Sourdough Auvergne Rye Loaf/Tourte de Seigle (France)

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Stage 1 sponge, Stage 2 sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture
Start to Finish: 14-16 hours
Hands-on Time: 25-30 minutes
Yield: Two 1¾ lb/800 g loaves

A couple of months ago, I posted a recipe for this Auvergne classic that used both a rye sour sponge and a yeasted rye sponge. Then I came across a video from the École internationale de boulangerie for this same bread, but built on a sour sponge only. Of course, me being me, I had to bake it as well – both for my own curiosity and also because I was teaching a rye baking workshop for the Bread Bakers Guild of America and needed about 2 lb/900g of stale rye bread, which I didn’t have on hand. This bread, being 100% rye and devoid of flavoring agents outside of salt, was the perfect candidate for staling (with enough left over for comparison tasting with my earlier loaf).

Except for the use of yeast in the first recipe, both breads are strikingly similar. Both breads contain 100% rye and both preferment 42% of total flour. Two points of difference are that the yeast version is hydrated at about 80% and contains 2% salt, while this version is hydrated at 91% and contains just over 1% salt.

Despite their similarities, the finished loaves were very different. For one thing, the crumb on this bread was far more open, owing, I think, to the higher hydration, and making for a much more pleasant chew. And while both loaves showcased the sweet-nutty flavor of the rye, I found this version’s more assertive sour finish – understandable, considering the two-stage sour sponge – much more to my taste.

I think if there’s a lesson to be learned, it’s that each of the world’s rye breads isn’t a single, carved-in-stone entity, but a constantly evolving embodiment of the culture and conditions of its birthplace. I’ve seen hundreds of rye bread recipes from all across Europe and America, each different, each with its own unique characteristics, and all worthy of baking and enjoying.

Stage 1 sponge (Day 1, Evening):

Ingredient Grams Ounces Baker’s
Percentage
Wholegrain rye flour 118 4.15 100%
Warm (105°F/41°C) water 118 4.15 100%
Rye sour culture 14 0.50 12%

Mix the sponge ingredients by hand, cover and ferment at room temperature (70°F/21°C) overnight, 10-12 hours. The sponge will have tripled in volume and be very bubbly.

 

 

Stage 2 sponge (Day 2, Morning):

Ingredient Grams Ounces Baker’s
Percentage
Stage 1 sponge 250 8.80 100%
Wholegrain rye flour 250 8.80 100%
Warm (105°F/41°C) water 250 8.80 100%

Combine the Stage 1 sponge and the Stage 2 ingredients in the mixer bowl, cover and ferment at room temperature until the dough has visibly expanded and shows cracks or broken bubbles, 1½-2 hours.

 

 

Final Dough (Day 2, Midday):

Ingredient Grams Ounces
Stage 2 sponge 750 26.40
Wholegrain rye flour 500 17.65
Warm (105°F/41°C) water 425 15.00
Salt 10 0.35

In the mixer bowl, combine the final dough ingredients and use the dough hook at low (KA2) speed to mix until fully blended into a soft, sticky dough that gathers around the hook but doesn’t leave the sides of the bowl, 5-6 minutes.

 

 

Cover the bowl and ferment at room temperature until the dough doubles in volume and shows cracks or broken bubbles, 1½-2 hours.

 

 

 

Turn the dough onto a well-floured work surface and divide into two pieces, each weighing about 1 ¾ lb/800g. Use floured hands to gently shape each into a boule, then place each boule seam side up in a floured linen-lined banneton or cloth-lined proofing basket. Cover and proof at room temperature until the dough has visibly expanded and shows cracks or broken bubbles, 20-30 minutes.

 

Preheat the oven to 445°F/230°C with the baking surface in the middle. Turn the loaf onto a well-floured peel, if using a baking stone, or a parchment-lined sheet pan.

 

 

Bake without steam for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 430°F/220°C and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature again to 390°F/200°C and bake until the loaves thump when tapped with a finger and the internal temperature is at least 200°F/93°C, 30-40 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.

Bakers Percentages:

Ingredient g %
Whole rye flour 868 100.00%
Water 793 91.35%
Salt 10 1.15%
Rye sour culture 14 1.61%
TOTAL FORMULA 1,685 194.24%
Prefermented 368 42.36%

27 Comments

  • David M Snyder

    March 22, 2017

    Hi, Stan. This looks good, and I am going to try it. Please verify: “Bake without steam…” Or is this a typo?

    BTW, I have just gotten around to reading your book . You know, it’s really good!

    Best regards,

    David

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      March 22, 2017

      I baked without steam and the loaves came out extremely well. I think that the shortness of the proof, only 15-20 minutes, allows the crust to maintain flexibility during the spring. Glad you like the book!!

