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:

    Have been following and baking with lessons from this site for a few happy months now.
    The most dramatic lessons I've learned, are the use of a Dutch Oven and an implanted thermometer.
    I have experimented with 100% rye (will write about that at another time) however, am trying to improve my technique with this recipe.
    Repeatedly, I get a very wet bread.
    Usually, the Dutch Oven is heated up to 240*C (i.e. 'hot' oven) and closed with the dough for 20 minutes.
    Then, the cover of the Dutch Oven's removed and the thermometer is speared into the still baking bread, with an alarm set for 98*C.
    This is usually reached in another 30 or so minutes.
    Round wooden skewer tests always come out wet, so I keep the bread in for longer and longer, causing it to over crust. Possibly even, to burn.
    At this time, I am baking the same recipe with 370 instead of 400 grams of water.
    The dough was very sticky - let's see what happens.🤔
    Any suggestions how to get the baked bread less sticky?

  7. wilbri says:

    Here it goes ▶️ The crumb looks good, the crust is crunchy and thin, the bread, though still sticky, is much less sticky than usual.
    I'll write the ingredients, including all changes I've made to the 'official' recipe over the past few months.
    It would be an exaggeration to say that I'm delighted with the outcome- I am happy.
    A bit of background, we live about 700 meters above sea level, near Jerusalem, in Israel.
    Spring is behind us, so the unheated in-house temperatures are just over 20*C.
    This bread's dough was started on Thursday morning, about 9am, then put in the fridge at 2pm, until this (Sunday) morning at 8am.
    The second rise, after folding, started at 2pm, for baking at 4pm.

    The ingredients:
    370 grams water
    70 grams rye starter
    245 grams whole rye flour
    245 grams general white wheat flour
    40 grams date syrup
    5 grams table salt
    25 grams peeled sunflower seed
    25 grams linseed

    Followed directions of Artisan Sourdough Rye Bread.

  8. 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?

  9. 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!

  10. 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.


Earlier Comments

760 thoughts on “Artisan Sourdough Rye Bread

  1. Beate

    Hi there,

    I have a problem and it’s got to do with VERY thin and wet dough. I was baking breads with white flour for a while and it came out great. Now, I’m german and so I wanted to make rye bread – like home. I took my same recipe and – argh: the dough is soooo terribly thin and sticky. I used 100 % rye flour, my own sourdough starter, water, salt and 1 1/2 tbs of rye “riser” and that’s it. Practically all I did with the “white” bread. I let the dough rise overnight and it doubles perfectly. But it turns from a normal but very sticky dough into something I can pour. 🙁 Not sure what to do. Is it the rye flower or the sourdough starter? I bake it just like I would normally, preheat oven, heat the form with it, pour the dough in and after 30 min of baking I take it out of the form and return it into the oven for another 20 to 30 min to make sure its baked through. The bread ends up nice but a bit “wet” inside. It’s baked through, it’s not raw, but the feel is wet. I hope that makes sense … The pores are also very small. I would love some advice what to do with the dough. I really want to “knead”!!!! lol … Please let me know what I can do to get the dough to be “normal”. Thank you soooo much!

    • Hi Beate,

      Rye flour and white flour are hugely different in many ways. 100% rye flour bread is going to end up very dense with a tight crumb (small holes). That’s what pumpernickel bread is all about. To bake with 100% flour, you might want to find a pumpernickel recipe and follow that.

      • Beate

        Thank you, will try that. 🙂

  2. Phil D

    I made this loaf of sourdough rye bread last night following the easy recipe from this site. What an easier (and cheaper) way to make delicious rye bread at home!
    For me, the key for a great crust is to bake the bread in a Romertopf clay baker.
    The suggestion of using rice flour sprinkled over the cloth in the proofing basket works like magic. The dough falls right out of the basket without sticking to the cloth.
    Thank you Eric for this web site and the instructional videos!

    • Phil D

      end cut

      • Phil D


        • Looks great!!!

  3. Mallika

    Hi! I made this bread already a couple times since I found this site, It is a really good bread for sure!
    First time I little freaked out because the dough got quite liquid after the 12 hours and it was quite a mess, but i wrestled the dough into baking dishes and just chucked it into the oven. I was resigned to find after the cooking period a flat and dense bread but it actually had such an strong oven spring, much more than the one i did today, with a dryer dough… Amazing…
    Anyway, I actually made a couple twists on the ingredients, maybe it will be interesting for you to hear. I was actually looking for the recipe of a famous Russian black bread, so when i found your recipe it suited to me and I just added malted rye powder. It’s the actual thing that make Russian rye bread black, not Chocolate or coffee like I read in many sites. Now, can you find it in the US, I don’t know. But the bread is just incomparable. And also a teaspoon of Coriander powder.
    That’s it! Thank you very much for all these detailed instructions, I learned a lot from you!
    Hope to continue getting a lot of inspiration from your site!
    Bye! Mlk

    • Thanks for your post, Mallika. I have heard about your famous Russian black bread but my internet search did not turn up any source in the US for malted rye powder. Just malted barley powder. I would love to make it the way you make it.

