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Rye sour starter - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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Rye sour starter

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  • Rye sour starter

    I was just down in Portland this weekend and I picked up Bernard Clayton's book while at Powell's. I saw some recipes for buckwheat bread and I'm currently making the rye starter that he recommends on p. 108. It consists of rye flour and caraway seeds. You also put onions in it for the first 24 hours. Has anyone tried this?

  • #2
    Re: Rye sour starter

    Hi Papavino!

    I have heard of that approach but haven't tried it. Rye is an especially easy grain to get a sourdough culture going in. There is nothing magic about the caraway seeds or the onions. Water and rye will work about as well most of the time. You should have a fragile sourdough starter in about 3-4days but it will probably be a week to ten days before it is really robust enough to use for bread.

    I personally only maintain a white bread flour starter and when I want rye or whole wheat, I simply feed a bit twice with the preferred flour. At that point 100 grams of starter at 100% hydration will contain 50 grams of water, 37.5 grams of rye (or whole wheat), and 12.5 grams of flour. I don't worry about the minor flour pollution. This way I can quickly have the starter (well almost) that I want with minimal hassle of maintaining a bunch of starters.

    Good Luck!


    • #3
      Re: Rye sour starter


      I was thinking about the issue of multiple starters this weekend. I figured the caraway seeds in the rye sour predispose it for rye-style breads. I might go your method and just make a generic starter to use in most of my breads.

      When I was at Powell's looking at bread books, a guy came up to me and pointed out a couple books he thought were great. Clayton's, Richard Bertinet's and Reinhart's. Turns out he has a WFO (barrel vault) that he built about a year ago and also lives in Seattle. Small world. He also mentioned that he cuts off a bit of his dough from each bread he makes and adds that to his next batch, which is recommended in one of the books.


      • #4
        Re: Rye sour starter

        Hi Papavino!

        There are lots of rye breads that don't use caraway though. To me it seems pretty strange to put caraway in the starter.

        The keep a piece of dough approach is in my experience used most by people who bake every day. As the dough is lower hydration it has pretty good keeping capability in the fridge. One should NOT add salt before stealing the dough however. The unsalted dough is basically a stiff, low hydration starter.

        Let us know how things work!


        • #5
          Re: Rye sour starter

          I don't keep caraway in my starter, but I do add it to the sponge. While I know a lot of people don't like caraway in their rye, I love it. I think it adds to the flavor of the bread when you put it in overnight.

          I do keep a rye starter- which I feed alternately with just rye and then the next time I feed half rye and half bread flour. I think it gets too strong when I only feed it rye. REALLY sour.

          I used to keep a whole wheat and a bread flour starter too, but now I only keep the rye and the bread flour ones. It's really easy to add whole wheat flour to a little of the fed starter to get a nearly all whole wheat one, and I'm not that dedicated to pure whole wheat. (don't stone me!)



          • #6
            Re: Rye sour starter

            Hi Elizabeth!

            If you are stoned, then I am stoned! 12 grams of bread flour in 1200 grams of whole wheat or rye is simply not enough to be significant to anyone but a (fill in the blank).

            I have tried keeping a rye starter and it is not active enough for it is always over the hill. That is clearly my fault and not the starters - so I just feed my regular starter as referred to above and it is always super active and rearing to go after being fed a few times!