100% rye sourdough bread

100% rågsurdegsbröd

A 100% rye sourdough loaf

Rågsurdegsbröd (rye sourdough bread) is very popular in Sweden and has a lovely rich flavour, often enhanced with brödkryddor (bread spices) such as caraway seeds. When thinly sliced it is perfect with cheese or topped with salmon or prawns (shrimps).

This is an easy recipe because rye is so low in gluten it doesn’t benefit much from kneading and nor does it need a second rise, so all you need to before baking the loaf is to mix the ingredients thoroughly, shape it, roll it in flour and give it a single, long rise. John Duxbury


Recipe summary for 100% rye sourdough bread (simple version)


A nice bubble rye sourdough starter (leaven)

• The key to success with the bread is to use a good lively rye starter (leaven). For our recipe click here.

A round sourdough loaf

• If you prefer the appearance of a round loaf, transfer the dough to a 500 g (1 lb) proving basket lined with a cloth and heavily dusted with rye flour. Cover and leave to prove for about 5 hours, until roughly doubled in size. Tip onto a baking parchment and slide on to a pre-heated baking stone at 230ºC (450ºF, gas 8, fan 200ºC). Heavily spritz your oven with a water spray and bake for about 40 minutes, turning half way through the baking time. Take out and cool on a wire rack.

100% rye sourdough loaf wrapped in baking parchment

• 100% rye bread should always be stored for 24 hours before slicing.

An open prawn sandwich made with 100% rye sourdough bread

• Use two slices butted together if you are making open sandwiches, or make a larger loaf. (To make the open sandwich above: butter the bread, add some slices of tomato, some egg mayonnaise with chives, a handful of prawns (shrimps) and garnish with mayonnaise, dill and a slice of lemon. For the mayonnaise recipe click here.)
• It is better to mix this dough by hand, but if you want to use a stand-mixer I suggest you use it with the beater rather than the dough hook.


Day 1

75 g* rye starter (leaven)
140 g tap water at room temperature
100 g rye flour

*We recommend measuring all quantities in grams

Day 2

175 g wholemeal (dark) rye flour
7 g sea salt
125 g tap water at room temperature
10 g caraway seeds, optional
6 g molasses, optional


A pre-ferment for a 100% rye sourdough loaf

1. Mix 75 g starter, 140 g of water and 100 g of rye flour until it looks like porridge. Cover and leave at room temperature for 12-24 hours. (The pre-ferment will eventually double in volume and you will be able to see lots of bubbles if you look at the side of the bowl.)

The dough for a 100% rye sourdough loaf

2. On day 2, add the remaining ingredients except the oil and, whilst holding the bowl with one hand and using your other hand like a large fork, mix everything for a good 5 minutes. (It is quite a wet dough and virtually impossible to knead so all you can do is to ensure that the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, but you should be able to feel the dough getting a little bit tighter towards the end.)

3. Clean your hands, lightly oil a 500 g (1 lb) loaf tin and heavily dust your worksurface with rye flour.

100% rye sourdough being rolled in flour

4. Wet your hands and bring the dough together to a ball or to a shape to roughly match your loaf tin. (Don't worry too much about the shape, simply try to keep the dough together in one piece.)

5. Transfer the dough to your worksurface and then roll the dough in the flour. (Try to ensure that the flour is only added to the surface and not mixed into the dough.)

100% rye sourdough in a 500 g (1 lb) bread tin

6. Transfer the dough to the loaf tin and smooth the surface. Sprinkle a little of the surplus flour from the work surface on to the top of the loaf.

Rye sourdough ready for baking

7. Leave to rise again, but this time uncovered, until nearly doubled in size and the surface of the dough has large cracks. (Expect this to take about 5 hours at 20°C (68°F), but the time will depend on the vigour of your starter and the temperature. The time is not too critical, so it won't matter if the dough is slightly under or over proved.)

8. Pre-heat your oven to 230ºC (450ºF, gas 8, fan 200ºC).

9. Place the loaf in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 98ºC (208ºF). Open the oven door briefly after about 25 minutes to turn the loaf round and let the steam escape, as that also helps a nice crisp crust to develop.

Sour rye 280 2468

10. Take out of the oven, tip out of the tin, and leave to cool on a wire rack.

11. When cold, shake off any surplus flour, wrap in baking parchment and leave for 24 hours before slicing.


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John Duxbury
Editor and Founder