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)
62 Calories
2g Fat
10g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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 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 salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup water (lukewarm)
  • 4 cups dark rye flour (divided)
  • 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. Add the milk to a heavy-bottomed saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook until the milk begins to steam and bubbles form around the edges, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Check with a thermometer often; you're looking for the milk to reach a scalding temperature of 180 F.

  3. 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.)

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

  5. In a small bowl, 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.

  6. Cover and put 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.

  7. Add the 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 the oven to 450 F. Line 2 bread pans with parchment paper.

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

  10. Bake both 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 when placed into the center of the loaves.

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

  12. Slice the loaves and enjoy.

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.