How to Make a Rye Sourdough Loaf

Rye Sourdough Bread Recipe
Rye Sourdough Bread Recipe Photo © Elaine Lemm
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Proving Time: 14 hrs
Total: 15 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
212 Calories
1g Fat
44g Carbs
7g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 212
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 365mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 14mg 1%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 141mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sourdough is such a popular bread now, probably because it is an easier bread to digest and reputed to be healthier for us. Most sourdough is made with white flour, but this recipe includes a mixture of rye and white flour.

Using rye flour creates a denser texture than plain, though using all rye may be too strong for most pallets; a mixture of white flour and rye flour will give a more pleasant bread in both taste and texture.

Like all sourdough's, you will need a sourdough starter, which takes a little time and some patience. Believe me, it is worth the effort for the dense, slightly, chewy bread with its pleasant "sour" taste. See the notes below.

The popular trend for making (and eating) sourdough bread is not looking likely to wane any time soon, thanks to celebrity bakers like Paul Hollywood.

Before you begin make sure you have your starter ready and vigorous. This may require feeding for a few days if it has been dormant.


  • 8 ounces bread flour

  • 8 ounces rye flour

  • 1/3 ounce kosher salt

  • 10 ounces sourdough starter

  • 1 cup warm water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. 

  2. Place both flours into a large baking bowl along with salt and mix. Make a large well in center and add starter dough. Using a fork, draw flour into center and mix lightly. Then, mix starter and flour and water a little at a time together to create a sticky dough.

  3. Either knead bread in a mixer with a dough hook or tip dough onto a lightly floured worktop and knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough. If dough is dry, add more water, if it's too wet, you will need to sprinkle with a little flour. Knead about about 10 minutes in the machine or 12 to 15 minutes by hand.

  4. Once dough is ready, lightly oil a mixing bowl with a little olive oil. Tip dough into bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put bowl in a cool (not cold!) and draft-free place. Let sit for up to 6 hours or until dough has doubled in size. If you want, let sit overnight.

  5. Tip dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock out air from bread. Lightly knead dough for a few minutes, then roll dough into a ball, dust lightly with flour, and place into either a floured banneton or a mixing bowl lined with a floured tea towel. Cover bowl or banneton with plastic and place in a cool place and leave to rise slowly for 8 hours.

  6. Preheat oven to 425 F. Place an ovenproof bowl half-filled with boiling water on the lowest shelf of oven. The steam given off helps to create a lovely crust for your loaf.

  7. Line a baking sheet with lightly oiled greaseproof paper. Tip loaf from banneton or bowl onto sheet (do not worry if you lose a little air from the loaf as you do this, it will come back in the oven). Place tray and loaf in middle of oven. Cook for 30 minutes, then lower temperature to 400 F and cook for a further 20 minutes or until loaf is golden brown. The crust should be crisp and bread should sound hollow when tapped on.

  8. Place loaf on a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before eating.

  9. The sourdough will keep for up to a week. Do not place it in any plastic as this will soften the crust. Instead, pop loaf into a paper bag or a bread bin.

The Sourdough Starter

If you have a starter ready and working then, use it in this recipe as directed. No starter? Don't worry. Two days before you want to make your bread, place 4 tablespoons rye flour and 3 tablespoons warm milk into a jug or a glass jar. Mix and leave uncovered for 48 hours in a warm (but not hot) place, stirring once or twice along the way. After this time, it should be bubbling nicely and is ready to use.

Why Sourdough Bread Is Better for You

Sourdough is believed to be healthier for us as well as easier to digest. The natural ferment used for the bread (the starter) also creates an acidic environment in the loaf which bacteria do not like. So, sourdough lasts much longer than commercial bread, and even when a week old still makes great toast.