Auvergne Rye Loaf/Tourte de Seigle (France)

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Sour sponge, Yeasted sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 15-17 hours
Hands-on Time: 20-25 minutes
Yield: Two 1½ lb/700 g loaves.

Considering that Tourte de Seigle is one of France’s classic rye loaves, I felt that at some point it was a must-bake, and our plans for a New Year’s Eve gathering offered the perfect excuse. Most of the recipes I’ve seen for this traditional 100% rye bread from France’s Auvergne region are built exclusively on a sour rye sponge. This version, which comes from Christian Maurice, bread instructor at Paris’ Ferrandi Culinary Academy, uses both a sour sponge and a yeasted rye sponge, which moderates the acidity of the finished loaf and lets the sweet spiciness of the rye shine through.

Instead of my usual North American rye flour, I used a German organic wholegrain (Type 1740) rye flour that my friend Hanseata was kind enough to bring back for me after a recent trip home to Hamburg. I was especially curious about European rye flour in light of some negative comments about US rye flours from Nathan Myrhvold, whose monster tome, Modernist Bread (to which I am a contributor), is due out this spring. Interestingly, I found the German flour milder and less flavorful than the American rye flour I generally use. Nor have I experienced the same chronic density problems in my breads that Dr. Myrhvold attributes to domestic rye flours. In fact, all things being equal, I prefer the more assertive flavor profile of the US grain.

The bread itself was delightful: thick-crusted, tight crumbed yet tender, with an almost creamy mouth feel and a flavor profile in which the sweet nuttiness of the rye gradually gave way to a satisfying sour finish. We served this bread on New Year’s Eve, thinly sliced, lightly filmed with Irish butter and topped with thick slabs of smoked Norwegian salmon. The canapés disappeared very quickly.

Sour Rye Sponge (Day 1, Evening):

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Baker’s
Percentage

Whole rye flour

120

4.25

100%

Water

120

4.25

100%

Rye sour culture

12

0.40

10%

Combine the sour sponge ingredients, cover and ferment at room temperature (70°F/21°C) until doubled in volume, 8-10 hours or overnight.

 

 

Yeasted Rye Sponge (Day 2, Morning):

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Baker’s
Percentage

Whole rye flour

250

18.50

100%

Water

250

8.80

100%

Instant yeast, 1 tsp.

1

0.02

0.20%

Combine the yeasted sponge ingredients, cover and ferment at room temperature (70°F/21°C) until doubled in volume, 2-2½ hours.

 

 

Final Dough (Day 2, Morning):

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Sour rye sponge

252

8.90

Yeasted rye sponge

501

17.65

Whole rye flour

525

18.50

Water

350

12.35

Salt

18

0.65

In the mixer bowl, combine the final dough ingredients and use the dough hook to mix at low (KA 2) speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until they form a stiff dough that leaves the sides of the bowl, 5-6 minutes.

 

 

Cover the bowl and ferment the dough at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 75-90 minutes.

 

 

 

Turn the dough, which will be spongy, onto a well-floured work surface.

 

 

 

Divide it into two pieces, each weighing approximately 28 oz/800 g and shape each into a boule. Place seam-side down in a well-floured banneton, brotform or cloth-lined basket.

 

 

Cover and proof at room temperature until the surface of the dough shows wide cracks, 40-50 minutes.

 

 

 

Preheat the oven to 500°F/260°C with the baking surface in the middle and a steam pan on a lower shelf. Turn the loaves onto a well-floured peel, if using a baking stone, or parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake 10 minutes with steam, then remove the steam pan and reduce the temperature to 410°F/210°C. Continue baking until the loaves thump when tapped with a finger and the internal temperature is at least 198°F/92°C, 35-40 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.

Baker’s Percentages

Ingredient

g

%

Whole rye flour

895

100.00%

Water

720

80.45%

Salt

18

2.01%

Instant yeast

1

0.06%

Rye sour culture

12

1.34%

TOTAL FORMULA

1,646

183.85%

Flour prefermented

370

41.34%

 


11 Comments

  • Chris

    January 12, 2017

    Is that a typo in the yeasted sponge portion? Should it be 250g rye flour instead of 525g?

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      January 12, 2017

      You’re right. Recipe has been corrected. Thanks for your sharp eyes.

      Reply
  • Dean

    January 12, 2017

    I’m sorry, but I’m new. The “rye sour culture” you use in your first step: I don’t see your recipe for that anywhere. I have some sour culture I made (from a Cooks Illustrated recipe), but I doubt that will work…

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      January 12, 2017

      Why do you doubt it will work? Any healthy sourdough culture will work; after all, it’s nothing more (or less) than a colony of living microorganisms — yeast and lactic acid bacteria — that really don’t care where their nutrients come from. Adding a sourdough starter to a flour+water mix simply inoculates the mixture with the microorgs and provides them with a banquet. Long story short, your Cooks Illustrated sour culture should work just fine. Simply feed it with rye flour instead of wheat.

      Reply
  • Dean

    January 12, 2017

    Thank you! I’m excited to try!

    Reply
  • Dean

    January 22, 2017

    I see you “corrected” to 250g of water and rye in the yeasted rye sponge, but it still calls for 776g in the final dough. Do you mean 501g? Thanks!

    Reply
  • Bob

    January 24, 2017

    Just noticed this recipe is different than the Rye – Wheat Boule in the Rye Baker. Will be interesting to compare.

    Reply
  • Andy

    March 6, 2017

    Hi Stanley. Sorry to bother, but I’ve tried this now a couple of times. Using my sour culture, the sour rye sponge you suggest (120 rye, 120 water, 12 culture) just sits there like the proverbial latke…no rise at all. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      March 7, 2017

      If your culture is robust, you shouldn’t have any problems. Otherwise, you might want to check the quality of the flour, water, salinity, if any, ambient temperature. A healthy rye sponge will triple in volume in 8-10 hours after feeding.

      Reply
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