Ohio Apple Rye & White Wheat

Millciti's picture

This is the time of year that I really love here in Northeast Ohio.  The leaves are starting to turn, the summer harvest abundance is all around us.  Nearby is one of the coolest places to get apples at a local orchard south of Wadsworth - Rittman Orchard. They grow so many varieties the apples available change each week.  I hate to miss a week - I might miss my favorite apples!  This bread uses fresh apple to enhance the sweetness of the rye and white whole wheat. The flavor of apple is not noticeable but truely inparts a wonderful quality to the bread. It uses a white starter and some unbleached flour but is mostly a whole grain rye and white wheat bread.  I use the two metal pan technique to add steam to the baking process.  If you don't own a pan use your normal method of forming a fairly moist whole grain bread.  If you are buying pans, buy two of the same pans - this recipe makes a large 2 pound loaf. This time I used an early fuju, next time - I'll just have to see what they have at the orchard!!

This bread is a great easy bread for beginner sourdough bakers.  It is a wonderful complement to ham and swiss!


  1. Organic Rye Flour
  2. Whole White Wheat Flour
  3. Unbleached Flour
  4. 1 medium apple 
  5. Olive or canola oil - only about 5g
  6. Sea salt
  7. Filtered water

Equipment needed:

  1. Glass or Ceramic Bread Bowl
  2. Bondo or Bowl Scraper
  3. Fork or bread whisk
  4. Scale and or measuring cups
  5. Spray bottle 
  6. Bread lame or sharp serated knife for slashing
  7. Grater for apple
  8. large Bread pans - large enough for a two pound loaf. 

The Dough

Ingredient Metric Imperial Baker's Percentage
Starter - White 100% hydration 200 grams 7.06 oz 50.00%
Medium Fresh Apple - Crisp tart type grated w/peel 150 grams 5.3 oz 37.50%
Dark Organic whole grain Rye Flour 120 grams 4.24 oz 30.00%
Water 200 grams 7.06 oz 50.00%
Whole White Wheat Flour 125 grams 4.41 oz 31.25%
Unbleached high protein Flour 125 grams 4.41 oz 31.25%
Fine Sea Salt 10 grams 0.35 oz 2.50%
Splash of Olive oil 5 grams 0.18 oz 1.25%
Additional White Wheat or Unbleached Flour 30 grams 1.06 oz 7.50%
Total Flour Weight:
400 grams

Percentages are relative to flour weight (flour equals 100%) and every other ingredient is a percentage of this. Flour from the starter is not counted. This recipe was originally in grams and has been automatically converted to other measures.


200g 100% (~3/4 c) hydration White starter = cold from fridge refreshed in the last 2 days at most - can also use refreshed starter.

Note: my white starter is always fed a pinch of rye every time I feed it - so some rye culture is present in my white unbleached wheat starter.

150g grated medium apple(~175g) skin and all – just grate everything except the core for the correct amount

120g (1 c) whole grain rye – Bobs Red Mill (BRM) Dark Rye or any organic whole rye flour

Stir to mix then let rest for 20 minutes

Next - add the following:

  • 200 g (~3/4c) filtered tap water (at room temperature) – gradually add to the starter apple flour mixture.
  • 125g (~1c) unbleached bread - BRM unbleached
  • 125g (~1c) white whole wheat - BRM
  • 10g (~1.5t) sea salt

Stir together and let rest another 20-30 minutes

Knead lightly in bowl 1-3 minutes in bowl adding around 35-60g more unbleached white or white whole wheat -  dough will be sticky - partially from the rye.   The weak gluten in rye lends to the sticky quality.

Drizzle with 2g(1/2t) olive oil turn dough to coat – knead lightly in bowl minutes scraping sides no more than 1 minute.

Let rest for 20 – 30 minutes then stretch and fold.   Repeat again in 20-30 minutes

Allow dough to rise for 1.5-2 hours in the bowl - Form into a loaf by flouring a board, loosen dough and pour out onto board.

