Easy Lithuanian Dark Rye Bread (Rugine Duona)

Rye bread

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Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Rising Time: 8 hrs
Total: 9 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 36 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
62 Calories
2g Fat
10g Carbs
3g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 36
Amount per serving
Calories 62
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 57mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 3g
Calcium 27mg 2%
*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.)

This easy recipe for Lithuanian dark rye bread (rugine duona) makes a dense, moist loaf lightened with whole-wheat flour. While many recipes for this bread begin by making a sourdough starter (raugas), this recipe uses a package of active dry yeast instead, trimming two to three days off of the process.


  • 2 cups milk (scalded)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water (lukewarm)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 4 cups dark rye flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 1 large egg white (beaten)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, pour in cold milk. Stir it frequently with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until the milk reaches scalding temperature (180 F). Remove from the heat and cool the scalded milk to 110 F. This is done to denature proteins in the milk that can inhibit gluten formation and keep the dough from rising.

  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, pour the scalded milk over butter, sugar, and salt. Stir until cool.

  4. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water. Add the yeast mixture and 3 cups of the rye flour to the milk mixture. Beat thoroughly, then beat in the remaining rye flour and caraway seeds, if using. Cover place the dough in a warm place (70 to 75 F) and let the dough rise until doubled. This can take quite a long time because you are using only rye flour. Plan for a few hours and know that it can take as long as 12 hours.

  5. Add the whole-wheat flour and knead until smooth. It helps to wet your hands as this is a dense and sticky dough. You won't develop the springy consistency you get with wheat doughs, so don't keep adding flour hoping to achieve that texture.

  6. Divide the dough in half and shape into two round or oblong loaves.

  7. Place the loaves on parchment-lined pans. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (1-4 hours, but again this will vary). Brush with beaten egg white.

  8. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Bake the loaves for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 F and bake an additional 35 to 45 minutes longer or until an instant-read thermometer registers 190 F.

  9. Turn the loaves out of the pans onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  10. Slice the loaves and enjoy!


You can store your rye bread at room temperature, covered, for a week. Check it for mold and discard it once you see any. But if you fear it's going to go too long, use it for making rye croutons, which are delicious on salads and soups.

You can also freeze your loaves for up to three months.


To make a lighter loaf, as in this easy Russian rye bread recipe, two packages of yeast can be used and the whole-wheat flour can be substituted with white whole-wheat flour or all-purpose flour.