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Malted Rye Sourdough Bread

We just got back from Ukraine, where our families live. And wow, bread over there is absolutely amazing. Feeling inspired by all the varieties of rye bread, first thing I wanted to bake when we got back home was this delicious, full of flavor malted rye sourdough bread. It tastes so good!

I promise you’ll love it.

Rye sourdough starter

  • 10g ripe sourdough starter
  • 70g water
  • 70g rye flour


Main batch

  • 140g rye sourdough starter
  • Soaker
  • 100g rye flour 
  • 290g all purpose flour (or I like to substitute it with 145 whole wheat flour + 145g AP flour)
  • 220g water 
  • 9g salt 
  • 18g sugar 


Day 1


  • 10 pm add starter to the water and whisk together, add flour, mix well, cover loosely, let it sit at room temperature 74-78F until in about 8-10 hours starter reaches its peak (doubles or triples in volume). You can learn how to make starter from scratch here.


  • 10 pm add hot boiling water to the flour and malt and whisk together. You should get thick paste. If feel there is a need for more water, go for it.
  • Cover it with plastic and keep it for the night in the oven with light on. Perfect temperature 80-90F.

The reason for keeping soaker in the warm environment is to help accumulate simple sugars that have a positive effect on the moisture of the crumb, give the crust a rich color, and also reduce the rate of bread staling.

Day 2


  • 8 am mix rye sourdough starter with all the soaker. It might take some time, because the soaker might get harder overnight. Mix it until everything is well incorporated.
  • Cover, let it ferment at 74-80F for 3 hours until it becomes puffy and gets bigger.

Main Dough

  • 11 am dissolve sugar and salt in the water.
  • Add all the sponge and flour, start mixing on low speed for 2-3 minutes.
  • Increase the speed to medium and continue mixing until the dough comes up together. Make sure the dough doesn’t get overheated. Total mixing time is about 15 minutes.

Sometimes it depends on the temperature of the dough, it doesn’t want to come up together. Don’t worry. Oil your hands oil the bowl, try to round up the dough. 

  • Let it proof for 2-3 hours until doubles in volume.
  • Keep monitoring the surface of the dough, as soon as it starts to crack on top it means it’s time to shape.


  • 2 pm generously sprinkle counter top with flour.
  • Dump the dough on the counter.
  • Shape as desired. I prefer a round shaped loaf. Pull all edges to the center, flip it over, try to round the dough with your hands.
  • Transfer the shaped loaf into proofing basket.
  • Let it proof for 1 hour until it almost doubles in volume.
  • Meanwhile preheat your oven to 500 F, place a cast iron pan with the lid or a baking stone inside for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  • 3 pm flip the dough over on a parchment paper. Rye type of bread doesn’t require scoring.
  • Transfer the dough on to the hot cast iron pan, cover with the lid (to create steam for a beautiful and crusty crumb).
  • Bake at 480F for 10 minutes with the lid on.
  • Remove the lid, lower the temperature to 400F. 
  • Bake for 30 minutes more minutes until dark brown.
  • Brush hot loaf with water, to keep the crust soft.
  • Enjoy!
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Malted Rye Sourdough Bread
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33 thoughts on “Malted Rye Sourdough Bread

  1. Thanks again for the generous share of your recipe Natasha! I’ve not sourced “rye malt” before. Can you describe it and where you get yours from?
    Many thanks. Brad

    1. Brad!
      Check local breweries, usually they sell it.
      I’ve got mine from eBay. Or you can use malted barley too.