Stretch into a square tucking ends rolling up to form into a loaf.  Place in a pan that has been sprayed with non-stick (olive oil) spray. 

Now you have two options allow bread to rise for an 1.5-2.5 hours (till it has increased by at least ½ its previous size – it may almost double) then bake it.  Or only allow to rise for a short time 30-45minutes then place in refrigerator for 6-8 hours to retard before baking.  Using the longer proof will result in a more sour flavor.  Best results for tasting are waiting for the bread to cool a few hours or overnight.

When ready to bake - preheat the oven to 425F for at least ½ hour if you have a pizza stone or tiles they work better if preheated.  

Slash top and spray with water.   Bake for the 1st 15 minutes with steam – either by adding ice cubes to a pan in the oven beneath the loaf or by inverting the same size bread pan on top ( this works best for this loaf) .  If baking free form you can use a pan or lid sprayed with water. See http://www.thefreshloaf.com/lessons/tentips_1_steam for more on why steam is important.

After the first 15 minutes with steam remove the covering pan and allow to brown an additional 10-12  minutes. If baking after chilling - internal temp should reach at least 195 F ~ 91C


383 users have voted.


pollyanne 2011 September 29

 Thanks, Millciti.  I can just see harvest time in northeast Ohio from your description!  I will try this bread this weekend; looks wonderful.

pollyanne 2011 October 2

 Hi Millciti - Hope you can answer some questions as I am in the middle of making your bread.  I am currently waiting for it to rise 1/2 its previous size in the loaf pan, but it's been 2+ hours and not much seems to be happening.  

1.  Starter:  Really, use it straight out of the refrigerator, cold?  It had been about 5 days since I refreshed it and put it back in the refrigerator, plus I was converting it from 85% to 100% hydration, plus I normally use 70:30:10 ratio of AP white, whole wheat, and rye to refresh the starter.  So...I refreshed it with all white flour (AP), put it back in the refrigerator for a few hours, then took it out and removed the 200g for the recipe.  I feel uneasy about this....usually I keep it in the fridge and get it out a day or two prior to baking, feeding it about every 12 hours or so and keeping it at room temp.  Haven't ever used it straight out of the refrigerator cold.

2.  Unbleached flour - I used bread flour - is this correct?

3.  Resting and stretch and folds - After the autolyze/hydration, etc., and after the olive oil has been drizzled, is it like this:  Rest 20-30; S & F; Rest 20-30; S & F and then right away set to rise for 1.5 - 2 hours?  Or is there another rest 20-30 minutes in there that I missed?

4.  It seems very very sticky - I have made Tartine bread with S & Folds, but do not have much experience with 100% hydration doughs.  Seems like the kneading in the bowl after drizzling with olive oil made it too sticky to S & F nicely.  I maybe am not doing it right...

Any advice you can give will be very much appreciated.  I am really looking forward to the loaf!  Thanks.

Millciti's picture
Millciti 2011 October 3

Thanks Pollyanne,

I'm so sorry I didn't see your post earlier.  So did your bread still turn out well..?

1.  I have baked this bread with both cold, and recently refreshed (room temp) starter.  What you did should have worked fine, but you did not have to cool the starter - however cold works better for this rye bread.  See more on this below.  My suggestion for changing the hydration of the starter from 85% to 100% is to refresh to bake - in the bowl you are planning to mix in.  Start with about 30g of your starter add about 10g of extra water to your starter.  Then you can add ~80g of water and 80g of unbleached +5g of rye. Refresh at room temp for around 8 hours.  With the respiration of the culture you should end of with ~200g of starter at ~100%. Then begin the recipe with adding the apple and rye flour.  

2.  Yes, my unbleached is high protein 13-14% - excellent for bread.

3.  Hopefully you re-read and noticed the 1st rise - I added  "in the bowl" today, to make the first rise more noticeable. Then for the second - final rise - you can retard in the fridge if you want to bake the bread 6-7 hours later or up to 16-18 hours later.  Although this is a relatively short rise for a sourdough bread, It works for rye and for my busy schedule. 

