Siegerland Crusty Bread

This Siegerland crusty bread is a mixed rye bread that is made with a 3-stage process. The flour mixture is made from 70% rye flour and 30% wheat flour, whereby the wheat portion is divided between Type 700 and Type 1600 for improved shelf life. 

The three-stage sourdough is particularly labor-intensive and time-consuming, requires careful maintenance and is not very flexible. Due to the different ripening times, flavor and leaving power are produced in different stages. The interplay between different hydration levels, maturing times and sourdough temperatures in the individual stages is determinant.

The three-stage sourdough process is particularly prone to processing errors. Whenever it is taken on half-heartedly, without the required patience and care the resulting bread is of poor quality. In addition to the starter and main dough come the following sourdough stages:

  1. Refresh Sour (1st stage) – This is particularly for the yeast activation. The refresh sour is kept relatively cool and soft. 
  2. Foundation Sour (2nd stage) – Particularly for acid and flavor development
  3. Full Sour (3rd stage) – Serves to optimize fermentation performance and acid formation

Criteria for the sourdough stages:

Refresh sour:

  • Maturity time: 5-8 hours
  • Temperature: 25-26°C
  • Hydration (TA): 200-230
  • Goal/Purpose: Yeast activation

Foundation sour:

  • Maturity time: 6-14 hours
  • Temperature: 23-28°C
  • Hydration (TA): 150-180
  • Goal/Purpose: Acid and flavor

Full sour:

  • Maturity time: 4-10 hours
  • Temperature: 25-32°C
  • Hydration (TA): 180-230
  • Goal/Purpose: Optimize acidity and rise

With the classic three-stage process the second stage, the foundation sour, is prepared in the evening. The full sour is prepared early in the morning and matures for about 3 hours until ready to use. 

Rule of thumb for amount of rye flour to sour:

  • Rye breads: 40-45% of the rye flour amount
  • Mixed rye breads: 50% of the rye flour amount
  • Mixed wheat breads: 60% of the rye flour amount
  • Wheat breads: 100% of the rye flour amount


1. Refresh Sour:

  •   5g Starter
  • 10g Rye flour Type/960
  • 15g Water

Hydration (TA): 250   maturity time: 5-6 hours DT: 25-26°C

2. Foundation Sour:

  • 30g Mature refresh sour
  • 90g Rye flour Type/960
  • 54g Water

Hydration (TA) :169 DT: 23-27°C maturity time: 10-15 hours

3. Full Sour:

  • 174g Mature foundation sour
  • 243g Rye flour Type/960
  • 243g Water

Hydration (TA): 194 DT: 30°C    maturity time: 3-5 hours

Main Dough:

  • 660g Mature full sour
  • 360g Rye flour Type 960
  • 150g Wheat flour Type 700
  • 150g Wheat flour Type 1600
  • 390g Water 45°C
  •   18g Sea salt (if desired, can be increased to 22g)
  •   10g Bread spice

Mix ingredients slowly for 6 minutes and knead for 1 minute at a fast speed. Make sure the dough isn’t too soft. Cover and let rest in the kneading vessel for 20 minutes. After the dough has rested in the vessel, divide into 2 equal-sized pieces. 

Work into round loaves and then form into elongated loaves. 

Lay the formed loaves with the seam-side down on baking paper (cover the baking peel with baking paper and place the formed loaves on top) and dust with rye flour- keep them separate!

You can now observe how the cracks form on the surface as the proofing progresses. To aid in the cracking process you can help it along with your fingers but only after the crust has developed a skin. 

Once the cracks are about a finger’s width, the dough can be shoved in the oven at 250°C. Steam is applied first after about 45 seconds and can be let out after a further 4-5 minutes. After letting out the steam the oven is reduced to 200°C. Bake the bread until well-browned.