Spiced Sourdough Rye Bread

spiced sourdough ryeTo many people, rye bread IS sourdough bread. That is because rye flour naturally contains a large amount of sour flavoring bacteria. The rye bread found on grocery store shelves though usually includes little to no actual rye flour. So if this recipe is your first introduction to real rye bread, get ready for a treat!

My whole family loves rye bread, and soon yours will too. When I was a kid Saturday meant ham sandwiches with good rye bread (a splurge from the everyday whole wheat), sliced Swiss cheese and Raye’s mustard (still the best mustard around). This recipe brings back those days, and even though I no longer eat meat, homemade rye bread with Swiss cheese and Raye’s mustard is still a nutritiously delicious lunch.

To prepare the sourdough starter, I used 2 cups of rye flour for day 7, but you will still get a great loaf of nice sour rye if you use a regular all-purpose starter. (See how to make your own sourdough starter here.)

Toast 1 tsp each of anise seeds, fennel seeds, and caraway seeds in a non-stick pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until fragrant.

Coarsely grind the toasted seed using a mortar and pestle or a food processor and set aside.

Combine 2 cups of sourdough starter with 1 ½ cups of water in a large bowl or the stand mixer bowl. Add 2 ¼ cups rye flour (dark rye or light rye), 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp poppy seeds and the ground seeds to the bowl.

Stir to combine. Knead for about 5 minutes if using a stand mixer or 8-10 minutes if kneading by hand.

If kneading by hand you may need to add a small amount of flour to keep the dough from sticking. Add as little as possible as I like to keep this dough soft.

Form the dough into a ball, place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise 2-4 hours.

Gently deflate the dough. This dough doesn’t rise as much as a dough made with 100% all-purpose flour, so don’t worry if it seems flatter than you want. Form into one large loaf, place in greased pan, cover and let rise another 1 – 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, cut one long slit down the length of the loaf, and bake for 40 – 60 minutes or until bread reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees. Remove from pans and let sit at least 15 minutes before slicing.


Note: This recipe was originally published on my other blog, where you can find additional recipe photos. Hestia’s Kitchen.

by Renee Pottle

Renee Pottle, a freelance writer and Home Economist, is fanatic about all things food. She blogs about canning and food preservation at SeedToPantry.com. Find her professional food writing info at PenandProvisions.com.

January 7, 2014

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  1. Debbie Robson

    Hi, I made a starter using oat flour instead of white flour. So now have a lot of starter ready and would like to make this rye bread. Instead of using 3 cups all purpose flour could I substitite Oat flour instead? I’m trying to get less gluten in my loaves. I’m having a hard time finding recipes that don’t use white flour.

    • admin

      Debbie, you could use whole wheat flour instead, or spelt flour. Either would result in a pretty heavy loaf, but you could try. Oat flour doesn’t have gluten. Gluten provides the structure for the bread. It’s like the framework of a house. Rye flour provides some gluten, but not a lot. I used all-purpose flour in this recipe to support the rye flour, and to make the bread less dense. I fear a loaf made from just rye flour and oat flour would be very heavy and flat.

      That being said, there are people who make gluten-free sourdough breads. I personally can’t eat gums, so gluten-free bread is off the table for me. Thus I have never tried gluten free sourdough. A quick google search brings up lots of experts though! Good luck.


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