100% Rye by Shannon Stronger - a Review

Sourdoug is a passion of mine and rye is a grain, I eat almost daily, so when I found out that a woman I admire was coming out with a new cookbook called 100% Rye, I had to get a copy and tell you all about it. Shannon Stonger and her husband Steward graciously provided a free copy for me to review, but although I will send them a grateful though every time I bake from this book, it did not influence my review.

About the author
Shannon is a mama to four small children, homesteader, freelance writer, cookbook author, and fermented-food enthusiast. She is the author of three books: Simple Food for Winter, Simple Food for Spring, and 100% Rye. She also chronicles her family's off-grid journey at nourishingdays.com.  

About the book
First off, let me tell you about my overall impression of this book. It rocks. There, that's it. You want more..?

What do you think about when you hear about 100% rye baked goods? If you have no familiarity with rye you may just think " how exciting", but if you've ever had a rye bread go Wrong (yes, with a capital letter), then you may be slightly on edge, at the same time chances are that you've also had rye breads done right and know what glorious baked goods they are.

Shannon uses traditional ingredients in her baking, much in tune with Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, which happens to be one of my favourite cookbooks, so I'm slightly bias from the get-go.
For me, sourdough is something I preach. If you ever get me talking about baking, it will not be long before I offer you some sourdough. If you have no idea what a sourdough is, here is (some of) Shannon's explanation:

"At its most basic, a sourdough starter is simply a slurry of water and flour that contains a living colony of bacteria, yeast, acids, and other microorganisms we probably don’t even know about." p 16 

Shannon also shares a good deal of her personal story with her reader which leaves me with a feeling that anyone can make these recipes work for them. Just listen to one of her musings on rye:

"I found that rye flour has a window of hydration in which it works best. Too dry and it becomes a lead brick. Too moist and overworked and it becomes gummy and shapeless. Working with this fact, and not against it, was a sort of breakthrough I had when I began developing recipes for my family." p 8

This book gently takes you by the hand and guides you through the motions, even if you have never used rye or sourdough before. Shannon deals with the many questions that surround rye and sourdough, problems that may occur and ways to adapt the recipes to your comfort level. All this is spruced up with rustic, handdrawn illustrations that makes the book both authentic and charming as well as mouthwatering colour photos of the baked goods.

Finally, any cookbook that lists carrots this way is bound to win my heart:

"2 cups (tightly packed) freshly grated carrots (none of that pre-shredded, dried out nonsense) " p 78

Sadly, I've yet to try any of the recipes due to time constrains, but I'm positive they are delicious and will recommend this book to anyone and everyone interested in baking with rye and sourdough.
First on my list of recipes I want to try ASAP is this delicious goodness that I'll leave you with as a teaser:


  1. Sourdough brownies, what? :-o Anything that helps me use up more of my sourdough starter is useful.

    My favourite bread is a German rye sourdough and since I started baking my own bread, I have been making a version of it mixed with strong white flour. I am so glad I started baking sourdough bread! I will have a look at this book if I come across it.

    PS: I had no idea you could get pre-shredded carrots! That is just wrong.

  2. Amen to your P.S.

    I actually ended up making the sourdough brownies yesterday. They are very different, but once you forget all you think they should taste like, actually quite tasty. I'd say they grow on you.

    And you should get this book. It's full of things to bake with 'leftover' starter.

  3. I'm not normally big on rye, but clearly form your review there is a lot more to offer in this cookbook than just a straight up rye sandwich bread! I'm very intrigued by the rye brownies. I'll keep an eye out for it in the bookstore.