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I’ve received quite a few questions regarding the recipes, ingredients, and content of our new book, 100% RYE. I’ve collected the most common and, after responding personally, decided to publish them here in case you were curious too.

1. Do you put lard/sugar/butter/wheat in your bread?

The most common ingredients in these recipes include:
Flour: rye, see note below on types.
Fats: Butter, Coconut Oil, or Lard, all of which are interchangeable as mentioned within the recipes.
Sweeteners: Besides a couple of recipes that reference molasses, all recipes were created and tested with raw honey. There are instructions in the book for exchanging these for one another.

Zero of the recipes in 100% RYE include wheat flour, sugar, vegetable oil, or hard-to-find ingredients.

2. I have heard that rye can be contaminated with a fungus called ergot, have you had any problem with the grain?

I haven’t had any trouble with the rye we’ve used and have heard that it is not as much problem in milled rye as it once was. The scientist gardener has an interesting read on the topic.

3. Since you are using the rye by itself, without wheat, is the flavor of the baked goods really strong?

Actually, no, it isn’t! Rye is an under-appreciated grain, in my opinion. It is not unlike whole grain wheat flour – nutty, warming, interesting, but not overpowering. It is not like buckwheat or quinoa which are quite strong and polarizing. Instead, it lends a hearty but subtle flavor to baked goods.


4. What type of rye flour do you use and where did you get it from?

I have used “medium” rye flour for all of the recipes in this book. I have purchased this organic brand of rye flour most often. This flour is whole grain, freshly ground rye flour. Medium rye flour is similar or can be a lightly sifted rye flour. This site has a great explanation of the various types of rye flour.

5. Does the book contain instructions for creating a sourdough starter?

Yes, it does!

6. Have you had trouble with off-flavors using freshly-milled flour for your sourdough starter?

I have not used enough freshly milled rye flour in the care of my starter to say for sure if this is a problem. There are many theories on whether or not you should keep a starter with freshly ground flour.

My take is this: Freshly ground flour often has enzymes intact after the milling process, assuming the heat of the milling did not kill them. If this is the case, then those enzymes may interact or impede the bacteria/yeast balance happening in your established sourdough starter.

If this is the case, I recommend one of two options.

One: Go back to feeding your starter what was working. The microorganism present in the starter were clearly working well with this flour, if it was producing significant rise and pleasant flavor.

Two: Continue to feed your starter freshly-milled flour but give the starter a chance to acclimate. You are throwing in a whole new variety of enzymes and bacteria when mixing in freshly milled flour all of a sudden. It’s going to require a number of feedings and a bit of time – maybe 3-7 days – before it has sunk into its new microbial balance.

You can find 100% RYE here.


No-Knead Rye Sourdough Loaf

I never know what to say in situations like this. “Hey, I wrote a cookbook!” sounds a bit highfalutin or terse or simply not long-winded enough to be a part of my usual modus operandi.

(Boy, I’m socially awkward. If you want to just get on with buying the cookbook you can skip ahead to this enthusiastic site Stewart created while basking in the glow of the seemingly never-ending rye sourdough breads and treats I was testing.)

How about a story?

It was not long after we moved off-grid that I purchased my first 50 pound bag of rye flour. When we made that trek across the country some of the few items that we did hold onto were the buckets full of beans, oats, and spelt. With plenty of physical labor to be done, a growing family, and a baby on the way; it wasn’t long before the spelt – our favorite bread grain – was nearly used up.

So I searched around online for a source of spelt flour and was shocked at the prices. Apparently those 50 pound bags I had been buying from our food coop were a good deal. I dug around a bit and found organic rye flour to be half the price. I hadn’t done much in the way of rye baking but I figured for that kind of savings, why not give it a go?


No-Knead Rye Sourdough Focaccia

With 50 pounds of rye flour on the way I began doing some research; what exactly could I make with rye flour besides fluffy loaves filled with white flour and caraway seeds? Turns out, there weren’t a whole lot of recipes on the internet for 100% rye baked goods. There were a few loaves – delicious in their own right – but I was looking for some variety.

Without much in the way of outside information I took to the kitchen and churned out some pretty sad, gummy, and unappetizing baked goods, at first. After some practice and some research on the properties of the rye grain we started with a No-Knead Sourdough Loaf. Then there were Fluffy Sourdough Pancakes. A Sourdough Rye Pie Crust soon followed and then some Biscuits, Noodles, Tortillas, treats, and more sourdough loaves. All of these were made with my beloved sourdough starter. As I later found out, the acidic properties of a sourdough starter are helpful in taming the gumminess inherent in the rye proteins.


Rye Sourdough Tortillas (rolled or pressed)

A collection of 100% rye sourdough recipes was beginning to take shape and we thought maybe I’d put together a cookbook of core recipes for the home cook. In the time since there has been illness, a sweet new baby, a broken laptop, and then a broken camera. That was a year-and-a-half ago; it seems I was not to finish this book then.

While my husband Stewart recovered from severe adrenal fatigue, and sweet baby Ruthie grew, I kept preparing these breads for our family. I found new tricks and recipes that worked for our hectic, unpredictable off-grid life. I developed a few honey-sweetened rye sourdough treats for our family and community celebrations. We replaced the camera and computer, baby Ruth just marked her first year, and Stewart is up and around and back-at-it in a way I thought I’d never see.

Buttermilk Rye Boule-001

Rye Boule

We worked on other ways to bring you these recipes – through a publishing deal or maybe in a larger collective further down the road. But it just didn’t seem to fit these recipes, our life, or how we’d like them to be brought to you.

And so we give you this book of core recipes that can get you baking everyday loaves, honey-sweetened treats, and wheat-free snacks. All of the recipes are soured or soaked and have all been tested with a longer 12-24 hour fermentation period. There are also options for skipping those steps, in case you’re simply interested in baking with 100% rye flour and conventional leavening and preparation methods.


Fudgy Rye Sourdough Brownies (honey-sweetened)

This is a collection of well-loved recipes from our home kitchen, part of a larger collective of recipes to encourage the eating of fermented foods every day, and a stand-alone resource for you to use to nourish your own family.

It is my sincerest hope that this book aids you in feeding yourself, and others, well.

100% RYE is now available in eBook format. You can purchase it here.