Whole-rye sourdough bread

Whole-rye sourdough bread

When you combine rye flour and sourdough, you can make a great homemade loaf of bread. Whole-rye sourdough bread is easier to digest thanks to the rye flour, which contains less gluten than wheat flour, and the sourdough that helps break down gluten.

Its beautiful brown color is a result of adding one spoon of molasses (black treacle) in the dough. When you add it, the bread is less acidic. You can substitute the molasses with honey. The color will not be so vibrant, but that’s not the most important thing here.

You will get small, but rich loaf. Store it wrapped in a kitchen cloth or linen bag until the last bread crumb is eaten. Learn how to raise your own sourdough, and read some useful tips and tricks for all sourdough-lovers.

Rye sourdough starter
The first step is to feed the sourdough.

Ingredients (1 small loaf)

Preparation: 30 minutes + 10 hours (leavening) + 1 hour (baking)

  • 600 g whole-rye flour + for feeding the sourdough
  • 260 ml water + for feeding the sourdough
  • 370 g rye sourdough
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp molasses/honey
  • bran — wheat, rye or spelt
  • 100 g seeds or nuts, roughly chopped — optional
  • 1 tbsp cumin/fennel seeds — optional
Preparing the dough
In a larger bowl combine the sourdough and half of the flour. Mix it well and let it rest for 20 minutes.


Take out the sourdough from the fridge. I store my sourdough in a 0.7 l glass jar. Fill half jar with water, stir well and add rye flour (about 3–4 tbsp, one at a time). Mix well. The consistency of the sourdough is little bit thicker than the crepes dough. Cover the cup with a cloth and let it work overnight.

In the morning, take out 2–3 tbsp of sourdough and put it into a clean glass jar. Store the glass jar with 2 tbsp of fresh sourdough in a fridge. It can survive there up to 7 days. You have to feed the sourdough with water and flour at least once a week.

Use the rest of the sourdough for the bread dough. In a larger bowl combine 300 grams of whole-rye flour and app. 370 g of fresh sourdough. If you are making your first sourdough bread, follow the recommended weights.

Mix well the flour with the sourdough. You will get a sticky dough. Let it rest for a while (10–20 minutes). After 20 minutes add water, salt, molasses, and another 300 g of whole-rye flour. Knead the dough well for few minutes. If you want to add nuts, seeds or spices, now is the right time. Add them and knead the dough until seeds are incorporated. Form the dough into a loaf.

Prepare a bread leavening basket or a form. If you are making a small loaf, the bigger sieve will work too. Put a clean kitchen cloth into the form or basket and sprinkle it with bran. Place the dough in a kitchen cloth, sprinkle the top with bran, cover the dough with a cloth and put in a warm place. Let the dough leaven for 10–12 hours.

After 12 hours, preheat the oven to the highest temperature (in my case it is 275 °C). If you have a cast iron or ceramic (dutch oven) form, use it. Put the form in the oven for at least 10 minutes to heat it. Baking pan needs just few minutes of preheating. Be careful and find out whether your baking pan can handle such heat.

Once the oven and baking form are preheated, quickly remove the form from the oven and work fast to lose as little heat as possible. Sprinkle some bran on the bottom of the form and place the dough on it. Make few cuts in a bread to prevent it from cracking during baking. Cover the ceramic oven and bake.

If you bake bread on a baking form — you can put the baking paper on it or sprinkle some bran directly on the baking form. Put the dough on baking form, make few cuts and put it in the oven. Pour a handful water on the bottom of the oven and close quickly. The steam that will form helps the bread to grow.

Bake for 10 minutes at 275 °C (or 250 °C). After 10 minutes, lower the temperature to 220 °C and bake for additional 30 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 200 °C and bake for 20 minutes or until the bread is baked. Tap the crust and if you hear hollow sound, the bread is baked.

Remove it from form, wrap it in a clean kitchen cloth or linen bag and let it cool down on the grid for at least 8 hours. Do not eat fresh sourdough bread! Bread and healthy bacteria are still active and need to work. Otherwise, you risk some gut troubles.

Bon appetite!

Dough formed in a loaf
Knead the dough, form the loaf and let it rest in a leavening basket.
Dough before baking
Once the dough has doubled in its size, preheat the oven and the baking form. Make some cuts in the bread before baking to prevent it from cracking.
Loaf of sourdough bread
Once the bread is bake, wrap it into clean kitchen cloth and let it cool down. You can eat the bread 8 hours after baking.

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