This is my favorite rye bread recipe of all time… so far. I could have just as easily called it Swedish Rye Bread or Aroma Therapy Bread for that matter (takes the coveted baking bread smell to another level). And if you’re not into sourdough baking, no problem, I cover the instant yeast version as well.

So much time had passed since my last video shoot I’d forgotten the challenge of keeping a video short and concise. Sorry about the way this one drones on. If you’re already a bread baker, you can probably just go off the written recipe and instructions below.




Artisan Sourdough Rye Bread
Artisan Sourdough Rye Bread

This is my favorite rye bread recipe of all time… so far. I could have just as easily called it Swedish Rye Bread or Aroma Therapy Bread for that matter (takes the coveted baking bread smell to another level). Covers both sourdough and instant yeast versions.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 18 hours

Yield: 1 Loaf


  • Water: 400 grams, 1 3/4 cups
  • Sourdough Starter: 70 grams, 1/3 cup (omit if making the instant yeast version)
  • Instant Yeast: 1 tsp. (omit if making sourdough leavened version)
  • Rye Flour: 245 grams, 1 3/4 cups
  • Bread Flour: 245 grams, 1 3/4 cups
  • Molasses: 44 grams, 2 Tbs.
  • Fennel Seed: 8 grams, 1 Tbs.
  • Anise Seed: 2 grams, 1 tsp.
  • Caraway Seed: 3 grams, 1 tsp.
  • Salt: 12 grams, 1 3/4 tsp.
  • Zest of 1 Orange


Sourdough Version:

In a mixing bowl, mix the starter into the water. Add the molasses, all the seeds and orange zest.

In a separate bowl, combine the flours and salt.

Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet using a dough whisk or spoon until the flour is well incorporated. Cover with plastic and let rest for 15 minutes. After about 15 minutes, mix again for a minute or two. Again let rest for 15 minutes and mix one more time as before. Now cover the bowl with plastic and let sit at room temperature for roughly 12-14 hours.

Instant Yeast Version

The only difference is don’t use sourdough starter and instead mix the instant yeast into the dry ingredients before combining with the wet ingredients.

Both Versions

After the long 12-14 hour proof, stretch and fold the dough and shape into boule or batard (round or oblong) shape for baking. (If you didn’t follow that, I’m afraid you’re doomed to watch the video.) Cover again with plastic and let rest 15 minutes before putting in a proofing basket for the final rise. If you don’t have a proofing basket, line a bowl with a well floured kitchen towel and put the dough in there for the final rise. The final rise should last somewhere between 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Keep the dough covered with plastic to prevent it from drying out.

Preheat your oven to 475 F a half hour before baking.

Score the dough with a razor or sharp serrated knife and bake until the internal temp is about 200 F.

Let cool completely before eating.


On 12-14 hour proofing period: I typically prepare everything in the evening for baking the next morning. You can also mix everything up in the morning and refrigerate until evening then remove before bed to resume the proofing at room temperature. Alternatively, if you get started with mixing everything up early enough in the morning, the bread can also be ready to bake in the evening. This is a nice option when you want fresh bread ready to eat for breakfast.


On Rye: Higher in protein, phosphorus, iron and potassium than wheat. It’s high in lysine, low in gluten and very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Zinc, Copper and Selenium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber and Manganese.

Rye bread, including pumpernickel, is a widely eaten food in Northern and Eastern Europe. Rye is also used to make the familiar crisp bread.

Some other uses of rye include rye whiskey and use as an alternative medicine in a liquid form, known as rye extract. Often marketed as Oralmat, rye extract is a liquid obtained from rye and similar to that extracted from wheatgrass. Its benefits are said to include a strengthened immune system, increased energy levels and relief from allergies, but there is no clinical evidence for its efficacy. Rye also seems active in the prevention of prostate cancer.

Jan 2, 2011 addition: Check out Joe Doniach’s variation of this recipe.

July 2011 addition: Also see Heinz’s simple and fast Swiss Artisan Bread Recipe.

Artisan Sourdough Rye Bread

Comments from our Forum

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  1. Patricia says:

    I have been baking bread for more than 40 yrs now, since my hippie days. And up until a few month ago I had an ancient sourdough starter, but alas and alack she died. So I've started with a new one. It is lovely. I've been making pumpernickel for my "boyfriend" since I started making regular sourdough for myself, again. I scan the Internet for different recipes all the time esp for the pumpernickel since its new to me. (He says why don't you just stick to one) well you know how that goes. So I'm making this Artisan Sourdough Rye. I can't wait to see how it turns out and how he likes it. He's laughing that I got up at 8am to finish it! I'm not a morning person. It's on its 2nd rise and looks lovely, not too sticky, nice rise, good shape. I want to thank everyone who contributed comments! Turns out you're not too old to learn new tricks! Heehee!d

  2. Patricia says:

    This bread turned out so beautiful and delicious. I didn't have anise or orange and can't wait to make it again with the missing ingredients.

    I think this is the most beautiful loaf I've ever made! And it does taste GREAT!

  3. sharondhl1 says:

    I love this bread, thank you Eric for the recipes and video tutorials. I'm not sure if any other recipe can beat this! I loved it and the whole family did as well. Just out of interest, what happens if I just use my sourdough from the fridge without feeding it?

