Easy Lithuanian Dark Rye Bread (Rugine Duona)

Rye bread

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Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Rising Time: 12 hrs
Total: 13 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 36 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
92 Calories
2g Fat
17g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 36
Amount per serving
Calories 92
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 49mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 25mg 2%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 154mg 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.)

This easy recipe for Lithuanian dark rye bread (rugine duona) makes a dense, moist loaf that is 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.

This hearty, earthy, rich-looking bread can be eaten at any time of day. Enjoy toasted with butter or cream cheese or use to make a tuna salad sandwich.


  • 2 cups milk

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 package active dry yeast

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water

  • 4 cups dark rye flour, divided

  • 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

  • 2 tablespoons caraway seeds, optional

  • 1 large egg white, beaten

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add milk to a heavy-bottomed saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook until milk begins to steam and bubbles form around edges, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Check with a thermometer often; milk should reach a scalding temperature of 180 F.

  3. Remove from heat and cool scalded milk to 110 F. (This is done to denature proteins in the milk that can inhibit gluten formation and keep dough from rising.)

  4. In a large bowl or stand mixer, add butter, sugar, and salt. Pour over scalded milk and stir until cool.

  5. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Add yeast mixture and 3 cups of rye flour to milk mixture. Beat thoroughly, then beat in remaining rye flour and caraway seeds, if using.

  6. Cover and put dough in a warm place (70 to 75 F) and let 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.

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

  8. Preheat oven to 450 F. Line 2 bread pans with parchment paper.

  9. Divide dough in half and shape into 2 round or oblong loaves and place into pans. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (1 to 4 hours). Brush tops of loaves with beaten egg white.

  10. Bake both loaves for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake an additional 35 to 45 minutes longer or until an instant-read thermometer registers 190 F when placed into center of loaves.

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

How to Store

You can store your rye bread at room temperature, covered, for a week. Check it for mold and discard it once you see any. You can also freeze your loaves for up to 3 months.

If you don't think you can use up the bread quick enough, turn it into rye croutons, which are delicious on salads and soups.


You can use low-fat milk in this recipe, just make sure not to overmix. Because there is less fat, the dough can become tough.