      Reply
      • David M Snyder

        March 22, 2017

        Thanks for your speedy reply. David

        Reply
  • Danielle

    March 23, 2017

    Really enjoyed the comparison of the two loves, thank you

    Reply
  • Florin Brutărescu

    March 24, 2017

    If we would ferment for 20-30 minutes and proof for 1.5-2hrs, could we get a greater volume of the bread ?

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      March 24, 2017

      Probably not. If anything, the bread would most likely decrease in volume and become gummy because of overfermentation, which runs the risk of excessive starch degradation. For a detailed explanation of starch degradation, see my book, The Rye Baker, pages 47-48.

      Reply
      • Florin Brutărescu

        April 20, 2017

        Well, I did open the book at page 47-48 (it arrived 2 weeks ago :), but still not convinced. The reason I am asking is because Apieceofbread (Ian Lowe) had a 100% rye recipe on his IG that required a very short bulk (20min) followed by a 3h proof (recipe is here: https://www.instagram.com/p/z3TojVGBoq/)

        Reply
        • Stanley Ginsberg

          April 20, 2017

          In fact, bulk fermentation/proof times can vary considerably. As I note elsewhere in the book, “… rye doughs, especially those with a large sour sponge component, are really pretty time tolerant, with average bulk fermentation times of 1 hour or longer — a few fermenting for as long as 5 or 6 hours.” (p 61)

          “On average, rye breads proof for about 45 minutes, but as with bulk fermentation, proofing times can vary considerably, depending on the composition of the dough and the bulk fermentation time. Ammerland Black Bread, for example, proofs for 2½–3 hours, but that’s because it goes directly from mixer to pan, with no bulk fermentation. Zakopane Buttermilk Rye, on the other hand, proofs for 1–1½ hours after fermenting for just 20–30 minutes. And Galician Rye, which ferments for 2–2½ hours, proofs for less than 10 minutes. (p 63) … “

          Reply
  • Susan San Martin

    March 24, 2017

    Hello,
    I baked this bread this afternoon. The flavor is very pure as you said, and the salt level is perfect for me. I used Hodgson Mills whole rye flour. I just read the preceding comment about gumminess resulting from overfermentation, and that may be a clue explaining the result I got. I let the loaf go for an extra 20 minutes over your time for the proof. I baked it and checked the internal temp with a Thermapen at 25 minutes after I lowered the temperature for the last time. It read 218 so I pulled the loaves. I let them cool thoroughly and they were maybe a 3 out of 10 on the gumminess scale. Do you think that 20 minutes of extra fermentation could be the culprit? The other question I have is about the meaning of “room temperature.” I now use a folding electric bread proofer and can set temps digitally. This beats the heck out of other options in our house. I let the bread go another 20 minutes because it seemed like it hadn’t risen very much…..and I thought that maybe the room was too cool.

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      March 25, 2017

      Overproofing and underbaking are generally the two major culprits in gummy loaves, and I suspect the extra fermentation time was the cause in this case. When I specify room temperature, I mean 70-72F (21-22C).

      Rye breads often don’t expand much during proofing, especially when the proofing is of short duration, as in this bread. Rather, the crumb gets its structure from both the bulk fermentation and oven spring.

      You may also want to let the loaves season for a day or two; often, that will redistribute moisture from the center to the crust and reduce the gumminess.

      Reply
  • Susan San Martin

    March 26, 2017

    I just sampled the bread this morning and it is indeed less gummy! Thank you for your bread detective work, Stanley, I will try this loaf again with my proofer at “room temperature” and my timer on a lanyard ’round my neck…..I will let not my eyes deceive me with my wheat baker’s assumptions about rise!

    Reply
  • Dean

    March 26, 2017

    Hello Stanley,

    Lately I’ve been using the Detmold 3-stage process for my rye bread, the dough being baked in Pullman pans. It comes out much darker than your bread shown here. The fermentation steps are longer, especially stage II. Could that be the reason? Also, I mill all of the whole grain myself. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      March 26, 2017

      The ripening of the sour shouldn’t affect the color, but the fermentation likely does, since the amylases have more time to break the starches into sugars, resulting in a greater degree of caramelization.

      Reply
  • Joy

    March 26, 2017

    Hello Stanley,

    Can I bake these in a tin and does the initial 14 g sour culture need to be active or can it come straight out of the refrigerator?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      March 26, 2017

      Yes, you can pan them; you’d just need to pay attention to internal temperature. Also, you can use the culture right out of the fridge, as long as it hasn’t gone more than 24 hours since its last feeding.

      Reply
      • Joy

        March 26, 2017

        Okay, cool. Will try it. Is the internal temp same as for regular bread? 98 – 98 c?