  4. mcfunk says:

    Hi there. I'm another one with a rye sourdough starter and I'm starting to suspect that it behaves quite differently from white or wheat starters. It's nowhere near as stiff, for one. I'm sure it played a part of my first (and only yet) batch of this bread being overly wet and sticky, and I think the ratio of yeast to moisture impacts the rise as well (i.e., I suspect that I'm getting less yeast for the quantity of starter).

    I've seen some methods online that call for taking the starter "mother" and adding flour and water in given quantities to stiffen before using in a recipe, such as the following:

    To use for recipes - Combine 1/2 c (5 oz) mother starter from the refrigerator with 3 oz flour and 2.5 oz warm water (85 - 90 degrees). The mixture will be stiffer than the mother. Let it sit, covered, until doubled in volume (if it doesn't do so go back to maintenance procedure). When the starter has doubled, it is ready to use in a recipe. Measure the amount needed and discard any that remains. (

    Do you think that using such a method would produce a starter that would better approximate the stiffness of the starter you are using, and create more consistent results in recipes in general? Or am I better off just spinning off a white or wheat starter from my rye start?

  5. Paula says:

    Such a great recipe and comprehensive tutorial!
    I went with the Rapid Rise (instant) yeast method and was very pleased with the results. This was a test run for a dinner party next weekend for a group of us who went on a Rhine River cruise this summer and I am looking forward to sharing this wonderful recipe!

  6. wilbri says:
       here are the external results:

    1] after 45 minutes in total (20 in closed Dutch Oven plus 25 uncovered D/O = 45 total) the wooden probe came out quite clean.
    2] experimented this time, by transferring the dough directly from its second 'rise in a basket' on a parchment paper, into the Duth Oven. Oven spring looks like it worked, though the underside of the loaf looks a bit burned.
    3] maybe I 'scored' the dough too early - about 10 minutes before the bake, so the finished product is less pretty than usual.

    We'll have to wait a while to check the crumb 🍞and the wetness 🚰 after slicing.

  7. ritchd01 says:

    Eric, I love your site but am having trouble with the Artisan Sourdough Rye bread. #1, I'm not sure if my sourdough starter is what it should be. I live in central Canada, Manitoba to be exact. A person I know that taught culinary arts in one of our regional high schools told me that we could not maintain good sourdough starter here. We do not have the good wild yeast like that found on the west or east coast. Is there any truth to that. What can I do to keep my starter healthy. I do the weekly feeding of the starter. Should I be adding some yeast with the flour and water? I tried this recipe twice and it just does not rise like yours. I like the taste but it is not what it should be. We are in late fall, early winter here. The temperatures have been very nice so far, for us. Our house is 18C at night and 21 during the days with a relative humidity of 57%. I tried to include a couple of pictures of my latest rye bread but could not do it.. It's better than the first would you believe. Any suggestions?

  8. Michelle says:

    I adore this recipe! So flavorful, and so easy to make!
    I put it all together in the morning but knew I would not have enough time to bake at the end of the day, so I put it immediately, after mixing, into the refrigerator, and then took it out at night, to warm up and rise overnight. The loaf was formed and proofed the next morning and then baked in a cloche, it is brown and beautiful and oh, so tasty!
    Thank you for this recipe!

  9. jbluebird says:

    wow! This bread is fantastic. Followed Eric's video and ingredient list as close as possible. This is my 4th NK attempt using the pineapple based SD starter, and the best to date.

    Only issue (for now) is the overly dark bottom. For this last try I raised the rack to its highest point and lowered the temp by ~10 degrees, but still a little burnt on the buns. Will try parchment paper next weekend.

    Thank you Eric for the great instructions and delicious recipes.


  10. jbluebird says:

    I'm using an Emile Henry flame clay casserole that we've had for many years. It is great for soups and now for breads. i will try the baking sheet suggestion next. It really came out great, good rise, excellent texture and great flavor. The bottom was not terrible, but clearly overdone.

Earlier Comments

760 thoughts on “Artisan Sourdough Rye Bread

  1. Abe

    Hi Eric,

    What a pleasure this is to make. Tastes wonderful. And the smell when baking is divine. I came across this recipe and decided to try it straight away. Made do with the ingredients I had and had to halve the amounts due to not having the right amount starter prepared. Not enough to do in my banneton so used a loaf tin instead. This was, shall we say, a practice run while I prepare everything for the next bake.

    Thank you,

    – Abe.

    • Abe

      A re-run of this recipe this time with all the correct ingredients, proofed in a banneton and baked free standing. Cooling right now but smells wonderful. I’ll post a crumb shot soon.

      • Abe

        Wow! What an intense aromatic bread. Great texture. Very more-ish.

  2. Jerome

    I saw an article on the web about using a red cabbage leaf to make a sourdough starter and decided to give it a shot. To my surprise, it worked! After that I was hooked and started googling all kinds of sourdough stuff and came across your site Breadtopia. After watching your video on making a sourdough rye, I decided to go ahead and order a Romertopf baker. I must say it was the best fifty bucks I’ve spent since I lost my virginity. I also got a banneton and a pair of oven gloves. The results were fantastic. What a huge difference the Romertopf made! I’ve now made a few loaves of sourdough and the baker has performed flawlessly every time. The rye bread recipe worked just as you showed it. The only thing I changed was I added honey in place of the molasses and added a tablespoon of dark cocao powder to give it the color. It tasted great!

