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Polish Country Rye Bread

By Larry Kilbourne

I came across this formula while looking for a bread recipe for a friend of mine who encountered in Eastern Europe what he described as "a 'farmer bread'... grey-brown rough textured bread - but not a whole meal type."  He'd had no luck in finding it in other places.

This basic levain-based country bread seems to fit the bill.  I may have found the formula on The Fresh Loaf, but I've been unable to relocate it, so apologies to the author (to the extent that bread recipes have original authors).  Here is the formula:

2 x 1.5# loaves

Overall formula:

Bakers Percent
Bread flour 675 g 85%
Rye flour 118 g 15%
 564 g 71%
   15 g 1.90%

Levain build:

Rye flour   108 g

  108 g

Rye levain     20 g @ 100%

Final dough:

Bread flour     675 g

445 g

236 g

  15 g


The levain is mixed 12 - 14 hours before final dough mix.  For the dough, mix together flour and water until shaggy, and autolyse for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle salt on the surface and while mixing on speed 2 add the levain in chunks.  Continue mixing for 2 - 4 minutes, until  the dough shows definite gluten development.

Cover and bulk ferment for 2 hours with folds at 40 minute intervals.  Divide and shape into boules or bâtards, and allow a final proof, covered, for 2 - 2 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 460°.  Slash loaves and load, followed by an immediate steaming and then additional steam after 2 minutes.  After 15 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 430° and bake for another 30 -35 minutes until loaves are done.

I'm pretty happy with the results, although the oven spring is less than expected.  (In this case, the cause, I believe, is that while loading the loaves I accidentally hit the temperature control and lowered the oven to 350°.  I did not discover this, alas, until 15 minutes into baking, when I found myself forced to increase, rather than decrease, the temperature for the remainder of the bake).

However, the crumb has reasonably good expansion and the flavor is quite good with a nice chewy texture.  There is some sourness, although frankly not as much as I expected given that the levain accounts for over 30% of the total flour weight of the final dough.

Definitely a nice sandwich bread, or as a companion to a good spread!

Reader Comments (2)

What's with the AP Flour listed in the final dough? It should read Bread flour as listed in the Overall formula. This could really mess up this dough!

November 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMini Oven

Mini- Good catch! That was a typo (though I'm wondering how I ever made it). Thanks!


November 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterLarry Kilbourne

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