4.  After making several stabs at rye - this recipe is relatively easy for rye. Rye has weaker gluten than wheat which is part of what makes it so sticky and "fun" to work with.  I remember reading one baker's comments that in Sweden when they bake 100% rye breads they don't bother to knead - just stir and throw into the pan. This dough is not that bad, but depending on weather and temp conditions will change and be stickier.  Part of the reason for the short hydration periods after adding ingredients, is that the longer you wait,t the sticker it seems to get.  Keeping the dough cooler also seems to help.

My definition of bowl kneading is to sprinkle in the last 30 up to 60g of additional flour 5g at a time.  Using a bowl scraper I scrape down the sides and tuck the bread under until it starts to come together. I also try not to get my fingers in the dough any more than I have to.  Don't forget that the knead is only a short one.  Once you have worked in the flour and are close to finished, then drizzle in the olive oil.  This helps to free you from the sticky dough and to coat it. If needed you can add a little more olive oil right before the second stretch and fold if it helps.

Also this weekend my house temp dropped and it took a bit longer to get my bread to rise.  If your ambient temp is too low you can put the loaf in your cold oven with the light on to get a quicker rise.

Thanks for your feedback and comments - I really wanted to share this recipe!





petebitt 2011 October 3

Just approaching Spring here in Aust so good weather conjucive to baking.  I baked this over the weekend.  I was very doubtful as I was going through the process as I had never done a Rye before - but it turned out fantastic.  I will certainly be baking this again.

Millciti's picture
Millciti 2011 October 5

Glad you enjoyed it!  Thanks for the feedback Petebitt - rye can be tricky, but worth it when it comes out well.  




pollyanne 2011 October 4

Thanks very much for your comprehensive reply, Millciti.  I did go ahead with the bread, and it was pretty brick-like and too moist.  But the flavor was great!  So I have been anxiously awaiting your reply so I can try it again.  I now have room temp 100% hydration, all white (AP) starter, just refreshed and at room temp.  We are warmish here in southern California, but the weather is supposed to turn tomorrow.  I think I may put the starter in the frig, and start the bread in the morning with it cold.  There is virtually no rye left in the starter right now...will the all-white starter be able to raise the dough mixture in your recipe?  

Thanks again; I'll let you know how it turns out! 

Millciti's picture
Millciti 2011 October 5

All white should be fine - starting cold with the warm kitchen should help.  Try to leave some rise for the oven.  Sounds like you may have overproofed the first loaf.  With Rye especially, you don't want to try to "double" in the final rise like recipes for commercial yeast breads.    More like 1.5 to 1.7 times the original.  It will not fill the pan until you bake it.  But if you are using the two pan method I described - with the steam you should have seen a good increase in size.  If you did not see much or any size increase when baking then it was overproofed.  Also set a timer to insure that you give your oven at least 30 minutes to warm up, by the way I still place my pans on my stone.  A large travertine tile that resides in my oven.  Good luck - I'll be praying that this one turns out great!



Chattypo 2012 October 13

I need help with two questions.  First I  know this may seem elementary, but I don't understand hydration levels.  How do I know what level of hydration my starter is?  Is there a link to an explanation of hydration levels?   Second, near the top portion of the recipe where the ingredients are listed, it states 1.57 cups of starter, but below where the instructions are it states ~3/4 cup of starter.  Which is correct?

farinam's picture
farinam 2012 October 14

Hello Chattypo,

On the matter of the recipe, The cup quantities are calculated from the mass in the first column and are an approximation at best.  If you have kitchen scales you are far better to work from the mass figures.  If you are using the volumetric numbers then obviously you have to round the fractional parts to more reasonable numbers (1.57 becomes one and a half and so forth).

As for the 3/4c entry, I would find it hard to imagine that you would get 200g of 100% hydration starter into that volume so I would opt for the 1.5 in the recipe listing.  I suspect that the 3/4 cup might be what you take from your stock before feeding and the feeding builds it up to the higher volume.