      • Rhonda

        I found a north american source for malted rye flour, in case anybody is interested: a U-brew place. Malted rye seems to be a specialty/niche (but not rare) ingredient in beer.


        1) You’ll need to grind it to flour yourself.
        2) It’s sold in 25kg bags, or larger. If you have (or know somebody who has) a relationship with a U-brew place you may be able to talk them into selling you a small quantity out of a bag they have already opened. I got about 1kg of malted rye grains in a ziploc bag in this way.

        I substituted a mere 50g of flour for 50g of ground-up malted rye, and ended up with a VERY dark bread. It’s delicious.

  4. I’m new to baking and making my own bread and never thought of sourdough rye bread. What an interesting idea! The bread looks great, any extra tips for that crunchy crust?

  5. has anyone had success with a 100% rye flour sourdough. also 100% fresh-ground (but more on the coarse side) whole wheat. i cant get a good rise. thanks so much:)

  6. Just made my first loaf of this sourdough rye and what an incredible recipe. My experience was that it was a very wet dough project for certain. I’m okay with that as I’m working doughs as wet as I can reasonably get them because the end product seems so much more savory and a flour-dryer approach. My end result was a bit flatter but because of the dampness of the dough I had to stretch and reshape again after the 15 minute rest on the cutting board. (phone call made it more like a 25 minute rest.) I used the pineapple sourdough starter from this site. The end result… Well, I have made some good breads, but this may quite likely be the best. I will add some yeast for the next batch to get a better spring, but wow. This is what baking bread is all about!

  7. William Atherton-Powell

    Followed your recipe exactly and got an excellent loaf. I used the Carl Griffith starter; this time it revived perfectly, although that is. Sometimes not so. It is wise to use a scale; I did and the recipe worked just as it should have.

  8. Looks delicious! will try that one for sure. Sourdough rye bread is like traditional bread in finland (where I’m from) but now been living in UK for years and just longing the taste of proper rye bread.

    So, took the bull by the horns and tried to make one myself. found a very nice recipe in Nordic cookbook. I used half and half rye flour and wholemeal rye flour to create very traditional finnish rye bread. and I must say, VERY proud of the end results:

    14 g easy-blend yeast (dry yeast)
    900 ml – 1 l lukewarm water
    800 g wholemeal rye flour
    2 tablespoons sea salt

    Thats about it! (of course includes making of the “starter” as well)

    I have whole recipe with images in

    if you wanna taste authentic finnish rye bread why not give this recipe a go =) you won’t be dissapointed.

    – Yucca

  9. Dayle

    Hi Eric,

    I’ve been making this now for a while and I’m very happy with my results, my final dough does come out slightly stickier than yours but I can manage that, but on a couple of occasions now when the weather is more humid than normal, when I come to shaping it the Dough is very, very wet and sticky and it’s really difficult to manage and get into the Proofing Basket.

    Is there anything I can do to stop it becoming too sticky apart from adding extra white flour? Will a shorter proof do the trick or does it need 12-14hrs even in warmer weather?


    • Hi Dayle,

      High humidity greatly impacts everything. Both adding more flour and shortening the proofing times will help. Just have to experiment with one or the other or both.

  10. Hi Doris,
    I used Eric’s basic no knead recipe that calls for 10.5 oz of white bread flour and .5 oz of ww flour. I substituted the less expensive solid Stella for Reggiano Parmesan and processed it in the Cuisinart. What a wonderful aroma and taste.

    • Doris

      Thanks Carol, will certainly give that a try.

  11. Doris

    Carol, fantastic looking bread!
    One question though, was this sourdough bread or regular “No knead” white bread.
    The texture and colour look more like my white no knead bread.
    I love the addition of cheese, garlic and potato!

  12. Hello Eric. I have a question. For the last half dozen loaves I have been proofing them in a warmed drawer where the temperature is about 74 degrees or so compared to the 69 degrees on the counter. I have been getting a very good rise during this time ( to the top of the bowl) and subsequently I have reduced the proofing time to 11 hours. Then an hour in the basket and just 30 minutes in the cloche in a preheated oven. The finished temp is 200 or 204, the color is deep golden and the oven spring is better than before. The crumb is perfect. I think the flavor is too. Am I compromising the flavor with the shorter oven proofing etc?
    It seems you stressed the long slow proof…I am using white flour starter. Today’s loaf was made with Parmesan cheese ( 7 oz ), a head of roasted garlic and a cup of baked red potato…I have added a photo but I am not sure it is the right one…the right photo has a dough scraper beside it!