        Reply
  • Mark Woodward

    March 28, 2017

    Hi Stan,

    I’m looking forward to trying this. I just watched the video and noticed that you are doing some things rather differently. First of all, you are fermenting at room temperature when the video calls for maintaining a target dough temperature of between 86°F and 95°F (30°C-35°C) and fermenting at 95°F. Second, you are gently shaping the boules before putting them in the bannetons, whereas the video calls for gently scooping the dough into the bannetons without any shaping so as to avoid any degassing. And finally, you are baking without steam when the video calls for initial steam. I am just wondering why you have made these changes. Also, the video puts great emphasis on measuring and controlling the PH, which you don’t mention (perhaps not a bad thing since I don’t have anything with which to measure the PH!). I’ll look forward to your response. Many thanks and all the best,

    Mark
    P.S. I also love the book – this is the book I wanted when I started baking a few years ago but it didn’t exist then. : )

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      March 30, 2017

      Yes, I tweaked the recipe in order to make it more accessible to most home bakers, who (a) don’t generally have the capability to ferment/proof doughs at temperatures much above room temperature, and (b) don’t normally have pH readers in their kitchens. My approach is much more seat-of-the-pants, if you will: the pre-Industrial bakers who produced these breads did so without benefit of modern science or technology, the whole purpose of which, at least in baking, IMO, is to produce products with consistent taste, texture and appearance. Ergo, I dispensed with the stuff that I thought would be beyond most home bakers (but included the link to the video for those interested in going directly to the source).

      As for the steam, I decided to bake dry to see what happened and was very satisfied with the result, so I think it’s safe to say that steam is optional for this one.

      Reply
  • Stephanie

    March 28, 2017

    Hello,
    I have a question that might sound stupid to experts, but as I am a beginner I need to ask: Do you have a recipe on how to make the rye sour culture that is needed for many breads?
    Thanks in advance:)

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      March 30, 2017

      There are literally dozens of ways to start a sourdough culture, and you might try googling “sourdough” or do a search on thefreshloaf.com. I give instructions in The Rye Baker as well. Also, I recently discovered that the easiest way to start a culture is to mix equal weights of organic whole rye flour and water, place the mixture in a covered container and let it rest for 3-4 days, after which time it should be bubbly and visibly expanded. Remove 3/4 of the culture and feed the rest with equal weights of flour and water, then let it rest for a day. Repeat this daily for a week and your culture will be ready to use.

      Reply
  • Susan San Martin

    April 1, 2017

    Hello Stanley,
    I tried this recipe again yesterday, this time paying careful attention to the times in your recipe and using my proofing box set at 72. I baked them with the stepped down temps as described in your recipe, and the final leg of the bake I left the loaves in for 30 min. Once fully cooled, still gummy, but maybe a 2.5 on a scale of 10. So, less gummy than before. Any thoughts? I wonder if the Hodgson Mills whole rye is relevant?

    Reply
    • Dean

      April 20, 2017

      Hi Susan,
      As has been suggested, you may want to wait two full days before slicing. It can take a while for the startches to fully gelatinize. When I wait two days, I’ve never had a problem with gumminess. Also, I always use 100% whole grain rye…never sifted. In fact, I’ve found that the coarser grinds work better than finer grinds. Good luck!

      Reply
  • Mark Woodward

    April 2, 2017

    I baked this a few days ago, but waited until yesterday to taste it. My rye sour culture (AKA sourdough starter made with some leftover pumpernickel flour) came straight from the fridge and hadn’t been refreshed for some two weeks (I just moved). I milled my own flour, sifting and remilling the stuff remaining in the sifter twice to get finer flour (after the third pass through the mill I just included the remaining larger bits of bran and germ). I fermented at 95°F/35°C as called for in the video. At both stages I let the fermentation continue for two hours because after 1.5 hours the dough didn’t look fermented enough. I simply scooped the dough into the bannetons as in the video (the dough was so wet it would have been nearly impossible to shape). And I am very pleased with the results. The loaves look like those both in the video and in the recipe above. The crumb is relatively open (for a 100% whole grain bread) and the rye and sour flavors are assertive. It is not gummy (no doubt thanks to waiting two days before cutting the bread). In short, I am very pleased with the outcome. Cheers, Mark
    : )

    Reply
  • Susan San Martin

    April 2, 2017

    Hi Mark,
    Where did you get your rye grain?

    Reply
    • Mark Woodward

      April 2, 2017

      Hi Susan,

      I get the rye berries at my local organic store. In my case this is MOM’s Organic Market. I think I’ve seen them at Whole Foods too. Cheers,

      Mark

      Reply
      • Susan San Martin

        April 2, 2017

        Thanks! I’ll try the triple-mill sifting — you have good control over particle size with your technique.

        Reply

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