Bruno Albouze Dark Rye Bread

Dark Rye Loaf

Yields20 ServingsPrep Time50 minsCook Time1 hrTotal Time1 hr 50 minsDifficultyAdvancedRating


 330 g Spring water at ≈ 78ºF (26ºC)
 450 g Levain*
 8 g Salt
 90 g Bread flour
 350 g 100% stone ground whole wheat flour
 1220 g Levain
 1050 g Dark rye flour
 90 g 100% fine stone ground whole wheat flour
 1050 g Hot spring water at 150ºF (65ºC)
 4 g Instant yeast or 8g fresh yeast
To Make Levain
 300 g Fresh juice from apples or grapes
Levain Chef
 100 g Fermented juice
 100 g Bread flour
Levain #2
 100 g Levain chef (discard remaining)
 50 g Bread flour
 50 g 100% stone ground whole wheat flour
 100 g Spring water, at room temperature
Levain #3
 300 g Levain #2
 180 g Spring water at 77ºF/25ºC
 150 g Bread flour
 150 g 100% stone ground whole wheat flour
Refreshing Levain
 200 g Levain
 100 g Bread flour
 100 g 100% stone ground whole wheat flour
 110 g Spring water, room temperature



Auvergne is a historical region in central France known for its rye flour. Auvergne dark rye bread is one of France's classic loaves that earned is reputation for its incredible flavors and long shelf life. Excellent with seafood, oysters, charcutery, cheese, preserves, savory spreads, eggs, smoked salmon, onion soup, pickled veggies.. excellent toasted with salted butter and honey, canapé, and sandwiches.
Dark rye contains much less gluten than wheat, and is of poor quality when it comes to trapping air bubbles. Rye is higher in the enzymes (amylases) that break down starch into sugars. Traditionally, this is prevented by acidifying the rye dough with the use of a sour starter (levain), and the hot water added during the second step of mixing process which slows down the action of amylases giving the rye dough its specific gummy texture. The crumb tends to be dense with smaller holes. Rye has more free sugars than wheat, so rye dough ferments faster.


Mix levain, water, flours and salt for 8 min on low speed. Cover and leave to ferment at room temperature for 24 hrs or up to 48 hours.
*For such a long fermentation process, salt acts as a preservative and inhibits growth of undesirable yeasts, molds, and bacteria.

Mixing Dough

Makes 2x1700g loaves. Use a 7 qt/L heavy duty mixer.
In the mixer with the sour levain, pour in hot water, salt, flours and yeast. Mix on low speed for 10 min; scraping the dough off sides and hook as it goes. Remove the hook and smooth out the surface of the dough using a wet dough scraper. The internal dough temp should be at: 90/95ºF (30/35ºC).


Cover and let fermented 90 min. Flour 2 bannetons and carefully, scoop out dough with wet hands and dough scraper; divide into 2 loaves; even up the surface and cover. Leave at room temp 20 min and refrigerate 20/30 min prior baking to relax; the surface of the loaves should begin to fissure / crack.


As for baking bread goes, a pizza stone is highly recommended.
Position rack in the lower third of conventional oven or on baking setting only with an upside-down baking tray or a pizza stone to create more thermal mass. Preheat oven to 550ºF/290ºC).
Flour surface of dark rye bread and flip onto the hot pizza stone and immediately spray water to create steam.
Bake at 550ºF (290ºC) for 5 min – then, lower temperature to 450ºF (230ºC); continue to bake for 45 min more. Then, lower oven temp to 425ºF (220ºC) and continue to bake for 10 min more. Turn oven off, leave the door adjar and leave bread for 8 min to dry out. Total baking time: 5+45+10=60 min. Let cool dark rye bread on a cooling rack for half a day before slicing. Better a day after. It can be kept for a week. Enjoy!

*To Make Levain

Make 300g of fresh organic apple juice or grapes; drain and discard the pulpe.Place juice in a small jar and cover tight with wrap; poke a small hole in the center. Place jar near a heater or warm area 77/95ºF (25/35ºC) for 3 days or until fermentation is activated. During winter time, a pinch of instant yeast can be added to to the juice.

Levain Chef

Mix fermented juice and flour. Cover with plastic wrap, poke the center and leave at room temperature 72/85ºF (22 to 28ºC) for 24 hours.

Levain #2

Mix and cover with plastic wrap, poke the center and leave at room temperature 72/85ºF (22 to 28ºC) for 12 to 16 hours.

Levain #3

Total weight: 780g.
Mix for about 6 min on low speed. Cover with plastic wrap, poke the center. Leave at room temp for 6 hours and chill overnight. Then, the levain is ready.
For your first sourdough bread, always save enough levain to be refreshed for the next day.

Store & Refreshing Levain

Mix 6 min on low speed. Cover with plastic wrap, poke the center and leave at room temperature for 2 hrs and chill.
Professional bakers refresh levain every day. Though at home is unlikely unless you bake bread daily. Levain should be refreshed twice a week. A pinch of salt can be added in the levain to slow down fermentation and thus expand its life.
Feeding a sourdough starter involves combining levain, flour and water in a particular ratio to ensure the levain has the “food” it needs to stay healthy and active.
If the levain lack of acidy, refresh it and leave it at room temp for 12 hours and chill. Repeat this step if needed.

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