    • Hi Eric
      Just tried this recipe and everything worked except it stuck to the bottom of the clay cooker I used. It has a glazed inside as do other bread clay cookers. Any advice very welcome.

      • Hi Georgina,

        Yes, there are a couple things you can do. I fully preheat my clay baker before putting the dough in and never have a problem with sticking. “Fully” is the key word here. I let mine heat up for at least 20 minutes at full baking temp before putting in the dough to bake.

        If you don’t want to preheat it, you can put a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the baker and then put the dough on that.

    • Great info Jerome, and love your sense of humor.

      • Jerome

        Glad you appreciated it Eric. There’s a lot of stuff out there claiming to be “better than sex” – not so sure about that – but the Romertopf is sure close!

  3. peppers

    Hi I made this rye bread in a cast iron dutch oven and it came out great,but now I purchased a romertopf and when preheated at 475 degrees,it got black inside and put out some smoke in my oven,when I cooked the bread in this at the suggested heat of 475-480 degrees IT BURNT…Why did my romertopf turn black inside.With it turning black will this effect my next loaf of bread?Do you think I should try again with less heat maybe at 400 degrees?I am so disappointed,that my romertopf did not work after hearing how great it is to cook in it.Also hesitant to use it again!What a waste,for ate a little of the bread and was tasty but not enjoyable ,and I had to throw the bread away….Help,and thank you!

    • Hi Peppers?

      Did you apply any cooking oil to the inside of the Romertopf?

      • peppers

        Hi again,no I did not use oil,Put it in the oven the way it came.,to preheat it.I got it at a church sale and it looked like it had not even been used!. I live up in the mountains 2,000 ft elevation,and just thought it had to do with the temp being to high,but like I mentioned I had made this bread in my cast iron dutch oven and it comes out fine!I may just have to experiment with the Romertopf,but sure do not want to waste food by burning it,especially this yummy recipe,so I was seeking some answers or directions just for my peace of mind as not to blow it again.

        • The prior owner probably put oil on it or just used it to bake something fatty, like some kind of meat. If you let it burn off it will be fine.

          • peppers

            It did look new,and when you say let it burn off, would you suggest for me just to let it cook in the oven?If yes about how long?Also is it okay to cook in it, if the color stays black inside the romertopf?Apologies for any inconvenience,and thanks again!

            • Yeah, cook it off in the oven. I don’t know how long it will take but it should be fine to use once it stops smoking.

              • peppers

                Thanks a bunch Eric, I will share my results with you,when I cook with the romertopf again.Will be out of town for a while so it will not be right away.So until then.Much appreciated.With happy cooking,cheers!

    • tami

      You need to soak your roemertopf for 20min in water before each use. Did you do this?

      • You really don’t. I never do.

  4. andrew c

    If I wanted to bake this on a stone would I lower the temp and cook time? I have a small le cruesete dutch oven too. Would that work to bake in? I am new to baking in general with a healthy starter and a one good loaf of sourdough under my belt. I really want to try this recipe, but am unsure about change in time/temp.

  5. Bogumil

    Hello there,

    I always want to make a bread from sourdough. I have read some website said that when I use a bread from sourdough and it will process and convert to gluten free, it is amazing. I did try to make a bread from sourdough (I use rye sourdough starter), and I have failed it many times, I have read different website but end up the same result is sticky, very sticky not smooth.

    Do you think this sticky caused because of rye sourdough starter? Must I use white sourdough starter instead? Or are we depending on weather? you stayed in North and I am staying in South Africa, do you think the weather caused this effect?

    Please can you explain me why and what causes it sticky? I did add more flour, every time I added flour, it will consume all the flour and it still return to stick again and over and over.

    Please see the picture when I transfer from basket to oval baking, very sticky not firm.

    And also when I leave it in the basket for an hour or 1 and 1/2 hour, and let it rest and rise but it looks like not risen up but spread it wider instead. What it causes?

    Your advise will be appreciated.

    Kind regards,

    • Nice photo. I always thought it was just the nature of rye to be sticky. It’s a sticky grain. I think if you Google “why is rye sticky” you’ll probably find all kinds of information.

      • Dominique

        Hello Eric
        I am a beginner and was baking a rye bread from a starter over 30 years ago. I lost the recipe and am thankful I found your website. I live in Brisbane Australia and I have issues with a very wet dough. I have ended up placing the dough in a loaf tin which I then place in the cloche. Today I had to bake the bread longer. Not sure why. The result is a good bread, very enjoyable to eat. I will have another go this evening and will use less liquid and see waht happens. I am also having a go at baking the sourdough spelt bread which I really love.

        • Dominique

          Finally nailed the recipe so that to all intents and purposes my dough behaved as on the video and although still a bit wet the dough could be managed and placed in a Romertoff. I am pleased to have had another go straight away. Thank you Eric and others on the website for you encouragement through you posts and the affirmation that each loaf is a bit inique. I used 50 gr less liquid. Instead of orange rind i substituted about 100gr of water for orange juice.

        • Looks really good to me!

