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Can you use more rye flour in a rye bread that suggested?

Mar 9, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose

Your rye breads have a very small amount of rye flour in proportion to white. Can you use more rye flour in a rye bread?

My preference is for a light rye flavor and texture so I use just under 18% rye. If you want higher than 20% rye you need to make a sourdough rye because the acidity of the sourdough is necessary to keep the crumb from getting sticky (due to the pentosans in the rye flour).

To make a bread with about 42% rye, convert the sourdough starter to a sourdough rye starter by feeding it medium rye flour instead of bread flour. You will need a few extra drops of water to achieve a smooth consistency. It will take 9 feedings until you have replaced all the white flour in the starter with rye. (You can do the feedings every 12 hours, leaving the starter at room temperature, or more gradually, refrigerating the starter as per the chart on page 437.) Then use this starter to make the Sourdough Rye on page 451.

When making the bread, feed the starter only medium rye flour but in the dough, omit the 3/4 cups of rye flour, and use a total of 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (11.5 ounces/325 grams) of bread flour. The dough will rise much more quickly using this high a percentage of rye flour (about 2 hours after the first 2 business letter turns and about 2 1/2 hours after shaping).


jerry, it is important that you check the errata/correction page on the home page of this blog. the rye flour and other corrections from earlier printings of the book are listed.


I just bought your book 'The Bread Bible' and starting baking bread using many of your recipes. I have baked the "Levy's" Real Jewish Rye Bread a couple of times and has turned out great using a La Cloche. I have a question on your recipe. On page 326, step 2 where you combine the ingrediants for the flour mixture before adding to the sponge from step 1. In the book, it states

'In a large bowl, whisk together the bread flour (reserve 1/4 cup if mixing by hand), rye flour, yeast, caraway seeds, and salt.
But I do not see 'rye flour' listed in the book for ingredients in the 'Flour Mixture'. Is this just a typo or mistake? I see rye flour listed in the ingredients for the Sponge. I just want to make sure I am not missing an ingredient for baking this bread.

Please let me know.




most commercial flours have malt powder in them but you can buy diastatic malt powder from Barry Farm .com. Adding this to any yeasted bread recipe will improve the yeast reaction and add somewhatof a flavor to your product.In making French or Italian bread you will find that the addition of a small amont of ascobic acid ( Fruit Fresh ) will give a (hot)boost to the yeast rise in any Artisan bread recipe. a strong sour is essential in all european breads.


Hi Jean, search for all those ingredients on the King Arthur Flour site, and you will see what they are. They are all specialty baking ingredients, and except for the last one, not what you are describing. Pumpernickel flour is coarse rye flour, and while it won't be exactly the same, they are interchangeable. I believe the malt and caramel are optional in the recipe.


Jean Howell
Jean Howell
01/13/2010 01:02 PM

When making pumpernicle bread the recipe on page 461 calls for malt powder - is that powder used in malted milks or is it malt flour?

It also calls for caramel powder is that caramel glaze powder for popcorn?

It calls for pumpernicle flour is that just rye flour? I couldn't find any flour called pumpernicle.

I'm confused.



sure. the only difference is probably the coarseness of the grind.


Rose, I was able to find a bag of rye Flour. The bag just says "ye flour", there´s no way to know which kind of rye flour it is. Is it OK to use it for *any* kind of rye bread? (Levy´s rye bread, pumpernickel?)


i would go to a local bread bakery and ask to buy some rye flour--there really is no substitute!


I live in Australia and recently acquired a recipe for corn bread which required Rye flour. The only problem is, I am experiencing great difficulty in sourcing rye flour as it is not stocked at the local supermarket nor any of the specialty stores within my city. Is it possible to substitute the rye flour with plain flour or would this alter the texture and flavor of the bread?

Many Thanks


Julia - Rose recipes include the volume, ounces/pounds, and grams/kilograms for each ingredient.

For example: Rye flour 2 C 6.75 190 would mean:
2 cups, or 6.75 ounces, or 190 grams of rye flour (they're are all the same amount).