    • Hi Carol,

      You’re doing all the right things regarding adjusting for your conditions. The results speak for itself and your bread looks great! Nice going.

  13. Jono

    First off, many thanks for making bread baking so accessible to a novice like myself. Should I need supplies I will certainly think of Breadtopia first. I just made this loaf with the “pineapple solution” starter and was blown away by the moist airy crumb and pungent aroma. However it was far too fennel-y for my palate and I will likely change the recipe accordingly. Also, I had to add about 3/4 cup of extra flour to make the sticky rye dough anywhere near stiff enough to be manageable and resemble yours. This didn’t affect oven spring or density, still a very airy loaf. Maybe it’s time for a scale from Breatopia!! BTW 2 loaves of whole grain sourdough are on the rise…

  14. brish

    Great recipe and very helpful written and video instruction! I used a tajine to cook the bread in and it worked beautifully, as you can see.

    Many thanks!

  15. I have been making the rye bread for over a year with great success. I have baked bread for over 30 years and the no knead method is the best. I wanted to share with you a whole wheat bread recipe that I have baked using the same technique. The recipe is one that Bernard Clayton has in one of his very good bread baking cookbooks with a few changes. Here’s the recipe:

    1 1/2 cups water
    1/4 tsp yeast or 1/3 cup starter
    1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
    1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour. (King Arthur)
    1 1/2 cups white flour (King Arthur)
    1/2 cup cracked wheat (Hodgson Mill)
    2 Tablespoons dark molasses
    1 1/4 tsp salt
    1 Tbs vegetable oil

    Mix all the dry ingredients then add the wet. Proceed exactly the same as in the sourdought recipe.

    Hope you enjoy this loaf as much as we do.

    P.s. I will send a picture separately because I can’t figure out how to attach a photo with my new iPad.

  16. Heinz

    Hello Eric,

    My Swiss style bread is getting better and better with more experience. Here is how I make it.

    2 1/2 cups of white bread flour
    1 cup of rye flour
    1/4 teaspoon of yeast powder (instant/rapid-rise)
    1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
    Add 1 teaspoon of honey dissolved in 1 1/2 cups of water
    Mix ingredients well and knead for 2-3 minutes
    Add a bit more water or white bread flour as needed
    (dough should not feel too dry or too sticky)
    Let dough rest for 6 hours in covered bowl at 75F
    Flatten dough into thin rectangle shape – then fold like a letter
    Shape dough oblong and place in lightly floured bottom of baking dish
    Let it rest for 60 minutes in covered dish at 75F
    Meanwhile: preheat oven to 490F
    Score dough and sprinkle lightly with white flour
    Bake in covered dish for 30 minutes
    Remove dish cover and continue baking at 400F until crust looks nice
    You’re done – bon apetit!

  17. Anita

    Have this recipe rising for the night. But wondering if anyone knows if rye berries can go bad? I made this up tonight and ground some fairly old rye berries for the rye portion of flour. Am hoping they will be okay. I made the starter with the same rye flour a few weeks ago and it is very lively. Does anyone know about this? I did not keep them frozen for the years they were here but were in and out of a fridge and in a cooler basement for all of the time. I’d hate to poison my family….. thanks..

    • joe

      I will be baking some sourdough rye today with sour I started about a month ago. The rye flour for the starter and the bread come from berries I bought 3 years ago. I keep the berries in a plastic bucket stored in the coolest spot in my basement. No one has gotten sick , and the bread is great.

      • Anita

        Thanks. I already did the same thing….made the rye bread with starter I began in December and it turned out very good. My husband doesn’t care for rye at all but my best friend loved sharing it. Unfortunately she did get stomach flu the night she tried my bread….but had been exposed the week earlier. I ate it more than once and never got sick so assuming the berries were okay. I read recently though that we shouldn’t use fresh ground flour for starters but I did and it came to life nicely with the juice method. I actually made a spelt starter, rye starter and then wheat which I believe I switched over to organic unbleached white flour and that one went to town. I notice the Rye and spelt tend to not do as well but do perk back up when I need them too. I will eventually cut back to one or two so that our fridge has some room for other foods!!

  18. Ed

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks so much for your web site and all your help. I baked a loaf of this rye bread today. I opened a brand new package of the saf instant yeast (I don’t have a sourdough starter). My dough turned out extremely sticky. I was very careful to follow the recipe very closely (double checking the measurments). I thought it had the right consistency before proofing, but after 10 hours it was looking more like a sponge than risen dough (flat top, lots of bubbles, some bursting). I decided to cut the time short and do the stretch and fold. I managed, but it was so soft and sticky that I decided to use a parchment sling for the second rise. It turned out pretty soupy too (with bubbles, etc.).

