Sourdough Danish Rye/Rugbrød på surdej (Denmark)

Rye %: 84%
Stages: Stage 1 sponge, Stage 2 sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture
Start to Finish: 26-30 hours
Hands-on Time: 35-45 minutes
Yield: Two 2¾ lb./1.25 kg loaves

The Danes are known for their rye breads, of which there are dozens of variations, all of which are called “Rugbrød.” Most are sweet and dense, loaded with seeds and coarse rye meal to provide both richness and a satisfyingly rustic coarse mouth feel.

This one is a different. Instead of the sweetness I’ve come to expect in Danish ryes, this one surprises with the intensity of its sour. Which isn’t surprising, considering that it’s built on a two-stage sour sponge that preferments over half of the total flour and ripens for a full 24 hours. Add to that the mild bitterness of a lager or Kolsch-style beer, and you get a bright sour-forward chew that slowly unfolds to reveal the spicy sweetness of the rye and rich nuttiness of a generous addition of pumpkin, sunflower, flax and sesame seeds. I like it spread lightly with cream cheese and topped with a slice of cured meat or fish, or with cold chicken breast, freshly ground black pepper and a mustard-mayonnaise dressing.

Stage 1 sponge (Day 1, Morning):

Ingredient Grams Ounces Baker’s
Percentage
Wholegrain rye flour 100 3.55 100%
Warm (105°F/41°C) water 100 3.55 100%
Rye sour culture 10 0.35 10%

In the mixer bowl, combine the stage 1 sponge ingredients, cover and ferment at room temperature (70°F/21°C) 10-12 hours. The sponge will have doubled in volume and will have a strong acidic smell.

 

 

Stage 2 sponge (Day 1, Evening):

Ingredient Grams Ounces Baker’s
Percentage
Stage 1 sponge 210 7.45 31%
Wholegrain rye flour 670 23.65 100%
Warm (105°F/41°C) water 670 23.65 100%
Salt 40 1.40 6%
Dark corn syrup or light molasses 50 1.75 7%
Raw pumpkin seeds 100 3.55 15%
Raw sunflower seeds 100 3.55 15%
Brown flaxseed 70 2.45 10%
Sesame seed 35 1.25 5%

Add the stage 2 sponge ingredients to the Stage 1 sponge, mix by hand or machine to combine into a fairly stiff dough. Cover and let stand overnight, 10-12 hours, at room temperature. The sponge will have doubled in volume and show numerous broken bubbles on the surface.

 

Final Dough (Day 2, Morning):

Ingredient Grams Ounces
Stage 2 sponge 1,945 69.00
Coarse rye meal 500 17.65
Whole wheat flour 235 8.30
Beer 320 11.30

Add the final dough ingredients and use the dough hook to mix at low (KA 2) until evenly blended into a soft, sticky dough, 4-5 minutes.

 

 

 

Put about 2¼ lb/1.5 kg into each of two well-greased 9 x 4 x 4-inch/23 x 10 x 10 cm. Pullman loaf pans, filling them about ² ⁄₃ full. Use wet hands and a plastic scraper to smooth the dough.

 

 

Cover and proof at room temperature until the dough has reached the rim of the pans and the top shows numerous broken bubbles, 3-5 hours.

 

 

Preheat the oven to 435°F/225°C with the baking surface in the middle. Brush the tops of the loaves with water and bake without steam until the loaves thump when tapped with a finger and the internal temperature is at least 198°F/92°C, 75-90 minutes. Unpan the loaves, transfer to a rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.

Baker’s Percentages:

Ingredient

g

%

TOTAL FLOUR

1,505

100.00%

   Whole rye flour

770

51.16%

   Coarse rye meal

500

33.22%

   Whole wheat flour

235

15.61%

Water

770

51.16%

Beer

320

21.26%

Salt

40

2.66%

Rye sour culture

10

0.66%

Pumpkin seeds

100

6.64%

Sunflower seeds

100

6.64%

Flaxseed

70

4.65%

Sesame seed

35

2.33%

Syrup 50

3.32%

TOTAL FORMULA 3,000 199.34%
Flour prefermented 770 51.16%

15 Comments

  • Jean Etue

    October 20, 2017

    My favorite type of bread.

    Reply
  • Hana

    October 22, 2017

    Is that really whole wheat flour to go into this bread? Should I use only rye instad of wheat?

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      October 22, 2017

      I suggest you follow the recipe the first time and then try different variations. I think this bread will also work as 100% rye, but expect it to be denser and gummier.

      Reply
  • Jon

    October 22, 2017

    You call for 10 g sour rye culture but you don’t explain how to get the sour rye culture, elaborate.

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      October 22, 2017

      rye sour culture = sourdough starter fed with rye flour. i generally hydrate at 100% and inoculate with 10% starter culture.

      Reply
  • Susan

    October 22, 2017

    I made this using 100% rye and it was magnificent. I just goofed up and missed the fact that the third mix used whole wheat. Not gummy. I followed the recipe to the letter in all other respects. Husband enjoyed a slice with good butter and pronounced it excellent. He is thinking that heating a slice in the toaster oven instead of toasting it, will unlock the flavor for breakfast with some Manchego or Petit Basque cheeses. I had only one Pullman style pan of the correct length and had to make do with a lighter and slightly shorter pan for the other portion of the dough. Of course this translated into different baking results, with the shorter and thinner pan loaf baking out about 10 minutes faster than the Pullman loaf.

    Stanley, would there be any advantage in parking your loaf pans in the oven atop a baking sheet?

    Reply
  • Bread Winner

    October 22, 2017

    Found this recipe a little late as I had already started Tartines method for Rene’s Rye but used some of your methods and tweaked the ratios in both to make this interesting loaf! Next time I’ll start with the preferment sponges. Thanks for the post and recipes! Getting your book soon 🙂

    Reply
  • mebake

    October 23, 2017

    Thanks a ton for sharing, Stan!

    Reply
  • Marisa

    October 23, 2017

    Somewhat overdone at 70 minutes. As a result, it is overly rusty but still delicious. I’ll definitely make it again, perhaps reducing the temperature part way through and am wondering about covering the pullman pans during the bake. Your advice is welcomed.
    p.s. Mr. Ginsberg, you’re making it hard for me to bake my way through your book, as so many of the blog recipes catch my eye!

    Reply
    • Marisa

      October 23, 2017

      whoops – I think I typed my email on the above comment; corrected below.

      Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      October 24, 2017

      Ovens vary and the baking times reflect my own experience and my own oven. I’ve always found that it’s best to monitor internal temperature as baking times approach the bottom of their range and let the thermometer tell me when my bread is done.

      Reply
  • Elizabeth Miller

    October 25, 2017

    Thanks for posting the recipe – I’ve made it and it came out great. I’m enjoying a slice right now (with lots of butter). However, it is a bit sweeter than I prefer, so I’m wondering what happens if I reduce or eliminate the molasses altogether? Would I have to adjust anything to compensate for the loss of moisture?

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      October 25, 2017

      I don’t think omitting the molasses will affect the formula in any significant way. If you find the bread too sweet, feel free to leave it out.

      Reply
  • Marta

    October 31, 2017

    Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic recipe. Excellent whole grain bread, so different from feather like brown colored bread like products on the market. Wakes up my deeply hidden nostalgia for the country left behind, as many of Polish breads look and taste very similar.

    Reply

Leave a Reply