  6. Richard

    This is a great resource for me. I have been making my own bread for over 30 years now (I’m in my 40’s) and have been working with the same wild sourdough starter for over 12 years now. So far so good. But truth be told I have NEVER been able to get a non-panned loaf to rise into a ball. They always fall flat and spread. I have tried different hydration levels, gluten levels, kneading techniques and I just can’t get this last part to work for me. I’ve followed the videos and still, they wind up looking like a super think pizza crust. What am I doing wrong??? They taste fantastic and are quite tender. When in a pan they rise up wonderfully and my kids beg me to make more. But without a loaf pan I feel like a failure. 🙂 Help!!!

    • Hi Richard,

      The main factors involved are hydration level, proofing time and yeast/starter viability. Assuming you’ve already tried a stiffer dough and your starter is robust, that leaves proofing time. If you’re proofing for too long, the dough will get very slack and not rise well. If you haven’t played with that variable, you might want to cut the proofing times quite a bit to test it out.

  7. Dave

    can u convert this receipt for a bread maker?

    • Hendrik

      Hi Dave:

      Like you, I am very interested to learn how this recipe can be made in a bread machine. I did try and this was the result: Did everything manually through the overnicht proofing.. The dough, in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, rose nicely during the night.. Punched it down in the morning and transferred the blob to my Zojirushi bread machine pan, covered it with plastic wrap. Let it rise again for 3 hours. It rose modestly. After 3 hours, I turned on the bake cycle, time set for 60 minutes (on my machine, you can do custom settings). Dough did not rise any further after the heat came on. I believe I read somewhere that that’s a characteristc of sourdough.. Anyway, I ended up with a low bread, with a tangy taste, dense but moist and quite edible. The top is flat. So this version is not for looks. One thing I would do differently: I would let it rise in the breadpan for 4 hours, instead of 3. I am also thinking that the manual version of this recipe uses a very hot, pre-heated oven. If that’s essential for success than we can’t use a bread machine because pre-heating is not an option.

      I hope that Breadtopia will provide some helpful suggestions – assuming it’s possible – as how to adjust this otherwise wonderful recipe, for a bread machine.

      (In some bread machine books on sour dough baking, I found some rye sourdough recipes. These all use much more sour dough starter and go through the cycles of kneading and at least two rises. Next time, I will see if I can integrate this Breadtopia rye recipe with the one from my books. (For me the fun of baking bread derives largely from playing with that bread machine. Otherwise, I would not be baking my own bread. Typical male attitude, I guess.)



  8. lisa

    PS: I have been successfully baking yeast white/ww sourdough, and another yeast rye/white flour bread.

  9. lisa

    I have enjoyed the rye sourdough recipe for about a year. Since moving to a slightly higher elevation on a property,(about 600m) i am dealing with my loaf not getting a good rise in the oven and being fairly flat. My most recent mix stayed wet in the middle after cooking for what I thought was a long time as per the recipe. Wondering if I should be letting the second proof go longer than I did when first making this recipe? Not sure what the issue is.

  10. Michele

    Dear Breadtopia,

    I ordered your starter a couple of weeks ago and followed your tutorials to make the sourdough rye, spelt and whole grain. I used a romertopf to bake the loaves in, at the suggested temps, cover on, then cover off at the end…they came out wonderful. Only 1 question, the crust is a bit too crusty…any suggestions as to how I might achieve a crust a bit less crusty?

    Much Thanx, Michele

    • Liza Saturley

      Hi Michele,

      Following are suggestions for softening your loaf’s crust:

      -Reduce the baking temperature by 25°F or so, and make sure you’re not baking for any longer than necessary. The internal temperature of a loaf of bread should be 200°F.
      -If it’s just the top crust that you find too crusty, try leaving the lid of the Romertopf on for longer.
      -Brush the hot, right-out-of-the-oven bread with melted butter. This will create a crisp yet not hard crust.
      -Add 1 Tablespoon of oil to the recipe.
      -Use a cookie sheet on the bottommost rack of the oven to deflect heat.
      -Dairy is supposed to help – try substituting a couple ounces of water with milk.

      Hope you find some helpful information above. Let us know what does and doesn’t work for you!

      Liza at Breadtopia

  11. UK Carol

    The best loaf I have ever made in terms of appearance and taste. I’ve made numerous sourdough loaves and without exception they have all been abysmal. The video was a tremendous help as I could compare my dough at every stage. I gave the final prove in a ceramic colander lined with a floured tea towel and then upended it into a Le creuset cast iron casserole. When I removed the lid at the 30 minute cooking stage the bread had risen well but was pale and looked moist so it took a further 20 min in total to crisp and brown the crust. Absolutely fabulous.

    • Gorgeous.

      • Yvonne

        Today I have begun a rye levain. Could I use this for your sourdough rye recipe? I do have a white/spelt starter on hand also.
        Everyone, from what I read here, seems to love the flavour of your bread, I can hardly wait. Would this work as well in a cast iron fry pan? Or is this cover mandatory?


