Posted on 41 Comments

Sourdough Rye Bread


Here is another delicious and super healthy bread from my childhood. Rye bread is very delicate and has everything perfectly balanced: it is moderate in salt, a bit sweet, sour, a bit dark, dense and soft at the same time, with a bright and clearly expressed aroma and taste.

Not only rye bread tastes great it can also help you control or lose weight. A research, published in Nutrition Journal, concluded that rye bread can be used to decrease hunger feelings both before and after lunch when included in a breakfast meal.

Are you ready to bake your most flavorful and delicious rye bread?

Here is a list of what you need:

Rye sourdough starter

• 10g ripe sourdough starter

• 70g water

• 70g rye flour


 • 130g rye flour 

 • 160-200g hot boiling water

Main batch

140g rye sourdough starter


• 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 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 2-3 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 500F for 10 minutes with the lid on.
  • Remove the lid, lower the temperature to 430F. 
  • Bake for 35 minutes more minutes until dark brown.


41 thoughts on “Sourdough Rye Bread

  1. So mouthwatering! Can’t wait for black Borodino kind bread Recipe in your journal

    1. Thank you for your feedback 🙏

  2. I love all of your bread especially rye bread, I’ll try this one soon. Thanks to share it with us.

    1. Shery, thank you so much for your feedback 🙏

  3. Hello!

    I have a question for you. You mention in the recipe that it is time to preshape when the surface of the dough starts to crack. In the later steps you shape the bread directly from the proofing point. Do I need to preshape the loaf or can I just shape it directly as described in this recipe?

    Regards from Sweden!

    1. Madeleine, great point!
      It was my mistake.
      As soon as it doubles, start to shape it.
      Good luck 🙏

  4. I made this today and it was delicious! One question: my loaf ended up being more spread out compared to the example in your post. Any tips to help it keep its volume? I used white bread flour for the non rye main batch – 9.6% protein.

    1. Conrad, hi!
      2 options here: 1) you didn’t mix dough long enough, even though it’s a rye flour, dough should be able to come together during mixing.
      2) dough gets overproofed during warm fermentation. Try to bake it little earlier next time and it will keep the shape better.

  5. hello from the other side of the world!! I’ve been following your sourdough Instagram tutorials and thanks to u, I finally had a decent non-sticky dough/loaf! so when my starter died, I did a new one with ur Rye starter recipe (love that discard is minimal – I whipped it all up in two batches after the starter got going). just tried this Rye Sourdough recipe ytd – Dough was wet&sticky for shaping (floured generously) BUT I still got a few loaves from it and the flavours are amaaaazing. Would appreciate any tips on why mine isn’t holding its shape (followed time U indicated, but I’m in warm tropics), thanks so much for helping me enjoy my favourite breads at home ❤️

    1. Shu, hi!
      Thank you. Sticky dough for rye bread is normal, but if you are talking about it not holding its shape during baking, most likely it gets overproofed.
      Try to proof it little less.

  6. If you bake this on the oven stone do you just put a Dutch oven over it upside down for the first part of the bake?

    1. I put tray with hot water under, for first 10 min to create steam, then I remove the tray and continue baking.

  7. Hi,
    I’m in the process of making the bread and have a question –

    Do we need to add 140g starter to the main batch on top of the one that was already mixed to make the sponge? We don’t, right?
    We just add the sponge to the flours, etc?

    1. You have to add starter to the sponge, let ferment, then add sponge to the main batch 🙏

  8. I made this bread and it turned out amazing and very soft. Baking it again tomorrow.

    1. Thank you! That’s my family’s favorite 🙏

  9. Dear Natasha. Thank you so much for such a great recipe and detailed instructions. It turned out great. My family loves it. The only issue I had – it cracked during baking. It does not look as pretty as yours but taste is wonderfully. Спасибо большое пребольшое.

    1. Karina, thank you for your feedback. Try to proof it less after shaping , before any cracks or holes appeared on surface.
      Спасибо 🙏

  10. We love this bread. I’ve been wondering if the sugar is necessary, wanted to make it without but afraid to try it myself…

    1. Hi!
      Sure, you can skip the sugar.

  11. natasha dear- can we proof this overnight? if yes, how to modify the fermentation thankyou!

    1. Hi!
      Off course you can proof them overnight.
      Let the dough proof for 3-4 hours, then transfer it to the fridge until around 10pm, then shape them and let them proof until morning.
      They should be double or more in the morning, then bake.

  12. 1. Can you make this bread with any type of starter (90/10 bread/rye starter?
    2. On your reply to Cynthia on 9-25, after final shaping, you proof dough until morning to 2x. Is that at room temperature or back in the fridge?

    1. I prefer to bake this bread same day.
      But if emergency happens then you can let it proof overnight in the fridge.
      And for starter in this specific recipe I’m using rye flour, to lower amount of bread flour in the recipe.

  13. Is there a specific brand of rye flour you prefer? Do you ever add caraway seeds to your dough?

    1. I’m using rye flour from bob’s red mill.
      And sure, you can add caraway seeds!
      It will bring do much flavor to your loaf.

  14. Hi, I just baked this bread today following your recipe. But my loaf came out flat… what could have I done wrong? I live in the tropics so my temp is between 29-31C… I tried to control the temp by putting the dough in an ice box with average temp of 25C. I followed the timing. Could it be the flours that I used?

    1. Cathy, hi!
      Usually this loaf is coming out kind of flat, because of the amount of rye flour. And when proofing rye bread it loves hot temperature (30C)
      So it is totally fine to proof it in your climate 🙏

  15. Do u let it rise uncovered for final proof in banneton after shaping? Afraid it will stick to the plastic when it rises but also concerned with get dry crust if left to rise uncovered.

    1. Hi, I prefer to cover it with plastic bag to prevent drying.

  16. I don’t have a dough mixer. If I were to use hand to mix the doubled sponge dough with main dough ingredients. How long will I have to keep kneading it? I’m in warm tropical climate (30-33’C)

    1. Hi!
      For final dough It should take about 20 -30 min with stops

      1. I just kneeded the dough for nearly 45 minutes at a room temperature of 19 degrees, and it was still between image 1 and 2 of how it should look. Forming some ball, and getting of the sides of the bowl and off my hands, but not all together a real ball. @ Natalya, wouldn’t you say it is necessary to have a kitchen machine to do the kneeding?

  17. Hi Natalya, this recipe looks amazing! Without a dough mixer, would it make sense to give a few folds to the dough during bulk or would that impair the rise?

    1. Hi!
      Just be ready to get messy, but it is fine to do folds instead of mixing.

  18. Great recipe! Bread is really nice. But dough doesn’t form a ball after mixing, it stays very sticky. Room temperature 15-16 degrees Celsius. Can I do something to improve this? Or is it OK if stays really sticky?

    1. For bread made with rye flour is normal to stay sticky.
      Thank you for your feedback.

  19. do you have a 100% rye soudough recipe?

  20. Hi I would like to try this recipe but what would be the baking process if I wanted to use a loaf pan? Do I still need a baking stone? Would a cast iron pan work?(i don’t have a baking stone) do I need to place the loaf pan on it? Thanks

  21. Made this today, followed the recipe to the T and it turned out perfect, So good!

  22. Hi Natasha,
    My SIL family prefers rye SD. To me inthink it’s acquired taste. I used 60% rye flour 80% hydration, but as rye gas no gluten, how could I get a nicer airer crumb?

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