Polish Sourdough Rye Bread (Chleb Na Zakwas Żytni) Recipe

Polish Sourdough Rye Bread
Polish Sourdough Rye Bread. © 2008 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • 60 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 2 loaves bread (20 servings)
Ratings (16)

The sourdough starter in this Polish rye bread recipe (loosely translated as chleb na zakwas żytni) gives it a delightful tang, but it takes two days to ripen, so plan accordingly. See the starter shortcut below.

Many people are familiar with white sourdough breads but don't realize some deli ryes are made with a sourdough, too.

Rye breads and wheat breads must be lightened with white flour otherwise, they would be too dense. Brushing with egg white before baking gives this bread a nice shine.

If you have leftovers, put them to good use in these leftover rye bread recipes.

Shortcut: Instead of making a starter, substitute 1 1/2 cups buttermilk and reduce the water in the recipe from 2 1/2 cups to 3/4 cup.


What You'll Need

  • For the Sourdough Starter:
  • 4 tablespoons flour (medium rye)
  • 3 tablespoons milk (warm)
  • For the Bread:
  • 4 cups flour (medium rye)
  • 4 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 package/2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (instant)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 2 1/2 cups water (warm)
  • 1 large egg white (room temperature, beaten)
  • 1 tablespoon caraway (seeds)

How to Make It

Make the Starter

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the 4 tablespoons rye flour and milk.
  2. Cover with plastic and set in a warm place to ripen for two days or until it smells pleasantly sour.

Make the Dough

  1. In a large bowl, combine 4 cups rye flour and all-purpose flour, salt, yeast, butter, water, and starter. Knead 7 minutes by machine or 10 minutes by hand.
  2. Place in a clean, greased bowl, cover with plastic and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  1. Punch down dough, knead 1 minute and divide in half.

Shape and Bake

  1. Heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Shape each dough half into a round on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover with oiled plastic and let rise 30 minutes or until almost doubled.
  3. Brush risen rounds with egg white and sprinkle with caraway seeds. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until instant-read thermometer registers 190 to 195 F and bread sounds hollow when tapped.
  4. Slide breads off baking pans and cool completely on a wire rack.on a wire rack.

Rye Bread Perfect with These Recipes

  • Dried Mushroom Soup Recipe: This hearty mushroom soup is made with the prize of Polish forests -- the borowiki mushroom in its dried form and reconstituted.
  • Dill Pickle Soup RecipeDespite its strange-sounding name, dill pickle soup is a traditional offering. This recipe is authentic and comes from the village of Gwizdały in Poland.
  • Oxtail-Barley Soup RecipeOriginally made with tails from oxen, modern versions feature beef tails and is a delicious example of nose-to-tail eating so common in farming communities.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 80
Total Fat 3 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Unsaturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 3 mg
Sodium 583 mg
Carbohydrates 10 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Protein 3 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)