On the hydration question, I have had a couple of blogs with links to spreadsheets that you can download on this site.  Unfortunately, I can't give you a link at the moment but I will try to track them down for you in the next little while.

Good luck with your projects.


Chattypo 2012 October 14

Thank you!  One last question, what is the bake time?  I see the preheat time but how long did it take to bake? Do you leave it at 425 for the whole time?

Chattypo 2012 October 21

I find that I can't do the retard in the fridge with this.  It overproofs at about 6 hours, even in the fridge.  My starter must be doing some serious cha-cha in there!


farinam's picture
farinam 2012 October 21

Hello Chattypo,

All published timelines are really only guidelines and so you have to adjust what you do to suit your culture and conditions.

Not sure if you followed the suggestion to leave to prove for a time before putting it in the fridge but if you did perhaps you could leave out that step.  Maybe even shorten the bulk ferment time before shaping.

As I said, experiment to find out what works for you and don't feel you have to be bound by what is printed in the original article.

Good luck with your projects.


Millciti's picture
Millciti 2012 November 18

Sorry ChattyPo that I didn't answer sooner.. sounds like your bread turned out well!  Thanks All! - for standing in for me answering questions... I have been way too busy this Fall, but have some new stuff to share!  I would not recommend 1.57 cups of starter... the calculater is way off.   Anywhere from 3/4 to 1 U.S cups should be forgiving, just don't overcompensate and add a lot of extra flour. 

If you were using more starter - that could be the reason for the overproofing.  Also if your ambient temperature is not in the mid to upper 60's in your house things can go pretty quickly.  And If you are using a refreshed starter - not cold - you may want to refrigerate the dough for the initial proof for 4 - 6 hours and then form into a loaf and bake after the dough has risen in the pan to between 1.5 and 2x volume.  As Farinham stated it is all sort of a guideline when sourdough baking.  Your environment is part of the recipe!

As to weights instead of cups U.S. cups are different than Imperial cups.  I invested in a grams/ozs scale early on and now pretty much note every thing by weight in grams.  So for my recipes if would recomend the gram weights everything else is an approximation.  Initially when I started baking I thought that starter should weigh / measure similar to water but at least for a 100% hydration starter the weight is closer to 5% heavier.  Water in U.S. cups is about 238g sourdough starter is closer to 250g - if you do a water displacement weight!   When you stuff STARTER in a cup those darn bubbles get in the way!

I just baked a loaf of this tonight!!   Ham and cheese tomorrow on Apple Rye!



isand66 2012 October 14

Hydration is calculated by adding up all of the flour and the liquids (not including oil which does not absorb in flour).  You then divide the total amount of liquid by the total amount of flour.

So for instance, if you have 500 grams of flour and 250 grams of water your hydration would be 250/500 = 50%.

When talking about a starter that is kept at 100%, it means that the starter is refreshed with equal parts of flour and water.

I keep my starter around 65% and convert it over if necessary to 100% or adjust the water amount in the final recipe to accomodate.

There are many good articles about bakers % and hydration levels on the internet.

One site that is very good and has a hydration converter program on it is http://www.northwestsourdough.com/

I hope this helped you a little :)

Good luck.




Chattypo 2012 October 15

Thanks for the hydration info!!  I baked it up yesterday, and it turned out beautiful AND delicious.  I baked it 15 minutes at 425, and then turned it down to 400 for another 25 minutes.  Perfect.  Great flavor, great spring, and great crumb!


farinam's picture
farinam 2012 October 15

Hi Chattypo,

Sorry I missed your post yesterday.  Sound like you worked out the baking time just fine.  Couldn't have suggested better myself.

Think I might try this recipe as well.  Sounds nice.

Keep on bakin'


Evon's picture
Evon 2012 October 31

hi Milliciti, thank you for your wonderful recipe. i bake this every week. this is my bake for this week. added goji berry and charcoal powder and pumpkin seeds.


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