    The bread turned out very good – crisp crust and soft crumb. Excellent flavor! Not much spring. Medium to small air holes (not what I would have expected from such a wet dough). The experience has me wondering about a few things.

    1. 1 tsp of yeast seems like quite a bit for a two cup no-kneed recipe. Is there a reason why you specify so much? I wonder if this is why my dough turned into a gooey sponge after so short a time.

    2. I’ve heard that salt inhibits the formation of gluten. Your recipe has more than what I’m used to. Could this possibly explain the difficulty? It doesn’t make sense if everyone is adding the same amount of salt. Maybe some are measuring out sea or kosher salt and not going by weight? I used table salt and weighed it out.

    3. Normally I turn off the heat at night. I left it on so that the dough could rise. The temperature in the kitchen was between 67 and 69 degrees. Do you turn down your heat at night? Could this be why you have such a long proofing time?

    I’m making another loaf tomorrow. If the proofing turns out another sponge (likely) then I’ll kneed in enough flour to turn it into a manageable dough. Let me know if you have any other ideas for cause or remedy.

    Thanks again!

    • Hi Ed,

      I think most, if not all, of the issue is with the quantity of flour. The recipe calls for a total of 3 1/2 cups of flour between the rye and white. You might have to adjust for the room temp a bit but that shouldn’t be a very big factor.

      • Ed

        Hi Eric,

        Thanks for the reply – sorry for the delay!

        I’ve been doing a lot of reading and experimenting. I think you are right about the amount of flour. I read a lot about converting yeast recipes to sourdough starter (not many examples in the other direction!). It’s very common to subtract some amount of the flour to compensate for what is included in the starter. So, it’s entirely reasonable to assume that one must add that flour back in when going from starter to yeast. The question is: How much? Your recipe calls for 70g of starter. If it’s 100% hydration, then (by weight) it will include 35g of flour.

        In my first experiment, I made up a batch of dough according to your recipe here and kept track of the amount of flour I added after proofing to get dough that resembled what you show in the video. It turned out to be 3/4 cup (95g). This is a lot more than I would have expected but it worked. Of course, when 3/4 cup of flour is kneeded into the dough after proofing, it’s absolutely deflated. So, there was some compromise…not a door-stop but pretty dense. On to experiment #2!

        The second experiment involved adding the 95g of extra flour up front so that the dough wouldn’t require kneeding after the proof. However, the hydration level is just too low for a “no-kneed” dough. Kitchenaid to the rescue! I let the proof double in size (about 3.5 hours, not 12 hours). The second rise only took 1.5 hours. The crust was crisp and the crumb was open, soft, and chewy. But the shorter rise time meant less flavor. On to experiment #3.

        For the third experiment, I wanted to get the flavor benefits of a long proof and retain the “no-kneed” aspect. As I mentioned in my first post, 1 tsp of yeast is fine for a 2-3 hour proof, but way too much for a 12 hour proof. So, I reduced it to 1/4 tsp. I also reduced the extra flour to 35g (to try out the theoretical amount). The dough came out of the proof too wet for me to manage. So I kneeded in a bunch more flour and produced a fine tasting but rather dense loaf.

        For my fourth experiment, I decided to return to your original recipe. I also did some more research and devised a method to manage wet dough (oil on parchment!). I wanted to observe the whole process much more closely so that I could come up with a new plan.

        I used a big plastic beaker to measure the dough rise. Here’s how the 12 hour proof goes with 1 tsp of yeast:
        Start: 800 cc (ml)
        Peak: 2287 cc
        End: 1825 cc
        That’s right, the end volume was less than the peak. I think the yeast pooped out early (no more food or maybe intoxicated). So, it’s confirmed – 1 tsp yeast is just too much.

        The dough was really wet but I used my oiled parchment method to do the stretch and fold – worked like a champ. No extra flour was added. I stopped the second rise after 2 hours and virtually no change in volume. Definitely dead yeast. I baked it but the loaf was really flat and dense – no oven spring. It also had a very sharp flavor. Is this what people mean when they say “yeasty”?

        Experiment #5 was based on all the things I learned by carefully observing what happened in experiment #4. I used 1/4 tsp yeast and did not add any flour during the stretch and fold. Here’s how the 12 hour proof went:
        Start: 800 cc
        Peak: 1901 cc
        End: 1901 cc
        So far, so good! The dough was very wet but it was no match for the oiled parchment method. Stretch and fold went without a hitch! 2nd rise was done in 2 hours. Good oven spring. The resulting loaf had a light, airy, chewy crumb and a crisp crust. See attached photo.

