Why Doesn't My Rye Bread Rise?
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    Registered User many houseapes's Avatar
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    Default Why Doesn't My Rye Bread Rise?

    I must be doing something wrong. I can make homemade white bread perfectly, but when I go to make breads from other grains like rye and whole wheat, the loaves either rise very little or not at all - they look sad.lol. I have tried using 50% all purpose flour 50% rye (or other grain) & the loaves just sit there & do nothing. What am I doing wrong?? Thanks

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    I had the same problem. I switched to instant yeast and added 2 tbsp. gluten and have no trouble now.

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    Whole grain breads take longer to rise. I make mine with 2/3 white flour and 1/3 rye for a lighter loaf.
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    These are things I teach in my bread class that may help with your rye breads.

    - A characteristic of rye in dough is to make the dough very sticky. People often compensate for the stickiness by adding more flour during kneading. This can lead to an under-hydrated dough which will get your a "brick" nearly every time you make bread. Always err on the side of a wet (well-hydrated) dough. Dry dough will bake into a brick.

    - Using 50% rye flour is a VERY high percentage of low-gluten flour in a recipe. You'll need to add some vital wheat gluten, as homesteadmamma suggested. There's probably not enough gluten to raise the loaf as high as you are accustomed to when making white bread.

    - When you add the flour to the liquid mixture, make sure you add the high-gluten flour first (bleached/unbleached all-purpose or bread flour milled from wheat or whole wheat flour). You will need to hydrate the gluten in the wheat flour and make sure you do a lot of mixing to develop gluten while the mixture is still in the bowl. Low-gluten and non-gluten flours only need to get hydrated, they don't require the gluten development in the bowl and kneading that high-gluten flours do.

    Mixing in the bowl is an important part of gluten development people often do a poor job on by mixing too quickly. If you toss out a sticky, shaggy, mess of dough out on the counter to knead, you haven't done a good job of mixing. A Danish dough whisk is the BEST tool to use for mixing dough by hand. It may take as many as 400-500 strokes (or more) using the spoon/Danish whisk to develop the gluten in the flour while you are slowly adding the flour to the liquid ingredients. Add a small portion of the high-gluten flour and beat it until it's all incorporated into the liquid ingredients. Add another small portion of the flour and beat. You beat the dough with the spoon/Danish whisk until you don't have the strength to beat it anymore. THEN you can place it on the counter/bread board and begin kneading. The better the job you do with mixing and developing the gluten while the dough is in the mixing bowl, the less time you will spend kneading. If you get tired during mixing, it's okay to stop and rest a few minutes before you resume beating. The rest will allow the gluten to hydrate.

    Once the high-gluten flour is well-blended with the liquid ingredients and well-mixed, THEN you can add the low- or non-gluten flour/s to the point where you have a soft dough.

    - If you have problems with the stickiness of the dough because of the rye flour, you can toss the dough in a large freezer-style zip-lock bag (freezer bags are thicker and better for this use), press out as much air as possible and zip it closed. Knead the dough from the outside of the bag to keep from adding too much flour. You can open the bag and add flour or water if you need to adjust the hydration of the dough. When you are done kneading, push the dough to one side of the bag and turn the bag inside out to remove the dough. Toss the bag. This is ONE bag you won't want to clean out..... There are special gloves designed to use with sticky doughs, like rye, but they are very expensive compared to a plastic storage bag.

    You can also knead/handle the dough with wet hands, instead of additions of flour. Keep a bowl of water handy for dipping your hands in, rather than adding more flour to the dough during kneading. Towards the end of kneading, you can also oil your hands to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.

    - You don't say what type of rye flour you are using. The type can make a difference in appropriate percentage of rye flour to use in a recipe.

    *Light (or white) rye is a 75% extraction of the grain (the bran and germ have been removed and only the best (starchy) portion of the endosperm is used to mill this flour). You can use up to 40% of this type of rye flour, along with high-gluten bread flour, without a major loss of loaf volume.

    *Medium Rye is an 87% extraction. Use up to 30% blend with high-gluten bread flour.

    *Dark rye is 100% extraction (the entire grain is milled into flour with nothing from the grain removed). Limit this type of rye flour to 20% of the flour volume.

    You can compensate for larger percentages of rye flour by adding vital wheat gluten - BUT - too much gluten will cause the loaf to be tough.

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