" (to shamelessly and incorrectly borrow from wine vocabulary), an essence of your own home baked right in.

Anyway, I wanted to try to use my starter to make a sourdough loaf using as much rye flour as I could handle.  Dark rye flour can be incredibly flavorful, and I wondered if it would mix well with my starter.  I found a base recipe for a German-style Mischbrot, and adapted it for my purposes. Here's how it went!


  • 60 g Sourdough Starter
  • 70 g All Purpose Flour
  • 200 g Rye Flour
  • 300 ml Water
  • 6 g Salt

Mix ingredients above thoroughly, and let sit in a warm area until active and rising. This can take 4-12 hours (no joke) depending on your starter and other environmental factors.  I like to wait until it looks like the starter is peaking, and then use it for the recipe, or refrigerate it to develop acetic acid. This can make for a "tangier" loaf. I tried to capture this in the image at the bottom of the post. Each of the 3 shots was taken about 2 hours apart, and you can see how the starter grows over the 6 hours covered.

Once the above is ready, continue with:

  • 300 g Rye Flour
  • 162 ml Boiling Water
  • 24 g Honey
  • 7 g Salt

Mix these ingredients thoroughly, then add the sourdough starter and mix with your hands until all is incorporated. Be prepared for a sticky, sticky, sticky dough that will dry onto your bowls, hands, and utensils like concrete. 

Next, cover the dough and let rise for about 1-1.5 hours.

Flour a surface, turn out the dough, and fold over on itself 10-15 times. Shape into a boule and place into a well-floured proofing basket. Let rise until doubled in size (1 - 1.5 hours).

Preheat oven to 450F with baking sheet inside. After bread has risen, turn out onto preheated baking sheet, and bake for 35-45 minutes until bread is dark and sounds hollow when you knock on the bottom.

LET COOL COMPLETELY before cutting. Super important :)

Starter rising - each image is about 2 hours apart.

Starter rising - each image is about 2 hours apart.