        I have since made another loaf using the same parameters as experiment #5 with equally good results. I’m sure I will get better at this over time. This is really great bread! Thanks again for sharing it with us.


        • Ed

          After reading my comments, it occurs to me that I wasn’t very clear about what made for success in experiment #5:

          I used 1/4 tsp yeast, added 35g extra bread flour at the beginning (total of 280g), and did not add any flour during the stretch and fold. Proof for 12 hours, 2nd rise for 2 hours.

          I’ve included a photo of the crumb.

          Thanks again!

  19. Jack Hibler

    Does Breadtopia sell Rye Flour ?

  20. Jack Hibler

    Do You have a Resipe for hearty crusty Rye Bread,
    to use in Bread Machine ?
    Please Reply.

  21. I has great success with my first loaf of sourdough rye, recipe above, but now I have a few questions.
    Instead of stirring with a spoon, would my electric mixer with the paddle do the same thing?
    And could I substitute organic orange flavored oil for orange zest? I happen to have it on hand but not an orange.
    I would like to add seeds to the surface…should I brush with water first?
    carol in landaff nh

    • Deonia Copeland

      Carol, If I were you i’d beat an agg white with 1/2 teaswpoon water until the white is broken up. Then run it through a sieve and with a pastry brush, bruch the top of the loaf of bread and then apply whatever seeds you want. They will stay adhered to the surface of your loaf. If the seeds start to brown more than you want while baking, tent with foil for most of the baking time. This is what works when making bagels.

  22. I just sliced into and tasted my first loaf of your rye sourdough bread!
    I am so thrilled with the result! It turned out perfectly. I gave it a 12 hour proof after 4 hours in the fridge ( to better coincide with my schedule) . I used my 30 year old clay baker and a checked the final temp with a thermometer. It was high at 204 so next time will reduce the baking time somewhat. I am surprised at the soft crust because all my artisan breads have had a harder crust…but this is fine as well!
    I have been using the breading making method offered by Zoe and Jeff Hertzberg up till now and I am pleased to say that this is as easy and has a more predictable outcome.
    Can’t wait to share with friends!

  23. Inga

    Eric, this video doesn’t drone on at all.
    Lots of useful info in here aside from the recipe at hand. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for your dedication.

  24. I tried out the sourdough rye recipe today. It worked well. Only one thing – it did spread out quite a bit in the oven on the clay tiles. I can see where the clay cooker would help keep the sides from spreading. The smell of the bread is terrific. I can’t wait to taste it alongside some good winter stew.

  25. Kim McDonald

    I just discovered this website! I am going to try the sourdough starter this week! I do have a question about the flour…I too mill my own wheat, but I do not use any white flour. I was wondering in the rye bread if I could use wheat or some other flour along with the rye flour. I really look forward to checking out the entire website. Thanks for all the information.

    • Hi Kim,

      Sure you can use whole wheat in place of white. The bread will just be a good bit denser is all.

    • Judy Leach

      Hi Kim,
      I have also been trying to get away from using anything other than whole grain flours. I have been using spring wheat flour instead of bread flour in rye bread, and the results have been wonderful. Spring wheat has a higher protein content than hard white wheat. So the rye bread has more holes and texture, and the crust is chewy. I have been using the pumpernickel bread recipe from King Arthur’s site, I sub spring wheat for the Lancelot high protein (made from spring wheat) and fresh milled rye flour. I also use less yeast (1 tsp) and a long fermentation (12-18 hours). This gives the enzymes in the grains enough time to do their thing.

      • Judy Leach

        I forgot to mention that I triple the recipe to get two large 9″ x 5 ” loaves, and the spring wheat is also freshly milled. So the one teaspoon of instant yeast is for a triple recipe. When using whole grain flours, it is important not to knead as little as possible because the bran of the grains will cut the gluten strands and make a denser loaf. Initial mixing of the dough should also be gentle. The long fermentation will develop the gluten. After the initial fermentation, gentle folding works better than kneading.

        • Judy Leach

          Whoops, I meant to knead as little as possible in the previous post.

      • Kim McDonald

        Hi Judy…when you say “spring wheat” are you talking about red hard wheat? Thanks!

        • Judy Leach

          Hi Kim,
          No, spring wheat has more protein and gluten than either hard red or hard white wheats. This is what King Arthur’s Lancelot flour is made of. I grind all of my flour from whole grains. If you need a good source for some of the grains, I get mine from Honeyville Farms online. They have a flat rate shipping of $4.95 for your entire order, and their prices are relatively reasonable.