Could someone clarify the differences between dark, medium, and light rye? If a recipe calls for "rye flour" which type do I use? If a recipe calls specifically for "light rye," can a combination of dark rye and bread flour be a substitute?


Julia McDermott
Julia McDermott
03/ 6/2007 08:47 PM

I've just read David Chessler's comparison of Rose's Celebrations vs. Bread Bible recipes for Real Jewish Rye bread and found the analysis fascinating. However, I'm not sure I understand how to read the list of ingredients. For example, what does it mean when it says, "Rye flour 2 C 6.75 190"? Or, "Sugar 2T + .5t 0.93 27.1"? Obviously, these are measurements, but I could use a little help with the string of numbers following the more familiar cup, tablespoon and teaspoon abbreviations. Would someone out there please enlighten me? Thanks!


marc reynolds
marc reynolds
02/11/2007 12:05 PM

Thank you for your new Challah recipe. It took a while to develop the stiff starter, it's done and I feed it 3 x week.
Before dveloping & using the starter, last time I followed the Bread Bible challah recipe (2 weeks ago) using Harvest King flour and it came out very dense and heavy. In the past I have used all purpose and they were better but still not what I am hping for.
This past week I folowed the new Challah recipe using the stiff starter and a top quality all purpose flour and it was far, far better. Sweet, flavorable, made terrific French toast the next day, it was the best since I started baking Challah 4 months with your recipe. But, it was still a bit dense.
Is there some secret to making the Challah a bit more airy, lighter.
FYI I am baking for our son's boy scout troop ski weekend using your apple recipe from the Pie & Tart Bible. The pies are in the freezer to be baked when I get to Vermont in March. I forgot to add corn starch when preparing the apples, but I did melt butter with corn strach that I dribbled over the top of the apples. It came out in small buttery lumps. Will they desolve when baking? Or do you think I should chuck the 3 pies and start over. I have the time.
Lastly we are going to visit your alma mater, UVM, for our son during Presidents week. He wants a school that has pre-law & pre med, is near skiing, sailing, hiking and has a large and active Hillel. UVM except for size meets the criteria.


sweetness is a matter of personal preference. i don't add sugar to hearth bread made with all white flour but rye has an underlying bitterness which i try to balance. again--fine to do it to your taste as is the amount of rye taste you prefer, you know what you're doing--i can see from your postings--which gives you the freedom to experiment and come up with your ideal.
by the way, the double chocolate sweetheart is putting in a reappearance in the new book--i love it so much and since celebrations is no longer in print i want ppl to have that recipe.


David Chessler
David Chessler
02/ 9/2007 12:50 AM

Well, barley malt is sweet to me.... :-)

I do note your comment above, that if you're going above 20% or so rye, you have to pre-ferment the rye. I realize that most of the central and eastern European ryes use a rye sour--indeed I keep a jug of rye sourdough starter in the refrigerator. I have used it to make a "vollkornbrot" (a rye starter, rye flour, soaked rye berries and rye flakes, baked in a pan. It's like a brick but some people like it), and several of George Greenstein's rye breads.

Right now I've got the sponge for one loaf of the Bible version of Levy's rye in the "retarder," and a loaf of the Challah. I find that it's convenient to take the Challah to ahaping and make up (on parchment paper) and THEN put it in a box in the refrigerator. Then tomorrow it will hsve risen and I just have to glaze it, put on the seeds, and bake it.

Last year I made the double chocolate sweetheart cake (Celebrations. p. 35) for valentines and it was such a hit I had to make another for one of my wife's friends' birthdays. I don't know how I'll top it this year. Your devil's food cake from the cake bible just fills a wilton mold, so perhaps I'll make a big bird cake! :-) (I msde one for my grandson's birthday. For Thanksgiving I made him an Elmo cake, using the sponge cake from the cake bible, and icing it with your raspberry essence in butter cream, with a bit of red coloring.


just one thing for now--barley malt is not really sweet--it's more for flavor and feeding the yeast. and another thing: i put the rye in the sponge bc it ferments so much more readily than white wheat flour.


