Easy Russian/Latvian Rye Bread (Rizhsky Khleb)

Bread of rye with nuts and you happen
Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Getty Images
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Rising time: 2 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Yield: 2 loaves
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
100 Calories
2g Fat
19g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 100
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 189mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 9mg 1%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 52mg 1%
*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 recipe was adapted from Please to the Table (Workman Publishing Co., Inc., 1990) by Anya von Bremzen. Prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Latvia was a Russian republic and this Latvian rye bread recipe fell under the umbrella of Russian cuisine.

It's easy to see why some people dispute this recipe as being truly Russian, and why Latvians bristle at the thought of it being anything other than Latvian. In any case, it's an easy rye bread recipe that requires no starter and no eggs and, even though this is made with pumpernickel dark rye meal (like Bob's Red Mill brand), it turns out to be a light-colored loaf that is ideal to accompany soups and stews or for sandwiches, toast, and even croutons for soup. And don't throw away stale rye—you can turn it into other delicious dishes.


  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm  water, 105 F to 115 F

  • 2 tablespoons dark honey

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast

  • 1 1/2 cups pumpernickel dark rye meal

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons caraway seeds

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

Steps to Make It

Make the Sponge

  1. Pour the water into a mixing bowl and add 1 teaspoon of the honey.

  2. Stir in the yeast and rye meal. Set aside in a warm place for about 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Make the Dough

  1. Add remaining honey, salt, caraway seeds, butter, and all-purpose flour to the sponge, mixing until dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

  2. By hand or machine, knead dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. The dough will be sticky and this is as it should be.

  3. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning to coat, and cover with a towel or greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled.

Shape the Dough and Bake

  1. When the dough has doubled, punch it down and divide in half. Shape each half into an oval and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a towel or greased plastic wrap and let rise for about 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven to 375 F and bake bread for about 45 minutes, or until the crust is dark brown and the bread registers 190 to 200 F on an instant-read thermometer.

  3. Remove from oven and transfer from pan to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.