  26. Heinz Imhof


    I just felt I had to post this picture because all the home bread bakers in this forum would love to see it. If was taken last Friday at the Le Pain Quotidien bakery in Polanco, Mexico City.

    • Pete

      Terrific picture. I think I can actually smell the aroma! For sure my mouth is watering.

  27. Sam

    I’ve made this recipe three times now. Very delicious! Thanks for sharing it.

    I do have a question, though.

    Each time I’ve made it, the final product has been mildly doughy in the center. It’s not bad, and tastes great, just not as dry in the center as it should be. Yet the internal temp of the bread on each loaf when removing from the oven has consistently been 207-208ºF. It’s worth noting that I don’t yet have a clay baker, so I’ve been using a cast iron dutch oven instead. Otherwise, I follow the directions above, including the temps and cook times, covered, uncovered, etc.

    The first time I made it, the bottom scorched a bit. So, to remedy that I tried pre-heating the dutch oven for 5 minutes less and on subsequent loaves no more scorch. Nice crisp crust, etc.

    I’m hoping for some guidance on how to tune this a little better. My inclination is to try cooking at a slightly lower temperature for a longer time. That way I might get more consistent doneness all the way through, and still maintain the crust. But I’m not sure.

    Any advice is appreciated. I’m willing to buy a clay baker if it will help with this issue as well.


    • Chris

      I just made this loaf, I had the exact same results as you. Deliscious for sure, but a little too moist in the center. I too am using a cast iron Dutch oven. I thought it was because I had to refrigerate the dough after the first rise. The next morning I took out the dough, stretched and folded, then did the second proof. Next time I’ll plan to stretch and fold upon waking. If you get this loaf to rise tall and dry and you did something different, please share your solution

    • Nice looking bread, Sam.

      You could try what you’re thinking about lowering the temp and increasing the time. I see you solved the scorched bottom problem. Another solution that a lot of people have had success with is placing a cookie sheet on a rack just below the Dutch oven. I guess it shields the heat enough to make a difference.

  28. Carol

    I just made this recipe. Everything was going splendid until the final rise. Dough was soo sticky couldn’t handle. What did I do wrong. Followed the recipe to a tee.

    • Hi Carol,

      You probably didn’t do anything wrong. Sometimes it just comes out too sticky to handle easily. Could be a change in humidity or maybe some slightly higher moisture content in the flour. I don’t know. Perhaps make a note to add an extra 1/4 cup each of white and rye flour next time. That should help a lot.

  29. Heinz Imhof

    Hi Eric,
    I don’t like to eat bread that is not fresh and crunchy. I now often divide my regular loaf in 4 parts and bake it as shown in the photo below. Then I wrap the buns individually in cellophane and freeze them. When ready to eat fresh bread, I take one out of the freezer and bake it at 250 degrees for 15 minutes. Yummy!

  30. Env

    About the starter used in this recipe, i have couple of starters, was wondering which to use here,
    all white or my half white and half rye, does it really matter?
    also how would i change the measurements is my starters are much more liquid than the one shown here,
    thanks again for this wonderful website

  31. Lawrence Cisek

    This is now one of my favorites. It is very close to a Polish Zytni Chleb that I make. The difference iye the that my recipe has the fennel and caraway proportions reversed, and there is much more molasses. I will keep this sourdough rey in my repetoire going forward. I have made it for some friends, including a non-rye loving one, and they all love it.

    • Very nice!

  32. Pauline

    How to store this bread? Can it be frozen?

    • The bread should freeze well.

      As for storing, I’m not aware of any special technique. One thing I do sometimes is cover the cut surface of the bread with foil to keep the crumb from drying out, then putting the whole loaf in a paper bag to keep the crust from softening. Nothing too extraordinary there but it seems to work for a day or maybe two, by which time we’ve eaten most of it.

      • Pauline

        Thanks a lot for this info and the bread recipe. I baked two loaves last week for the first time and was very successful. One thing – in my second bake I used 3 times more starter and less water than in your recipe hoping the bread will get more sour, but it’s still not too sour, but very tasty anyway. Next time I’ll keep my dough in a frig longer than 12 hours.

        • I know it would seem that using more starter might increase the sour, but using less works better. By using a small amount of starter, the long fermentation takes even longer, allowing more time for sour to develop. That in combination with more time in the fridge should help.

    • Peter

      I slice mine and freeze 2 or 3 slices together in cling wrap. Toasts very well.

  33. Brent

    Quick question Eric.
    Can one make the recipe successfully with a higher rye content?

    • Hi Brent. I’ve never tried it with this recipe. How much higher did you have in mind? At some point, it’s no longer this recipe. You can go 100% rye and you’ve got something along the lines of a pumpernickel recipe which could be great if that’s what you like.

