Shepherd’s Loaf

In order to be able to organize the upcoming baking course for rye bread in the Meraner Mühle, I was given different types of flour to test. At first I thought that the Italian rye flours were very similar to the Austrian rye flour. But that turned out to be a big mistake after mixing the sourdough!

Only the rye flour “Tipo 0” could be compared with the Austrian “R500”. The rye flour “Tipo 1” already absorbed approx. 20% more water than the rye flour “R960” and the rye flours Tipo 2 and Tipo 3 came very close to the Austrian R-2500.

In order to be able to bake the bread with Austrian or German flours, I recommend lowering the hydration (TA) in the main dough by about 10% at the beginning. The hydration (TA) can be at 1:1 in the sourdough.


1. Rye sourdough:

  • 200g Rye flour Tipo 0 (Austrian = R500)
  •  175g Water
  •    10g Starter

Hydration(TA): 188      DT: 28°C reduced to room temperature (20-22°C)     Maturity time: 14-16 hours

2. Wheat sourdough:

  • 200g Wheat flour Tipo 0 (Austrian = W700)
  • 250g Water
  •    10g Starter

Hydration (TA): 225%     DT: 30°C reduced to room temperature (20-22°C)       Maturity time: 14-16 hours

3. Main dough:

  • 385g Mature rye sourdough
  • 460g Mature rye sourdough
  • 400g Rye flour Tipo 0 (Austrian = R500)
  • 200g Wheat flour Tipo 0 (Austrian = W700)
  • 325g Water (using Austrian flours about 265-285g)
  •   25g Pork lard
  •   22g Salt
  •     5g Bread spice
  •     7g Yeast

4. Instructions:

  • Mix all ingredients on slow speed for 7 minutes.
  • Then cover and allow to rise in the mixing bowl for 15 minutes.
  • Then shape into a round loaf and place in a floured proofing basket (sprinkle the proofing basket with fennel seed first)
  • Once 3/4 proofed, bake the loaf in an oven preheated to 250°C with steam.
  • Release the steam after 5 minutes (crack open the oven door for 1 minutes).
  • After 15 minutes of baking time reduce the oven to 200°C and bake until well browned.
  • Baking time should take about 60-65 minutes.