  12. Alma Rands

    Can I bake this bread in a cast iron (not enameled), dutch oven?
    yesterday I ordered your Emile Henry La Cloche, but while I am waiting for it to arrive, I would like to bake the rye bread using yeast and wonder if it will work. I will use parchment paper to assure that it will not stick. If I can bake it in the cast iron dutch oven, should I keep it at 475 degrees for the entire time? Also, should I leave the lid on for the full time?
    Your recipe does not indicate the length of time it should bake. Alma

  13. BAMstutz

    I recently acquired some Rye Sourdough Starter and I have a stupid question: Can I only use this starter to make rye bread?

    • Not stupid at all. You can use it for making any kind of bread. And if at some point you want to make some plain white flour starter, you can just feed your rye starter white flour and and after a few feedings, you’ll have a white starter. Of course you can do this with pretty much any kind of flour. If you want to experiment with using different starters, you can split what you have and feed that with whatever flour you want.

  14. Stuart Leslie

    Wow, second time making this one and am so impressed with how easy it is and how tasty! Really appreciate your efforts here putting all that work into the videos, I have made a few of your recipes and each has been excellent! The sourdough starter I ordered from you is working out great and surprisingly easy to maintain. Thanks for making me look so good haha!

    • Awesome. We definitely want to make you look good. 🙂

  15. Lasse

    Hi Breadtopia – Thanks for an awesome recipe! Just tried it, and it turned out excellent! Now I can curious how I should store the bread since I dont want it to go soggy or crumble/dry out. Thanks for any answers from all you awesome people.

    Regards, Lasse

    • Hi Lasse,

      How to store it so the crust stays crisp but the crumb doesn’t get stale is a good topic. One thing I do sometimes is cover the cut surface of the bread with foil to keep the crumb from drying out, then put the whole loaf in a paper or cloth bag to keep the crust from softening. Nothing too extraordinary there but it seems to work for several days with whole grain bread and for a couple days with white flour breads, by which time we’ve eaten most of it.

      Since I mostly bake just whole grain (maybe called whole meal in Denmark?) bread, with sourdough leavening, I find the bread keeps well just stored in a bamboo cloth bag. Whole grain breads keep longer, sourdough breads keep longer than commercial yeast breads and bamboo supposedly has natural anti microbial properties. The bread stays reasonably fresh for about 4-5 days. It’s very rare that a loaf in our house isn’t entirely consumed before then anyway.

  16. Susan

    I made this bread last weekend, and it was pronounced not only the best rye I’ve ever made, but the best bread I’ve ever made. Your instructions and proportions worked, and the video helped too. Can’t wait to try it again! Thanks.

    • Love to hear that!

  17. Edith

    How did you prepare the Romertopt for bead baking?
    According to the Rometopt instructions, one should always first soak the roaster in water for about 20 minutes pre-baking and to use a vegetable spray inside the roaster. Also to slowly increase the heat while using the roaster.

    I’m confused as what to do. Thanks!

    • Hi Edith. Soaking helps with casseroles, stews and the like but I never soak it for bread baking. I preheat it to baking temperature before putting in the dough. I never have a problem with the dough sticking but if you do, sprinkling flour in the bottom ahead of the dough or using a piece of parchment paper would help.

  18. Edith

    This rye bread recipe is outstanding!!! I couldn’t stop eating it. It turned out wonderfully. I used my Cloch which did not offer enough structure so the dough did spread but it still worked out fine. My husband loves it.

    • Love the flour pattern. Looks great.

  19. Joe Delasko

    I made this dough recipe using breadtopia sourdough starter that I’ve had for only a week. My idea was to make 2 small baguettes. The dough rose as expected after about 13 hours. When I tried to shape loaves is where I ran into problems. What I had was a sticky gooey blob of wet dough that was like trying to shape contact cement. I must have incorporated another cup or two of flour into the dough just trying to shape it. Finally I managed to get it into a baguette pan, and let it rise for about two hours. Surprisingly, the loaves passed the touch test at this point. After placing the bread in a 475 degree oven, I realized I forgot to score it. It baked in about 10 minutes… a thermometer registered 200 degrees, and if i left it in the oven any longer. it would probably have caught fire. Since I forgot to score the loaves, they burst at the sides, making them quite ugly in appearance.

    After a half hour of cooling, I cut off an end, buttered it and gave it to the guinea pig (my wife) for evaluation. I was pretty sure there was no way this was going to be edible. Much to my surprise, my wife loved it. Somehow, through no fault of my own, I manufactured a loaf of bread that was pretty good…. not the prettiest loaves you ever saw, but quite tasty.

    I forgot to mention, this was my first bread baking effort ever. Pray for me folks. Pray that my bread baking skills improve.

  20. Marcus

    If my oven has a warm “PROOFING MODE” could I get away with 8-10 hrs instead of 11-14 hours????

    • It could even be a lot less than that. Just have to keep an eye on it to see when it’s ready.

  21. Scott

    Hi I made this recipe last month for Thanksgiving and everyone raved about it. The only problem is that I left my dutch ovens at my parent’s house in Pa. Would I be able to bake this in a regular loaf pan or would it not work? I recently bought USA PANS Hearth loaf pan. Thanks

    • Hi Scott. Sure, the loaf pan will be fine. Although you might want to lower the oven temp to 425-450 and bake a little longer.

  22. JoAnne

    I made this bread today. It came out nummy but really dense. I omitted the caraway and fennal seed (we don’t like the flavor) and used a pinch of ground star anise (didn’t have seeds).

