Based on a lighter flour recipe, this whole grain bread contains one third rye flour and is often called “Graubrot” or “Mischbrot” in German. In Germany, the further south you go, the less rye is in the bread, so this would be a bread you might find in Bavaria or Swabia. The rye starter is used to lightly sour the bread and improve the texture.
This bread requires two days to make. Day One - 10 minutes preparation; Day Two - 30 minutes total preparation time, 2-3 hours rise time and 1 hour baking time.
- 1 cup/125 grams flour (course rye)
- 1/2 cup/125 grams water
- 2 teaspoon/10 grams rye starter
- 3 1/3 cups/388 grams flour (white whole wheat)
- 1/4 teaspoon/1 gram yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon/1 gram salt
- 1 1/3 cup/300 ml water
- 2/3 cup/70 grams flour (course rye)
- 2 2/3 cup/320 grams flour (white whole wheat)
- 1 tablespoon/20 grams salt (kosher)
- 1 teaspoon/4 grams yeast (instant)
- 2 teaspoon/10 grams lard (or shortening)
- 1 1/3 cup/300 ml water
The Rye Starter
- A word about the rye starter. This sourdough starter was purchased from King Arthur Flour and split into two versions, one fed with white flour and one fed with rye flour. The rye starter was removed from the refrigerator, stirred and two teaspoons were used in the rye sponge for this recipe.
- The rest of the rye starter was fed, allowed to grow for 2-4 hours, then replaced into the refrigerator. See this article for more on sourdough starters.
- Use a white sourdough starter if that is what you have. This may change the results a little, you may want to feed it with white and rye flours to help it grow.
Day Before Baking
- Mix the rye starter until all flour is wet. Cover and ripen on the counter for 12-18 hours.
- Mix the ingredients for the biga until it forms a ball. Knead it a minute or two until smooth. Cover and let it sit for two hours at room temperature and then 16 hours (and up to two days) in the refrigerator.
- Break two sponges into pieces, sprinkle with flour to keep from sticking back together. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, reserving 1/3 cup of the flour. Mix until the dough comes together to form a ball. Add enough of the reserved flour to make the ball firm, but still slightly tacky.
- Knead for a total of 10-12 minutes, preferably with a stand mixer and dough hook.
- Use wet hands to form dough into a loose ball, cover and let rise for 1 to 2 hours, until visibly risen. The length of the rise depends on the temperature of the dough as well as the room temperature.
- Divide dough in half on a clean, floured surface. Shape bread into two boules, place in a floured basket or floured, cloth-lined bowl, seam side down.
- Let rise for one hour and preheat your oven, with a baking stone if possible, to 450°F at the same time.
- Unmold onto a floured baking peel and load the loaves onto the hot stone. You may use the back of a cookie sheet if you do not have a peel.
- Bake at 450°F for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350°F and continue baking for 40 to 50 more minutes. You may choose to use steam in the first 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven when the inner temperature of the bread reaches 180-200°F. Let the bread cool on a rack for two hours before slicing or it will be gummy inside.