Working with rye flour alone is quite different than a wheat and rye mix. Rye does not rise well or have as pleasant of a texture when it is over-mixed or too dry. For that reason you’ll find this dough quite sticky and very different than the wheat dough you may have worked with in the past. Once the basics are mastered and the baker is acclimated, this very simple rye sourdough loaf will be easy to throw together again and again.
- 1/3 cup rye sourdough starter
- 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 1/2 cups rye flour
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- Combine sourdough starter and 1 1/4 cups of water in a mixing bowl. Stir in the rye flour and sea salt until all ingredients are well combined. The dough should be very soft and sticky. Unlike wheat bread, it should not pull away from the sides of the bowl. You should barely be able to handle the dough with wet hands. If the dough seems any stiffer than just described add another 1/4 cup or more of water and mix well.
- Butter a one-pound bread pan. Wet down clean hands and scrape the dough from the pan. Pass it back and forth from hand to hand several times to create a brick-like shape that will fit inside the loaf pan. Carefully turn dough over into the loaf pan. Do not attempt to spread the wet dough out, which may hinder rising. Dough should fill the vessel as it rises.
- Place loaf inside a large plastic bag that will not touch the surface of the bread while rising. Alternatively, sprinkle the top of the loaf with flour and cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap.
- Ferment and rise in a warm place for 6-12 hours, depending on temperature. The dough should be at the top of the loaf pan when it is ready to bake. This can be done overnight or started first thing in the morning for a night baking.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove plastic bag or towel from the bread and place in the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 180-200°F.