    I used fresh ground hard white wheat and fresh ground rye berries. I didn’t receive my KoMo yet so I had to use my vitamix dry. I don’t think the vitamix grinds as finely as it needs to. I am hoping this will fix the density of the bread. I also did the sourdough version with breadtopia sourdough starter that has been getting stronger for over a week now.

    My question is: if we use all fresh ground flour instead of “bread flour” should we be adding a couple of T’s vital wheat gluten? or do you think there is a big difference in the grind of the flour?
    thanks so much!!

    • Hi JoAnne,

      Did you eliminate the white flour altogether? Changing the recipe from 1/2 white bread flour to 100% whole grain flour would make a pretty huge difference in the density of the bread. All whole grain bread, while more nutritious, is typically quite dense. You’re probably not going to see much if any difference in density with KoMo ground flour vs Vitamix. Increasing the water in the recipe some and adding the vital wheat gluten should open up the crumb a bit.

      • JoAnne

        KoMo came today OMG gorgeous and works beautifully!! THANK YOU!!!
        I made some beautiful whole wheat pierogi today that were awesome!! I used all soft wheat berries and didn’t even sift it.
        I did eliminate the white flour in the bread I made. I will try a little gluten and see if that helps. I will play a bit. I really want to eliminate all store bought flour!!

        • They look sooo good. I’m instantly hungry.

  23. Sean

    Great recipe. The anise was a little strong for my tastes so in my next loaf I used only a half teaspoon of it then added a half teaspoon of dill seed just to mix it up.

    This bread is fantastic with cream cheese and lox!

  24. I could use some help. Very wet dough for me and little in any oven spring. My starter is very active no problem doubling this dough in 12 hours I left my starter on the counter and it nearly tripled in 4 hours room temperature. The dough was so sticky I had difficulty forming a loaf. I am new at this so hardly know where to start making changes. It would be very helpful in the video if you would show the consistency of the dough so I could get some sort of reference. Sorry poking just isn’t very helpful.

    • Winifred

      What did you bake it in or on? I find if I do the loaf on a flat surface – baking stone or cloche – I get very little oven spring. I’ve started using a clay baker with sides – sort of loaf shape and I get great spring (I’ll try to attach a photo of the one I use – I actually use the lid as the bottom and the bottom as the lid). I take the lid off for the last 15 minutes. I would imagine a Dutch oven would work well, too.

      Just started a loaf tonight! This is such delicious bread – I must make it at least once a month. It’s so worth experimenting with it until you get the loaf you want.

      • By the way, another trick that I learned from Canadian chef Michael Smith is to use a Silpat to work the dough on when shaping it. A Silpat is a silicone mat that is sort of stick-proof – people use them on cookie pans instead of greasing the surface. I flour it pretty heavily before I dump the dough on it and use a bench scraper to help me fold and shape the dough. The dough doesn’t stick like it inevitably does if I use my granite counter or a wooden board and it is so easy to clean up – dust off and wipe with a damp cloth.

        • Winifred
          Thanks for the reply. I baked another loaf reduced the water some and turned out better. I lowered the water to 77% which made the dough easier to shape. I did get some spring not as much as I would like but better then earlier efforts. I an using a Sassafras Cloche to bake. I am trying to limit my spending as this is a new hobby and its easy to get carried away. I love the recipe the smell of the bread is amazing. My friend actually preferred the loaf being a bit dense. Go figure.

          • I have a sassafras cloche, too – but I am finding I don’t get a lot of spring from anything I bake in it – so I have pretty much use my clay baker (which was less expensive than the cloche and everything I’ve baked in it has been great.

    • big mike

      Paul, not all starter is the same, it sounds like yours is hyper, like mine. I’m down to first rise of 4 hours and second rise of 2. If your dough doubles in less than 12 hours go with that. Leaving it too long, once it doubles, is asking for breakdown and no oven spring because the natural yeast is worn out by then. I have also learned not to over mix my dough, once it comes together and feels smooth and well mixed, I stop and do my first rise. I also use Romertopf clay pots to bake in that seems to work well, for oven spring. I have included a photo of yesterdays sourdough bread baking, where I made 3 different types.

  25. Jeanette

    I love this recipe but I never get an oven burst. Last time the second proving was only 50 minutes, but still no burst. Could it be that I’m not scoring it deep enough?
    Thanks Jeanette

    • Does your starter rise well after feeding it?

  26. kendyll

    Wow, Thank you for your speedy reply : )
    It turned out ok, just didn’t rise as full as I would have liked and it’s quite moist. But very yummy just the same. Yes, maybe less starter too. As there are many interesting things in the air in these parts. Sometimes I think I don’t even need a starter, ha ha. Thank for your suggestions I will start a log. Good idea : ) I love “Breadtopia” It has been so helpful and fun.

  27. kendyll

    This is my first bread from a starter! Exciting : )
    I live in Hawaii and it is warm and humid here. I fallowed the recipe perfectly. Proof 12 hrs and poured it out, it was so wet it pooled on the counter, even after folding with flour. It won’t retain any shape. I managed to get it into proofing bowl, but its going to be very wet, so it will get poured again into my baking vessel : (
    What can I do next time? Add less water? Decrease my over night rise time?
    There is no way I can even razor score it.
    Thanks in advance and sorry if this discussion is below.

