Print Recipe
0 from 0 votes

How to Make Rye Bread

This is great just out of the oven, but as it’s difficult to cut, it’s better the next day... if you can wait!
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Scandinavian
Keyword: Rye Bread
Author: Trine Hahnemann



  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
  • 2 ¼ cups wholegrain stoneground rye flour


  • 3 tbsp rye sourdough starter
  • 3 ½ cups lukewarm water
  • 3 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • 5⅔ cups wholegrain stoneground rye flour


  • 1 lb 2oz cracked rye
  • 1 cup cold water
  • a little flavorless oil for the loaf tin


  • Makes 1 large loaf
  • For the rye sourdough starter, mix the buttermilk and rye flour well in a bowl. Cover and leave at room temperature for 3 days. It’s important that it doesn’t turn moldy, but starts bubbling; a temperature of 23–25ºC (73–77ºF) is ideal for this.

Day 1

  • If making your first loaf from the starter, dissolve all the starter in the lukewarm water in a large bowl (for the next loaf use just 3 tbsp of the starter that you will reserve on Day 2; the whole quantity of starter is just for the first attempt, and the loaf will be a little bigger). Stir in the salt and flour, cover the bowl with a towel and leave at room temperature for 12–24 hours.

Day 2

  • Add the cracked rye and cold water to the dough mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. It will be too runny to knead with your hands.
  • Remove 3 tbsp of the dough, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate; this will become your starter for the next loaf you make (it needs to rest for at least 3 days before using, and will last up to 8 weeks).
  • Lightly oil a large loaf tin, about 12 inches x 4 inches and 4 inches deep. Pour in the dough, cover with a damp towel and leave to rise for 3–6 hours until the dough has almost reached the top of the tin.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to fan 180ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Bake the loaf for 1 hour 45 minutes, then immediately turn it out on to a wire rack to cool.


Used with permission from Open Sandwiches by Trine Hahnemann, Quadrille Publishing, 2018. Photos by Leth Columbus.