Most discussions I have seen on the internet recommend increasing water content when substituting wheat flour with rye flour.

I find this a bit puzzling since I always thought that hydration of the dough should be based on the protein content - more gluten means stronger dough, which means it stretches without tearing even at higher hydration.

Rye flour (at least the one I have) is very high in carbohydrates but low in protein content, so why is more water required?

  • 2
    This feels the wrong way round - "when substituting wheat flour for rye flour." You mean rye for wheat?
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 29, 2020 at 11:44
  • no, i mean rye. see for example this.
    – tungli
    Dec 29, 2020 at 15:49
  • Still not clear. "To substitute x for y" is to use x where y was originally specified. Same on a football field (or anywhere) New player x was substituted for player y who had to retire because of injury.
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 29, 2020 at 15:52
  • 1
    @Tetsujin -- unfortunately, "substitute" gets used backwards these days. Usually it's "substitute X with Y", analogous to "replace X with Y", but that seems to have corrupted "substitute X for Y" to also mean "replace X with Y". Sigh. Dec 29, 2020 at 16:40
  • 1
    oh, good catch @Tetsujin! I misused the expression. I will edit the question to make sense. Thanks!
    – tungli
    Dec 29, 2020 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


You are correct that higher-protein flours are capable of absorbing more water. However, protein is not the only thing that affects water absorption. In addition, according to Bakerpedia, there are:

Rye flour, while low in protein, is very high in water-absorbing pentosans. Hence the need and ability to add more water.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.