100 % Rye Sourdough Bread with Whole Grains

I love this bread. It is dense and chewy, mild and slightly sweet. Caraway and pumpkin seeds give a little extra favour. This bread is made with sourdough starter, because that’s the way a rye bread should be leavened.

Nutritious bread

I chose a relatively low amount of sourdough starter for a mild bread. I also added some sugar beet syrup for sweetness.

This bread takes some time to make, you have to prepare your starter and let it develop before you can start baking the bread. But believe my, the bread is worth the wait. Sourdough adds flavour and a bread leavened with sourdough keeps fresh longer than a yeast bread. Sourdough breads don’t get moldy as easily as yeast breads, too. And they are healthier (made with whole grains).

Rye is a wonderful grain, it has more minerals and fibre than wheat and a unique flavour. If you think that rye flour is a pain to work with because it sticks to your hands like crazy, here are two good tips: Use wet hands all the time and make the dough from partly flour and partly whole grains. The water will make kneading and forming easier, the grains change the structure of the dough and make it less sticky. I made a soaker from boiling water and rye chops. A soaker is always a great addition to a bread. Soaked grains and seeds trap additional moisture and keep the bread fresh.

100% Rye Sourdough Bread with Whole Grains (makes one loaf)

For the starter (approx 12-16 hours prior to baking):
40 g sourdough starter, preferably from rye
180 g rye flour*
200 g water
Mix together in a bowl, cover and let sit in a warm place. After 12-16 hours it should have risen and have a light, airy structure.
* I used German rye flour Type 1150. It resembles medium to dark rye flour. I suugest to use a mix of medium and dark rye, the darker the better.

For the soaker:
200 g rye chops (coarsly chopped rye grains, or cracked rye)
250 g boiling water
Combine rye and water and let sit for one hour. The water should be absorbed and the grains should be soft.

For the bread:
Active sourdough starter (see above)
soaker (see above)
200 g rye flour (see note above)
50 g pumpkin seeds
50 ml water
20 g sugar beet syrup or molasses
10 g salt
1/2 t caraway seeds

In a large bowl, combine starter, soaker, and remaining ingredients. Knead until everything is well combined. Rye flour is low in gluten so there is no need to knead for 10 minutes. 3-5 minutes are sufficient. Don’t forget to wet your hands all the time. It really makes a difference. Oh, and knead in your bowl. Don’t bother with a working surface.

Grease a loaf pan and dust with flour (or use parchment paper). Transfer the dough to the pan and level it. Let the dough rise for two hours in a warm place. A 100 % rye bread will never rise as much as a yeasted wheat bread and since sourdough is the only leavening here, it’ll take a bit longer. The dough won’t have doubled after two hours, but you should see a rise of about 2/3.

meanwhile, preheat the oven to 250°C [480°F]. bake the bread at this temperature for 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to 200°C [400°F] and bake for 35-40 more minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely.

Let the dough rest another day before slicing it.

This bread was submitted to YeastSpotting.

45 thoughts on “100 % Rye Sourdough Bread with Whole Grains

  1. Fantastic bread. I make two loaves every few weeks. My small children and my husband love it. Every time I have made it, it has turned out well. One time, I ran out of the rye meal and used steel cut oats again, and it still worked. Thanks for the healthy, tasty recipe.

  2. Tried your recipe, bread was great, but I think outer crust cooked a bit too soon, I am planning to decrease oven temperature, which may require longer cooking, is there a recommended internal temperature?

  3. This is the best recipe I have found thankyou. Have tried a couple of other recipes that were mini disasters. I love that there is no whte flour in the recipe and is a great way to get pumpkin seeds in our diet. Merci

  4. The way you describe it in your first sentences, it sounds like it has the right texture. It’s a bread made only from rye with extra grains. They are dense, especially compared to wheat bread. 2/3 rise is only an estimation and it might have been less in my case, too. As long as it’s not rubbery you should be fine.

    1. So, I made it again, but this time I put the final proof on top of my crockpot while I was cooking some yams, and it rose over 2/3. I guess it just wasn’t warm enough in my kitchen. Thanks.

  5. I’ve made this recipe twice now. I absolutely love the flavor and moisture of the bread. It’s nice and sour and chewy and the crust has been crunchy but not too thick. I have had one problem and that your recipe says it should rise in the final proof by about 2/3, but I never get more than 1/3, and as such the bread is very dense. Do you have any suggestions?

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! Can you tell me how the ingredients should be adjusted (more flour/less water/etc.) if the pumpkin seeds are omitted? I tried it without changing the water/flour and doubling the caraway seeds. It was good, but VERY wet dough with little rise and pretty dense bread.

