Category Archives: Artisan Baking

Sour Jewish Style Rye

We used to get our rye bread from the Brooklyn bakery out of Waterbury at our local German butcher, Adolphs.  But since the bakery stopped delivering and Adolphs stopped going to pick it up, a wide gap appeared.

And…since I got heavily into baking last fall, I have been experimenting with various recipes to try to reach a similar bread.

Today, I think the formula has finally been reached.  I’ve been hanging out on a forum called The Fresh Loaf and found a recipe for Jewish style sour rye that I used parts of along with another recipe posted by  After some trial and error, today the bread came out almost perfectly…I’d like it a little higher so maybe I’ll proof it a little less.


Just out of the oven and gorgeously golden brown.  The flavor has lots of sour but I think the next time I make it I’m going to back down the caraway seeds to a single tablespoon.


The recipe:

Sour Jewish Style Rye Bread

1.5 -2 cups warm water
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. yeast
700 -750 grams Rye Sour*
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
¾ cup Potato Flour
1 cup Rye Flour
1.5 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. caraway seeds
4.5-5 cups Bread Flour

1 egg, beaten with a little water for brushing or cornstarch glaze*

In a mixer or by hand combine 1 cup warm water with sour starter, sugar and yeast, mix and let sit for 10 minutes.  Add the potato flour, whole wheat flour, rye, salt, caraway seeds and 2 cups of the bread flour.

Mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes with a dough hook, adding additional bread flour while increasing the speed to medium and mix 6 minutes longer, until all the flour is absorbed into the dough to form a sticky, slightly stiff dough.

Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer to a floured surface and knead a few times with a few handfuls of flour. The dough will be quite soft and sticky so use wet or floured hands. Transfer to proofing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise 2 hours @ 70 Degrees F. or until doubled in size.

Divide dough into two pieces (or one large depending on your choice) and shape into oblong loaves, place on parchment covered baking pans that have been sprinkled with semolina flour or fine cornmeal . Cover and let rise for 40 minutes at @ 75-80 Degrees F.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. When the loaves have been fully proofed, carefully remove cover. Slash the dough 3 times across the top with a very sharp knife or razor blade about 3/4 of an inch deep and then brush the dough surface with the egg wash or cornstarch glaze. Pour a cup of boiling water into a pan that has been placed on the oven’s bottom to create steam. After 2 minutes, place the loaves into the oven. After 10 minutes reduce the oven to 375 degree F. Continue to bake for 30 minutes or until center is 190-200 degrees F. turning the loaves after half the baking time for even baking. If making one large loaf increase baking time to 45 minutes or until center reaches appropriate temperature. Remove to cooling racks and wait at least 1 hour before slicing.

*Rye Sour – If you already have a wheat sour, you can use it as a base for the rye sour. Feed a cup of wheat sour equal amounts of rye flour and water 2-3 times a day for 2-3 days, sprinkling the top with a layer of rye flour after each feeding, until it has at least doubled in volume and the top forms cracks and little islands.   You can keep this sour in the fridge. The night before baking, remove a cup and feed it with one cup each of rye flour and water. Before bed, feed it again with 1/2 cups of rye flour and water, again sprinkling the top with rye flour and leave overnight. It should be doubled in volume the next morning, ready for the bake and be the correct amount for the recipe.

**Instead of the egg wash, you can also use a cornstarch glaze:

Add 1-1/2 to 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch that has been dissolved in ¼ cup of water into 1 cup of gently boiling water, whisking constantly. Continue cooking and stirring until slightly thickened (a few seconds, only!) and remove the pan from heat. Set it aside.

Brush the loaves with the cornstarch glaze before placing in the oven, once again when turning the pans halfway and once again after completely baked. Cool the bread on wire racks for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Pumpernickel Bread X2

Tuesday is recording day….my husband is part of a duo that plays German music in the area and they are recording their second CD. Our son, who is also a musician and is graduating from college with a degree in Music Production Technology, is recording them. Consequently, I get to feed them. My husband’s partner loves Pumpernickel bread and is always requesting it….so today I’m baking two different recipes. Oh and in addition we will be having Weitzenbrötchen. A trip to the German butcher will round out the menu planned for “Abendessen”.

First up is a pumpernickel recipe that David (Snyder) posted and I used as a guide. I love the Rye sour from his Jewish Sour Rye and built it up yesterday so that today it was perfect for baking…risen three times its original height, very fluffy and lively and lots of continents.

David uses caramel color in his recipe. We like the taste of the Molasses so I’m giving that a try.  Here are pix of the sour fermenting;









The only significant change I made to David’s recipe was to use 2 tablespoons of Molasses  instead of the caramel color) but I did use caraway.