David Chessler
David Chessler
02/ 8/2007 07:44 PM

I solved a problem with my French Country bread by reference to your Bread Bible. (I had started to put the barley malt in the sponge (poolish), and that resulted in a flat, heavy bread.)

This caused me to check thr recipe for real Jewish rye bread, which is is also one I do often.

I have the old recipe from "Rose's Celebrations" (the same recipe that Leader reprints in "Bread Alone'), and which I've been using for over 10 years. This is for a 2 1/4 lb (1 kg) [of wheat flour] loaf. The Bread Bible recipe is for about half that. The major changes are that You now put the rye flour in the sponge (pre-ferment; poolish), and use instant yeast rather than fresh yeast or active dry yeast. (15 or more years ago professional bakers used fresh yeast and home bakers used active dry yeast. Now professional bakers are switching to instant [bread machine] yeast, and home bakers are divided. This is important because instant yeast has more active yeast cells, and you need only about 2/3 to 3/4 as much in the recipe.) You have also replaced some of the sugar with barley malt, which is food for yeast.

So I had to use a spreadsheet to add up the changes. You now uses a total of 936 grams of bread flour, vice 1000 grams earlier. This may not be significant, because the previous recipe was hand-kneaded, and the last cup or so of bread flour was put on the kneading board, so it might not be picked up.

Celebrations recipe
Measure Oz gms
Bread Flour 3 C 462
Sugar 2 T + .5 t 0.93 27.1
Other Sweet
Yeast 2.5 t 25 6.75
Water 3 C
Rye flour
Active Dry Yeast
Bread flour 538
Rye flour 2 C 6.75 190
Sugar .5 t 0.36 10.4
Caraway Seed 1/4 C 1 28
Vegetable Oil 1 T
Salt 1 T 0.7 20

Bread Flour 1000
Sugar 37.5
Rye flour 190
Yeast 6.75
Salt 20
Oil 1 T
Caraway 28
Water 3 C

However, you now use 49.4 grams of sugar, vice 37.5 grams earlier. That is, you used to use 3 T of sugar, and now use 3 T of sugar plus 1 T of barley malt or additional sugar. This is a major increase. I've been cutting the sugar, since we generally don't like sugar in bread, and when I use barley malt, I REPLACE sugar, rather than adding it.

The other major change is that you now use 7.2 grams of instant yeast, rather than 6.75 grams (1 packet) of active dry yeast. This is a LOT more yeast.

Bread Bible x 2
Measure Oz gms
Bread Flour 8 234
Sugar 1.2 37
Other Sweet 12.4
Yeast 3.2
Water 25 728
Rye flour 6.6 190

Bread flour 25 702
Rye flour
Caraway Seed 1 28
Vegetable Oil 0.5 13.4
Salt 0.6 21
Yeast 4

Bread Flour 936
Sugar 49.4
Rye flour 190
Yeast 7.2
Salt 21
Oil 1T
Caraway 28
Water 3 C

Also, you now ferment the sponge for as little as a couple of hours. Previously, you used a 4-5 hour rise for the sponge, perhaps overnight in the "retarder" (refrigerator). (You do suggest that rising overnight gives better flavor.

The third change is that in the earlier book you suggest knocking down (donner un tour) the bread 3 times before shaping it (the third punch down is optional); you now say 2 times, and just give the bread a "fold" rather than a light kneading at each knock-down.

You divid the yeast, putting only a little in the sponge. Previously You put all the yeast in the sponge.

Baking times are shorter if you make the smaller loaf. I've been using a total of 50 min to 1 hour with the older recipe, making 2 long loaves, getting an internal temperature of 205 deg F (say 96 deg C). You now specifically recommend an internal temperature of 190 deg F (88 deg C)

When I do the loaf, I specifically do a glaze. I used to use a cornstarch solution, but that was a nuisance to make and store, so now I use egg (egg white and water if I have it; otherwise whole egg and water). I also sprinkle additional caraway seeds on top. I also don't usually use the refrigerator, but leave the sponge overnight on the counter. I also usually use a pinch of vitamin C in the dough. This enhances the yeast. I've also increased the rye flour to 10 oz (280 gms). This makes it about 28 per cent of the wheat flour or 21 % of the total flour, which you consider high, though most of the old-world rye recipes I've seen seem in that range or higher

I am trying the new recipe tonight in terms of fermenting the rye in the sponge. I don't know about the other changes. I don't think it needs more sweetener, though I did replace more of the sugar with barley malt. And I'll have to be cautious about increasing the yeast, I did put less of the yeast in the sponge and more in the dough.

