Baking tryout: Rye sourdough and roselle

February 4th, 2011 | Posted by Gregoire Michaud in Recipes

In a passionate baker’s mind, you tend to relate everything you eat to bread.

In this case, I am still trying to figure out the every use of Roselle since my last blog post on macarons.

While munching on the preserved blossoms and their elegant floral acidity, I thought it would balance quite well with something earthy, like rye… For that first test, I opted for a light rye bread, using our white sourdough and a good 83% water. While thinking about it, I was actually seeing myself eating it with loads of honey and salty butter! :)


  • 375 ml water
  • 100 gm ripe sourdough :)
  • 2 gm fresh yeast
  • 300 gm type 65 wheat flour
  • 150 gm type 700 rye flour
  • 12 gm sea salt (I used Guerande salt)
  • 100 gm Roselle jam


  1. Mix and knead the dough with every ingredient except the Roselle and the salt.
  2. Once your dough is almost done, add the salt and continue kneading until a nice stretchable gluten.
  3. In slower speed, add the chunky Roselle jam and mix it until well blended.
  4. Let the dough rest in a covered container for 2 hours at room temperature.
  5. Fold the dough, scale in 450 gm portion, rest for 10 minutes and shape round loaves.

6.  In my case, I placed them in floured wooden basket and proofed them for 2h30 at room temperature.

7. Turn them over, cut or leave them plain and bake, starting at 230 Celsius with steam and after 15 minutes, drop to 210 for a further 30 minutes with the exhaust open.

The verdict

I was dying to eat the bread! The loaves looked very attractive and interesting indeed. The texture was moist and fairly aerated which I was happy with. The balance of sourness and rye was to my taste and the pairing of rye and Roselle was like honey and manchego – made for each others. Since I added 100 gm of Roselle jam, it brought a little sweet touch to the bread and it made its coloration turning dark brown faster because of the added sugar.

If I would have anything to change for my next try, it would be to add 50% more Roselle jam and perhaps chop half of it in smaller chunks in order to spread better its aroma. Indeed, while you could really taste the Roselle flavor when you had a piece of flower in your actual bite, the rest of the bread was too bland in Roselle flavor. Perhaps it would be interesting to try using a Roselle infusion instead of water for the recipe, but I am just afraid of the tartness… would it still be there after baking?

Definitely an interesting path to investigate :)

PS: Between you and me, that bread was no stranger to my upcoming baking book ;)

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  • Fallna Ng

    Beautiful and perfect bread, I have some question, so I have not try made the sour dough, I am not baking bread everyday, how to storage the sour dough, time limit of storage…
    upcoming baking book?? when?

    • gregoire

      Hello Fallna, thanks for your kind comments. :)
      Once you have created your starter, you may freeze it in portion and use it in recipes whenever you make a bread.

      Working on a new book about baking with a more home-baking content, coming out this summer I guess ;)

      Happy baking!

  • Fallna Ng

    Thanks your teaching and I look forward to read your book

  • sarah, simply cooked

    Gregoire, I came over to ask about your new book. Can you give me any more hints about it? I am intrigued…! Home baking books are well-loved in my kitchen. :)

    PS. I love your proofing bowls. If only I had an oven which would hold four loaves!

  • gregoire

    Thanks Sarah :)

    My new book is about home-baking and is coming out in July at the Hong Kong Book Fair. We just spent a whole week for photo shooting and we’re continuing next week. My first book about baking was more on sourdough and a bit too technical for home bakers, so for this second edition it’ll be perfect for home baking! The roselle rye is in it :)

  • Char Siu Bao

    Beautiful loaves. The roselle infusion sounds like a great idea. Perhaps try putting the bulk of the rye in a preferment/levain build (to maximise flavour)? 

    • Anonymous

      Sure… it would definitely improve the overall bread quality! I will try it when roselle is back in season… the first harvest are scheduled for October :)

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