      • Vicky

        I have just made this loaf with 70% rye and it worked beautifully.

  34. Heinz Imhof

    Thank you Eric – your videos are very helpful. I’m happy with the outcome of my first Rye bread according to this recipe. This bread is perfect for the Octoberfest time with bratwurst, sauerkraut & beer! Note: my dough was way too wet for spreading and folding, so I kneaded more flour into it + allowed additional fermentation before the final rest and baking.

    • Nice looking bread, Heinz, and good save on adding more flour. I agree with everything you say. As soon as the weather hinted at fall around here my mind started turning to this recipe again. Last year I was in Munich for Octoberfest and thinking fondly of it now.

  35. michelle

    Wow this looks so good! – I have a couple of questions
    1) I dont have a clay baking vessel but do have a baking stone (from Pampered Chef) – should the oven temp still be 475?
    2) will the bread flatten as it cooks or will it maintain its shape if using the baking stone?
    3) For this recipe can I substitute whole wheat pastry flour for the white ?
    Thanks for the helpful videos 🙂

    • Hi Michelle,

      You might want to go with around 425. 475 uncovered the whole time might be a bit much.

      It’s not a super wet dough like the typical no knead recipe so hopefully it won’t pancake out on you.

      You can certainly try using pastry flour in place of white. It’s bound to make the bread somewhat heavier and I don’t know how much, if any, you would want to adjust the amount of water. Every flour has its own moisture absorption properties, so you might have to fiddle with that some.

  36. Brent

    Wow! great recipe. This is my first ever bread (I’ve only used a breadmaker and I am even a novice to that.) it is a great tasting loaf. I only put in the caraway seed and left out the others due to lack of supply.

    I made a starter which smelt wonderfully sour within 3 days and was growing beautifully, it gave the bread a wonderful sour tang. The bread was a little flatter than I hoped, but the container was a little bigger than it should have been, next time I might just add 10% to the recipe to fill the container I have.

    I found the inside a little doughy still but I cooked in an open clay container in a small convection oven. I reckon a little bit of fiddling with time and temp should sort that out.


    • You still got a decent open crumb, Brent. Most anyone would be thrilled with your results, judging from your photo.

  37. Jack

    Starting at 7:34 in the 2nd part of the Rye Bread video, you have ‘ghosts’ floating out of your oven.

  38. Jeppe

    I’m very, very satisfied with this recipe! Next time I’ll be sure to omit the carraway, as it turned out that this actually was the spice a hostel I was staying at were poisoning their bread with. I don’t find the taste of carraway very unpleasant in itself; actually, I almost like the spiciness and the fresh mint like quality. But it makes me feel a bit uneasy, somehow.

    I couldn’t find molasses in my grocery store, but I found a nice looking tin can of Tate Lyle’s Golden Syrup. It worked out absolutely magnificent! The flavor was very mild, but still present and comforting.

    I made the dough in the morning, as I prefer dealing with a hot oven and shaping of bread in the evening, when I’m not tired and in a hurry. The evening before, I took my starter out of the fridge, and added flour and water. To my horror, I discovered that I barely had any white flour left, so I had to pour out quite a lot in order to get the right proportions. I left the starter on the counter to double overnight.

    The starter got a bit too runny, so I added more than in the recipe, about 120g. Then I added water until it added up to 470g. That seemed right to me. Further on, I followed the instructions precicely, using a scale. I was a bit uneasy about how many fennel seeds 8 grams actually is, but I carried on anyway. I was also thinking that the zest of one orange was a bit much, but told myself that the taste would calm down some while baking (which it did).

    In order to go to bed early enough, I had to interrupt the proofing after 8 hours, but the dough had already more than doubled, so I figured it was okay. The dough was very sticky, but there was no problem working with it on a floured surface.

    Somehow I just assumed that the final rise should last for two hours, and so it did. I don’t know what kind of a difference that might have made, but I’ll try letting it rise for 1 hour the next time.

    I haven’t gotten my hands on a Römertopf, so I had to use a large dutch oven. It’s way too large for a regular sized bread, so I just had to hope that the loaf would keep it’s shape, after hitting the bottom after being dropped from ten inches. And it did, in a way.

    I’m very surprised with how easy this recipe was to follow. I was expecting it to be a bit troubly at times, with such a sticky dough. But a cotton towel generously seasoned with rice flour worked really well!

    This was my second sour-dough loaf, and by far superiour to my first. A lot easier to make as well!

    Now I’ll just have to deal with bread being a dissapointment if it’s not made at home.

    Thank’s a lot for the recipe!

    • Thanks for your nice account, Jeppe. Your bread certainly looks good!