IMG_0518I think I pretty much overproofed this loaf so I punched it down an additional time and let it rise for another 30 minutes.I did get fairly good spring out of it but its not as pretty as loaf number 2.


According to my panel of independent taste testers, this loaf was more like a traditional Jewish Pumpernickel Rye, which I think was the original intent and it was well liked.

Next up on the baking schedule was a recipe that came from and I’ve made twice before with good results. This time I modified the recipe just a tiny bit…


I put in a cup of rye sour, used the KA Pumpernickel instead of my usual rye, a teaspoon less salt and I baked it on a stone.  IMG_0514I also brushed the outside with beaten egg instead of the butter the recipe called for. I modified the baking a little too, starting out at a higher temperature for a five minutes and adding in a little steam. I think it looks gorgeous.

It apparently was still slightly warm inside when cut.

The loaf was delicious and moist inside and what my husband said was like a more traditional German pumpernickel.



I plan to make these another time to refine what I did and make sure I get consistent results the next time.

Wendy, your Adventuress in Baking

Portuguese Rolls

Bread baking continues in retirement.  In my quest for the perfect Brötchen, I was given a Portuguese Roll recipe by Adelaide who has been cleaning my house for years.  And…she’s Portuguese.

Never one to follow a recipe but use it more as a guide, I researched and tested and came up with my own version.  While we love the Weitzenbrötchen recipe created by Hanseata in her blog sometimes the overnight rise can be problematic…especially when you plan poorly and need something in a few hours.

Enter the Portuguese roll recipe.  I’m still working on my roll shaping.  I think the next time I make the Weitzenbroetchen I will make them round with a slash because I like the way they look.


The insides were light and fluffy while the outside has a nice crunch to it andport3I was able to make a ball out the inside just like those rolls I remember from Germany.

The Recipe:

Portuguese Rolls

600 -650 gr or 4.5 – 5 cups (plus a little more for kneading) All Purpose* Flour
10 gr or 1.5 tsp sea or kosher salt
12 gr or 3 tsp dry active yeast
30 gr or 3 tbsp Olive Oil or equivalent butter NEVER Margerine
450 gr or 2 cups warm water
7 gr or 2 tsp sugar

Proof yeast with sugar in a 100 gr of warm water for 5 minutes or until bubbly. Put the rest of the dry ingredients in a mixer bowl use the minimum flour to start. Add the water and yeast mixture along with the rest of the warm water and mix until incorporated and let rest for 10 minutes. It may seem more like batter. Then mix either with a mixer and dough hook or by hand, adding dough by handfuls until dough is elastic and smooth and slightly tacky.


Turn out on a floured surface and knead a few times before putting into a prepared bowl to rise. IMG_0453

Let the dough rise in a warm place till double (about 1 hour). Divide the dough into equal pieces and with a little flour on your hands shape the dough in rounds, flatten them with the flat of your hand, fold in half and twist both ends to form an oval shape. Place the shaped pieces on a cookie sheet that has been covered with a towel and liberally sprinkled with flour. After placing all the pieces on the flour covered towel, lightly sprinkle the top of the pieces with flour and cover with another clean towel. Allow to rest for 30 minutes until somewhat puffy.


Heat the oven to 500 degrees while the rolls are resting. Brush the rolls with milk and place in the oven.

IMG_0459Turn the oven down to 475. After 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 425 and bake for a total of 20 minutes. Rotate the pans for even baking.

Turn the oven off and leave rolls in the oven with door slightly ajar for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.


*You can use bread flour but rolls will be more chewy

How It all Started

The bread baking that is….

I recently made a foray back into the kitchen.  Being semi-retired I do have a bit more time on my hands.  Add to that Knitting Club’s attendance at a bread baking class and Viola….another hobby!

We started with a sourdough loaf and Challah both of which came out fantastic.  Half of the sourdough still resides in the freezer for later enjoyment…the Challah is gone….the last few slices dipped in egg, fried and smothered in Ron Wenzel’s famous maple syrup…yum!







Next I started a quest to find recipes for the breads like we always get in Germany….a nice sourdough rye and brötchen, especially the ones with seeds in and on.  So far I’ve found three keeper recipes:  Weizenbrötchen, Schwarzwalder Kruste and Bauernbrot.

IMG_0092 IMG_0062IMG_0050






I have been going full bore with the baking.  And am now trying to perfect the art of making the perfect artisan sourdough loaf.  We are up to our asses in fresh baked bread and I spread it around to family and lucky friends.