  2. Can i leave out the malt if not available

    1. If you leave the malt out then it really wouldn’t be a malted rye recipe.

      1. But it still will be a rye bread. And it will be delicious 😋

    2. Replace the amount of malt with rye floyr

  3. Making main batch now and I’m excited. First time making a rye bread. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe

    1. I’m very excited!
      Hope you will like it 🙏

  4. The New York Baker ( sells rye malt.

  5. When you get malt rye Grains do you grind them up in a coffee grinder or are they whole?

    1. Yes, you have to grind them very fine.

  6. I have been using a dark rye malt powder for my rye breads, but i found anything more than a slightly rounded teaspoon becomes overwhelming. I’ve learned the 1 tps gives it a rich dark color and an equal dark undertone taste that is wonderful. I just baked a new recipe using sprouted rye flour and forgot to add the malt powder. The bread is delicious but I know with a spoon full of malt it will be super. I don’t know if there are different strengths, but I did learn the hard way that too much is clearly too much.

    1. I have Ukrainian background, and from my childhood I remember very dark borodinskiy bread.
      It has lots of rye malt. And that’s why it is so familiar and I love it.
      But my family doesn’t. So I guess it’s all about taste preferences.

  7. Could you use a non-rye sourdough starter for this recipe? Mine is a plain white flour starter.
    Thank you!

    1. Night before just feed your plain flour starter with 1/2 rye and 1/2 plain and should work 🙏

  8. Could you substitute diastatic barley malt powder for the rye malt? Thank you.

    1. Yes, absolutely 🙏

  9. I’ve been following Putin’s war in Ukraine since it started. As I searched for a Ukrainian sourdough bread recipe to bake in honor of the country’s courageous population, I found your site and read that you have family in Ukraine. I hope they all are all safe.
    I baked your malted rye bread today and added a handful of sunflower seeds to the dough. I couldn’t wait for the bread to cool completely—it smelled wonderful—so I sliced it . The flavor is amazing! Thank you for posting the recipe. I’ll be baking it often and will continue to pray for your country.

    1. You said what I’ve been thinking. I, too, found this site while searching for Ukrainian sourdough breads to bake in honor of the people of Ukraine. I haven’t yet baked the malted rye bread but am encouraged to do so now thanks to your comment. And your inclusion of the sunflower seeds was inspired! I will do that too. Thanks.

    2. Jacque, thank you so much for your support!
      And for your feedback!
      I am so glad you liked the bread. It’s one of my favorite🙏

  10. Do you know where you can buy some starter, or is it something you have to make?

    1. Hi!
      You can find the whole method on my website. Here is the link

  11. I always buy rye malt from a trusted seller, I highly recommend

    1. Thank you 🙏

  12. Such an amazing recipe. I added caraway seeds and the bread was divine. Reminds me of the dark brown bread I used to eat in Russia when I was small.

    1. Thank you for your feedback. It is delicious bread 🙏

  13. Hello, Natalya! Thank you for this recipe. I’m in the process of making it now, and wonder if I’ve made a mistake. Your photos and text indicate a relatively stiff, low hydration dough, but the numbers add up to a very high hydration, and I’ve got a very wet dough.

    I see 590g of flour (70 g rye in the starter, 90 g rye & 40 g malted rye in the soaker, 100 g rye & 290 g rye in the main dough), and 490 g of water (70 g in the starter, 200 g in the soaker, 220 g in the main dough), which gives a hydration of 83%. Is that correct, or have I done something wrong?

  14. Добрий день!чи можна з Левіто мадре спекти цей хлібчик?

    1. Конечно можно. Будет вкусно 😋

  15. Hello everyone, I bought dark roasted rye malt – delivery took 4 days in the USA, the bread came out amazing, I highly recommend .

    1. Thank you 🙏

  16. I bought that one as well. The website Beets and Bones has a recipe for making the rye malt which involves a multi-day process and a month in the cupboard afterwards. It comes out much more flavorful than what you can buy—but you probably have to be a food science nerd like me to put up with the process 🙂

  17. I’d like to try out this recipe. But I like to bake my breads in the morning, so that I have fresh bread for breakfast, so I usually retard my breads in the refrigerator overnight. Do you think I could do this with this bread? Say, cut room temperature proofing to maybe 15-20 minutes and then stick it into the refrigerator for 6-10 hours? What do you think, is it worth a try?

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