    • Hi Kendlyll,

      Warmth and humidity will do that. You’re correct on the variables. Next time add more flour and/or use less water. If it’s possible to monitor the rising time too, you may find it’s done most of its rising in much less than 12 hours. If you want to stretch out the rising time you can also do a few things like reduce the amount of starter, use cold water, refrigerate for a while.

      It’s kinda all about making adjustments until it works the way you want. Make notes of your adjustments along the way.

  28. Winifred

    I love this recipe and have made it several times. Just took this one out of the oven.

    • Gorgeous!

  29. Pauline

    I bake bread in romertopf baker now, and it cracks on top. Before I used a plain pot to bake and everything was fine. What could be the problem?

    • I have the same problem and cannot find an answer anywhere. Did you ever find out why your bread cracks on the top?.

  30. Angela Smith

    I just wanted to say that I am just a beginner in terms of baking using a sourdough starter and this was the first time I have attempted a rye bread, but this recipe is wonderful. With the help of the videos and the recipe, I was able to create a delicious loaf of bread that my friends thought was the nicest loaf of rye they had ever had. You can’t get better than that! Thank you.

    • That’s wonderful. Thanks for sharing, Angela.

  31. Rena

    When doing the rye bread my dough was not near wet enough with the 400 ml. I did weigh it out but had to add more water to get the dough more fluid like vs crumbly. I am in the beginning stage of this bread so I will see how it firms up with the additional stirrings. As a thought, I am using bread flour and dark rye flour, could they need more hydration than say an AP flour and light rye? Curious minds you know…

    • Rhonda

      I’ve found that dark rye is a lot thirstier than light rye. I’m told it’s the same difference as white wheat flour vs. whole wheat flour: whole wheat is also quite a bit thirstier.

  32. Michael

    I had the oven at 475F but the crust became overdone way before the inside temperature was high enough for a finished loaf. Any ideas?

    • Do you have an oven thermometer you can use to check the accuracy of your oven settings?

      In any case, I’d just lower the baking temp and see how that goes.

  33. kathleen

    can i leave out the seeds?

    • Yes!

  34. Tom

    This is a really good recipe, although it didn’t always work out as nicely for me as shown in your video.
    I’ve made a few changes that produce very good results for me.
    (1) I use rye sourdough starter. I didn’t always get a nice rise when using starter made from white bread flour.
    (2) Taken an earlier poster’s suggestion I use 300 g of rye flour, 300g of white bread flour and 400g of water.
    (3) The dough is quite sticky as you mention in the video. Therefore I led it rest for 10 min or so before I go through a series of stretch and folds over the next hour.
    (4) I keep the dough in the fridge for 24 hours. The dough rises slowly in the fridge but I’m not sure whether it doubles in size.
    (5) After the 24 h refrigeration period I reshape the boule and leave it at room temp. for just about an hour during which time I heat up the cloche and oven.
    Keep up the good work!

  35. Melissa

    I’m not sure if the starter needs to be fed after it has been in the fridge – mine doubled when it came to room temperature and had lots of bubbles – can I use it immediately or do I need to feed it three times as some sites say? P.S. My family loved the fragrant rye sourdough – thank you!

    • Hi Melissa,

      You can use it immediately. When starter doubles for you, it’s ready.

  36. Jeanette

    Because I used light rye flour, I’m wondering if this is why mine was soooooo soft. Maybe because the rye berries were milled on the job, it took more moisture than mine. Loved the taste but next time, I’ll add less liquid and add.

  37. Jeanette

    I agree Leslie, I’m in the process of making it today and I can’t even handle the dough. This is my 3rd attempt at making a rye sourdough and this one doesn’t look good either. Might have to give up and stick to the white sourdough. I use the wild yeast, but would be interested in your results.

    • Bill

      I begin with less water and/or add flour until the dough is the consistency that I want. I’m addicted to the flavor of this rye sourdough bread.

      Another baker commented that the wet dough gave good oven spring. I’ve never tried this.

  38. Leslie

    I have made this bread several times and loved it, but struggled with the dough which seemed overly liquid to me. Yesterday I made a loaf using a recipe that yielded a dough too firm; this prompted me to refer to Michael Ruhlman’s excellent book Ratio in which he gives ratios for everything you’d ever want to cook.
    According to Mr. Ruhlman, yeast bread should be 5 parts flour to 3 parts liquid. This recipe is nearly an 1:1 ratio of liquid to flour, which explains its runniness.
    Since I’m making this without starter (mine croaked!), I will weigh all the dry ingredients and try to make it as close to a 5:3 ratio as possible. Will keep you posted!

    • Mike Parish

      Use “Bakers Percentage” to figure the water versus flour requirement. You can get away with up to 72% water to flour and still come up with a good loaf. the 82% in the on-line version is not only hard to handle but if you bake it the center come out like firm mush. I’ve now tried a dozen versions using various liquid amounts and the more liquid you use up to the max of 72% the larger the holes in the bread. If you use the typical 62.5% as most bread books recommend you get a dense loaf that still tastes great. I finally settled on 68% water when using starter. You can get away with a bit more water when using yeast (the starter adds a bit of liquid volume). I’ve got an earlier post on-site with my early attempts at this bread. You might want read that for additional information.