  39. Mary


    Two questions on this sourdough rye:

    1) My starter is doing OK, I think, but it is as yet untried. Should I wait until it has gone through a few weeks of feedings and successfully made lighter weight breads or is the rye no “heavier” a lift for it than any other bread?

    2) I have a brand new small Romertopf, #110, 10 X 7.5 inches. Is it large enough for this loaf and should I season it with oil and heat cycles before use in baking?


    • It doesn’t necessarily help to wait that long to use your starter. But if you’ve never baked with sourdough starter before, you might want to start with the basic no knead version with mostly white flour just to get the hang of it. If that works out, then this one aught to be fine too.

      I haven’t used the Romertopf 110 before. It might be fine, I don’t know. Again, maybe try it out with the basic no knead recipe. This rye recipe is about the same volume.

      I never oil mine. I just preheat it before putting the dough in which is sufficient (I find) to prevent sticking. Although when it’s new, sprinkling a little flour in just before you put in the dough can help.

  40. sheila caviness

    Eric, Finally got a good starter and made my first loaf of bread, the first and second rise were great after copoking it though it spread out in my baker I have the oblong one that is 3quart. It is about 2and a half in high. My dough was very wet and it has a great crust but I think it could be cooked a bit more, but than the crust would be to hard, do you think my second rise was’nt enough it did’nt quite double or should I double the recipe to fill the 3 quart?

    • Hi Sheila,

      It’s hard to say. But sounds like it might help if you did double to fill the baker.

  41. Jody

    I just wondered why you did not soak the romertoff as is usual practice.

    • Only because I prefer to preheat mine before putting the dough in. Any moisture from soaking would evaporate off during the preheating so wouldn’t do any good.

  42. amy

    Wow! After I slathered the slice with butter (not margarine) and took a bite, I was transported to my youth in Northern Germany. This bread is wonderfully flavored and aromatic. This will make excellent sandwich bread. My husband’s favorite is tuna salad on rye. I highly recommend this recipe. You would think the hardest part is waiting while you make your sourdough starter…no. Maybe you think the hardest part is taking two days to make one loaf of bread…no. The hardest part is waiting an hour for the loaf to cool down!

  43. Hi and thank you for your excellent website. I tried this rye bred, with some alterations, due to lack of stuff – it turned out to be very good, dangerously good, as my wife said:) It is easy to follow and must be pretty foolproof to make, as my dough turned out to be much wetter than expected – but it came out very well – any way. Today, I try it again, a little bit dryer dough – and I look forward tomorrow to bake it and taste it. – Best regards, from Iceland – Larus

    • Excellent! Good to hear, Lárus.

  44. tissot didier

    Hi, Excellent instructions for making a nice 50/50 rye loaf.
    Anyone interested in making a delicious 100% rye can look at Camilla Plum’s videos here:
    Under the heading Programmer you wll see 3 little video screens, pick the middle one and enjoy. Rugebrot is the Danish for Ryebread and you will find a recipe and instrcutions on the site which you can run through Google Translate. Watch and be amazed.
    Well done and thankyou for uch an amazing resource!

  45. Lyn Autry

    Want to try the Rye Sourdough Bread. Been working on starter all week. It is coming along nicely. My question is can I use my Le Creuset Dutch Oven to try this since I don’t have a La Cloche or Romertopf yet? Or should I simply cook on my pizza stone uncovered?

    • Hi Lyn,

      Either way is fine but I think you’d be happier with the results using your Dutch oven.

  46. Deonia Copeland

    Eric, just wanted to let you know the sourdough starter I got from you is perking away and makes the most delicious bread. Thank you so much for the great starter!!

  47. A little followup on the pancakes. I found, later in the day, that I omitted the melted butter. For those of you watching your calories, it still tasted great without the butter.

    Actually, I wouldn’t recommend these pancakes unless you REALLY have great portion control. I ate way too many!

  48. Deonia Copeland

    I also, would like to know about the slicing of the dough on top. Even when I use a brand new razor blade, the slice is not clean. Deonia

  49. Meher Pocha

    I found your excellent website via Google, while looking for a sourdough rye bread recipe. I followed the very clear and helpful videos and instructions. Brilliant starter! The dough rose beautifully to just over double volume. The eartheware crock system meant the bread didn’t stick. The bread looked good with a good texture and tastes very good, but despite checking the internal temperature (190+ degrees) and letting it cool completely before cutting it, the inside of the bread is sticky.
    I had forgotten to make cuts on top. Could this be the reason for this stickiness? the top crust cracked quite nicely, but perhaps not deep enough to allow the crumb to dry out properly?
    I would value some advice! Meher

  50. I made wonderful, fluffy, sourdough pancakes for breakfast this morning. I got the recipe from this website. It’s a great way to use starter that you are discarding. Thanks so much!

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