I got a small "pocket scale" for $13 from harborfreight.com. It weighs up to 500 grams in tenths of a gram, which means I can start weighing yeast and other small items. (My attempt to weigh the barley malt syrup created a mess, and I don't think I'll try it again!)


instructions for making a starter are in the very beginning of the chapter on sourdough.


If you are able, please write out the method for making starter and then old starter. I cannot find it in the bread bible. Can you please indicate page numbers in the Bread Bible.
Thank you,
Marc R


thank you!
yes old starter is starter that hasn't been fed for about a week and i use it in it's stiff form.


is this "old starter" that you use a stiff or liquid starter? And to continue that question, in general when your recipes call for old starter do you stay with stiff or liquid old starter? As I've also seen in your new challah recipe you use old starter. I haven't made the new challah only the one as it was presented in the bread bible and I must say it was excellent, thanks.


what a wonderful class project--one learns so many lessons with bread.

check out the stud muffin an also the cheddar bread and the prosciutto bread.

re the cheese, you will see in the photo of the stud muffin cut that the cheese melts and creates open sort of coated holes which i actually like. but the jalepenos, that should be sautéed first, can be coated lightly with flour which will help them cling into the dough.

ingredients incorporate best when you allow the mixed dough to rest covered for 15- to 20 minutes to relax. i like to add them by hand instead of machine but either will work. by hand, i flatten the dough on a lightly floured counter and sprinkle the ingredients evenly over the top. then i roll it up and knead it. if the ingredients are very moist, as they work their way to the surface you will need to sprinkle on a little more flour.

do let us know how it works for you.


Anna Bennett
Anna Bennett
09/28/2006 07:41 AM

I've recently acquired The Bread Bible and my daughter and I are enjoying working the principles into our homeschool lessons on baking science.

Down here in Texas/Oklahoma, there's a favorite bread made with jalepenos and cheese (the variety of cheese changes according to taste, but can be either cheddar or jack).

Most of the recipes I've tried do not incorporate the added ingredients well into the dough, leaving them at a layer on the bottom, or at best with large air pockets surrounding them. Any suggestions, or a recipe whose principles may apply?

Thank you in advance.


the cookies will be more fragile as rye has not gluten forming protein. also there will be a pronounced flavor of rye.


I ran out of all purpose white flour while making sugar cookies and substituted rye flour for the remaining 1/2 of what was needed. Wiil it work???


yes, old starter is unrefreshed.


is "old starter" just unrefreshed starter, or is it something else?


i suspect some bakeries use rye flavor which to my taste has an off after-taste. the old style bakeries certainly did though such as moshes in the lower east side that still exists but every time i bring my 92 3/4 year old father there bc he insists that maybe maybe it will be as it was before we discover that the only thing that hasn't changed is the name.

oh! try the sourdough pumpernickel! no coffee or cocoa needed--the flavor comes from the rye and with the sourdough it's a MUCH more elastic workable dough.


its fabulous. Do most bakeries use sourdough in their rye to give it so much flavor?


david, i'm so glad you've discovered what a difference sourdough makes to the rye bread. i know i've posted several times on this site how i now add old starter to just about every bread i make (not brioche though why not--it's great in the challah that i'll be posting next week).

some people have pets. i have my starter to feed before going on trips and on returning. it's only a few minutes a week and at least i don't have to take it out for a walk!


The sourdough rye bread on page 451 is fantastic!! I thought the jewish rye recipe with the sponge was good until I made the sourdough rye. The depth of flavor cannot be compared between the two. I can't imagine making any rye bread without the sourdough starter.



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