      • Joffres

        Can you just tell us if the percentage is weight based? I am supposing it is. Thanks

        • Mike Parish

          Yes, “Baker’s percentage” is weight based. Most bread average 62.5% water to flour. For example if you are using 600 grams of flour just multiply 600X .625 and you’ll get 375 grams of water. By reversing this formula you’ll discover that the on-line version of this rye bread has a 82% water content. This is why beyond anything I’ve ever seen in a bread book. The slackest dough I’ve ever read about was 72%. Best of luck.


          • Dave Edwards

            But in a way that’s academic. This recipe does work, as I found out to my surprise. But I think it’s essential to bake in a pot or casserole, the dough is too soft to retain any shape otherwise.

            In a pot it rises beautifully!

            • doris w

              Dave you are right I assume the recipe was created this way because of the “no Kneading” factor. A sloppy dough is going to absorb better not needing the kneading.
              I make this stuff nearly every week. I have always had a tasty but dense bread (hearty rye) as a result.
              I have dropped the water to 370 grams and the dough is still stir-able, but a little less sloppy. YES bake it in a casserole or dutch oven with a lid! It would puddle too much otherwise!

              • Doris, it worked for you because you dropped the baker’s percentage of water to 75% for 82% which is typical for no knead bread done in a Dutch Oven. I would still recommend you preheat at 450 and bake at 425 for 40 minutes covered and 15/20 minutes uncovered. Any time less and the bottom third of the internal loaf will be gummy. You need to go not only by internal bread temperature but more by time. I’ve found through experiment that bread will reach 195/210 within the first half hour of baking and stays below 212. It won’t go higher because of the moisture in the loaf that prevents it from going to the boiling point of 212. So, the internal temperature tells you very little about how baked the bread is. Obviously at 30 minutes the bread is still raw even though the instant read tells me the bread done. It’s all about time under a specific oven temperature that makes for good bread. You’ll note that the bead made by on this video has very large irregular hole. This isn’t a good thing. It means the gluten structure is weak and the bread will be chewy. Below the video the author mentions another on-site baker that had good luck with his version which is also only 75% hydrated. This really is the upper limit for a free standing loaf. Breads like Pizza and Frocaccia have higher content of water (80 to 90 percent) since they are flat breads that spread and are expected to be chewy and of course to spread out they need a weak gluten structure provided by lots of water so they can be spread or be rolled out. Otherwise they would constantly spring back after attempted rolling and spreading.

      • Rhonda

        Those percentages also depend on your flour. I’ve consistently needed more water than the recipe calls for when dealing with rye flour, and I found out recently that US flour is quite different from Canadian flour. Notably for bread-making, with white flour in Canada we don’t need special bread flour or “vital wheat gluten”, our all-purpose flour has enough gluten to do a good job at making bread.

        For rye flour, I’ve found that I always need to add significantly more water than the recipe calls for to get the dough to look (and rise) the same as in the instructions. I found a 100% rye recipe recently, which called for 70-80% hydration. At 80%, it was so stiff it didn’t even rise in the final proof and ended up baking like a brick. It wouldn’t rise for me until I took it to 100% hydration, because my flour was that much thirstier than the flour used by the person who wrote the recipe.

        • Since there is very little gluten in Rye flour it will have very little spring no matter how much or little water is used. That’s why most Rye breads combine Rye flour with wheat flour. It’s for the gluten content of the wheat flour. The 100% Rye breads are typical Swedish or German and they are all bricks. I guess it depends if you like that kind of density. Frankly, I don’t and therefore stick with a maximum of 60% Rye,

  39. Dave Edwards

    Followed the instructions but my dough was so wet and sticky I had to scrape it into the oven. I can’t help but think that the liquid measures given can’t be correct: 400ml/g of water is an awful lot, then the molasses and starter add even more moisture.

    • Raul

      Hi Dave, here in this part of the world it is around midnight and I am leaving the dough ready for tomorrow morning and my mixture is not wet at all, similar to the one in the video, in my case I weight the water 400 grams, and a total of 500 grams of both flours, I used just 2 table spoons of molasses plus I add from my own idea some barley malted extract (1/2 teaspoon) and 1/2 tea spoon of something called treacle over here, it is very similar to molasses, you see I used more liquid than the required and it is OK to me and I am sure will be ok tomorrow to place in the oven.

      Molasses and treacle are near the same, but when I did some taste it is not the same, as well I use sometimes a more refined version called Golden Syrup, all the info here

      My sugestion sbout your problem check first than the scale works properly use some well know weights, and weight all the ingredients, and do not use cups at all, even when I have to use 1 Gr of yeast I use a digital scale used mainly to weight spices used in meat preserving, I think I paid around $15 with free delivery from China–200g/

      My only problem was mixing all the ingredients I am still exhausted , I am waiting for my Danish Dough Whisk than will be arriving sometime next week, I have to purchase the whisk from Europe (UK) because postage from USA it is very expensive.

      Well I wish you luck, but try again and I am sure will be OK


      • Dave Edwards

        Thanks for the reply. The bread turned out superb with the best (and only) ovenspring I have experienced. I’m surprised because it was so wet as a dough. The only snag for me was I took it out of the oven too soon.

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