    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Angie, thank you for trying the recipe and your feedback! If the dough is too wet that doesn’t necessarily mean that the bread won’t rise much and leaving out the seeds shouldn’t make such a big difference in most cases. Sometimes if could be the flour or the starter, too. My suggestion would be to start with 100 to 50 ml less water and add more if you need it.

  7. I love baking sourdough bread and experimenting with new grains and seeds I can add in there. Don’t forget to save a bit of the dough at the end of your kneading for baking next time! And- in your opinion, can sourdough starter go bad?
    Thanks for sharing- Germany has a great bread culture!

    1. Yes, it can definitely go bad. It depends ont the strength of the starter and other things, but I try to refresh it at least every two weeks.

  8. Hi, the bread looks amazing. I am planning to make it for the weekend..finger crossed i will get a same looking/tasty bread. I am quite new with this sourdough part, when you say 40 g sourdough starter, is it the starter right out from the fridge? or the starter has just been feeded and become active?

    Many thanks,
    Verina

    1. Hi Verina,

      It is the starter right out of the fridge. You feed it with 180 g rye flour and 200 g water. 12-16 hours later you have an active starter.

      1. Dammit, I couldnt wait last night so I feed it with 1:1:1 ratio already with spelt flour. I will feed it again with 180 g rye flour and 200 g water, but do I need to put the starter in the fridge first to knock them out? Sorry I keep asking nub questions.. :D

        1. You can use the fed starter you already have now. For the final bread dough, you need 420 g active starter. If your spelt starter has less weight, feed it with equal amounts of flour and water so your yield is 420 g.

          1. Million thanks for the tips ^_^. Will start putting everything together now, not sure if I can wait till tomorrow :D !!

          2. It’s important to bake the bread as soon as the starter is ready. It should have doubled in size and the batter/dough should be very bubbly. If you wait too long, your bread might not rise well or it might turn out very sour. So baking it now sounds like a good idea. :)

          3. first bread I reckon tastes better without any jam and “additive”..its soo flavourful..thanks for sharing this recipe and answering my nub questions soo promptly. :D

  9. What a beautiful rye bread. I haven’t used rye chops yet. I’ll have to get some! I love how the pumpkin seeds look in the slices.

  10. Making sourdough starter is kind of a bother, but always so worth it. This rye bread looks perfect! I bet the caraway and pumpkin seeds taste great.

  11. Your breads are always so wonderful, and your posts always so detailed that it’s impossible to make mistakes. Happy to read you’ve started the twin blog in German, I’ll definitely read it… um mein Deutsch zu üben ;-)

  12. Here in Belgium all the Germans I know are always lamenting the lack of good German bread. Will have to make this to shut them up!

    1. Where I am, the bread is not as good as it used to be. We have a very broad variety here, that’s true. But these days so many bakers make their bread with chemical additives or even brom whole baking mixes. Often I am dissapointed with bread I buy. Maybe you should tell them that ;) Whenever I am in another country, I like to try the local bread and so far have always liked it.

  13. Every time I see one of your beautiful loaves of bread I am inspired to take up bread baking. I love all the different varieties you make too, and I’m glad to see you having so much success with whole grain breads as I have always thought them to be very persnickity.
    -K

  14. Yum! This looks so good, I can’t stand it! How do you “refresh” the starter–am not familiar with a sourdough starter. So after it has had its 12-16 hours at room temp., is there another step prior to mixing it with the soaker and remaining bread ingredients? I love the grains–especially the pumpkin seeds!

    1. Ha, sorry. I am not able to express myself properly. There is no additional step. With “refreshed starter” I mean the starter after 12-16 hours.

  15. i have been craving rye bread for like, i dunno, 6 months now. i really want a reuben, but i never seem to have all the ingredients, and i never have rye bread.

    after i make mock corned beef for st. patty’s day, i’m going to make this recipe to make reubens for sure!

  16. Wow. So gorgeous. We adore rye breads in my family (our Czech heritage, I guess!) and this looks amazing. I’ll share this one with my Mom (although she hasn’t had time to bake bread lately and I think she let her starter die!) and encourage her to bake it!! Thanks! As always, your breads are simply beautiful!

  17. Looks really nice, I love rye bread.

    Have you ever made rye bread with a gelatinised rye mix? You basically pour boiling, or near boiling, water over rye flour, mix, let it cool and add to the dough with the pre-ferment. My understanding is that it helps to give the dough some elasticity and make up for the lack of gluten.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *