Artisan Sourdough Rye Bread

Great recipe. Bread looks, smells and tastes great. Ideas very helpful. I did a couple of stretch and folds to give it some more structure. I think it helped but not positive. A little fondue is sounding good right now.

This is a dynamite recipe with great flavor, and good moisture retention on the counter.

In an attempt to duplicate the flavor of my favorite Pumpernickel breads, I have modified this recipe as follows:

Reduce Fennel to one teaspoon
Add one teaspoon Black Cumin Seeds
Add one tablespoon Sesame Oil
Add two tablespoons of Cocoa
Add an additional tablespoon of Molasses

Suggested modifications for the ‘ideal’ Pumpernickel will be welcomed.


Hi Eric,
I don’t have a lid to put on my bread but I have a pizza stone. What do you recommend I do…?

You can use a stone instead. I think the dough is stiff enough to hold up on its own. I’d probably lower the baking temp 25º and monitor the internal dough temp with an instant read thermometer so you know when it’s done baking.

There’s a baker who uses a pizza stone and a jumbo roasting pan lid. You might try her method for the steam element that you lose out on without a lid. I’ve never tried it myself and I do wonder if you can skip the lava rock component…

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That’s what I do. I found that spraying the sides if the oven didn’t work so well and I dont have a cloche. I have a pan with lava rocks plus a pizza stone. Before sliding the bread onto the stone I pour boiling water over the rocks and then put my bread in the oven. After 10 minutes or so I remove the pan and bake the bread till done. Works well

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Charles, I’ve also heard of using liquid coffee and/or instant coffee in pumpernickel. Your modifications such as cocoa powder also sound familiar.

Advice on stickiness for this thread in general:

During the bench rest, I left the dough uncovered, which allowed the top of the dough dry a bit. During shaping, I made sure that “skin” was at the top of the long batard–which then was flipped into the proofing basket (dry side down). The underside of the dough was still very sticky.

I didn’t flour my proofing basket more than usual and had no problem with stickness - following the recipe to a T except that my whole grain rye flour was sprouted.

Here are some pictures. I baked it in an oblong clay baker. Got way more oven spring than I expected, but I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth even if it tears through my scoring :wink:

I love this recipe! What a flavorful, fragrant bread. I was worried with how flat the raw dough looked,but it puffed right up in the oven! (Sourdough method.)

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My first boule of rye bread and it’s wonderful. I used the sourdough starter and baked using a dutch oven (20 minutes covered/ 23 minutes uncovered.) The crumb is good and the taste excellent.


Nicely done! Great picture too

Made this bread this weekend. The taste is delicious and the rise was reasonable. The problem is the bread is way too moist/wet. I followed the recipe exactly, and baked as directed. I used a thermometer to test doneness. It registered 200 degrees but the tester stick was wet at the bottom. So it put it back in oven for 15 more minutes and then took it out because I was afraid to over bake it.

Just trust your thermometer! This bread is very moist even after baking. I froze some and had a heck of a time separating the slices.

I did it - my first EVER sourdough from a starter I got from a friend on Sunday. The recipe didn’t work as expected but I’ve been baking enough to improvise, so it came out runny and with big bubbles then turned into a kind of runny glue when I tried to flatten and fold it. I added more bread flour and gently tossed it, then did that again a few times until it could be formed, then proofed once, then put in the improvised basket for a while, and then baked it in an ovenproof, cast iron pot that had been pre-heated with the oven. The results are gorgeous. Let’s hope it tastes as good as it looks.

Also you should probably know, I couldn’t get molasses so used honey, didn’t have most of the seeds so just used caraway and doubled that, and used lemon instead of orange zest. I think my starter is a bit runnier than yours is, and also am baking in South Africa, where the room temperature might be a little higher. Anyhow, still very relieved, as I’ve heard most first sourdoughs are a total disaster and was expecting to struggle more than I did. Thanks for this blog, your recipe, and the helpful videos. Tastes good. I’d probably like it more if it were sourer but that’s probably something I can work on with the spices and the starter.

Has anyone tried this recipe with 100% rye flour?

I loved this bread, but my wife did not. The flavor of the orange zest and anise seed was too much for her.

And yes, this is a wet, sticky dough. Rye is always sticky, I have been told. I made it at 84% hydration and the overnight ferment was really more than needed.

Nevertheless, shaping was not too difficult, and the bake in a covered clay baker, turned out very well.

I used Bob’s Red Mill Dark Rye Flour at 84% hydration. Yes, the dough is wet and sticky, but if you build surface tension into the loaf during shaping, you should get good oven spring and a nice loaf of rye bread.

@kingfisher500, the rye bread is one of my favorites BUT I have made modifications to it as my husband did not care for some of the flavor profile of the molasses, orange, fennel and anise. He wanted something more “traditional” tasting. I grew up with NY rye and/or Jewish rye. He grew up with Swedish rye, more of a Limpa rye. When baking this recipe, I leave out the molasses, orange zest, fennel and anise. Instead I just add more caraway seeds. The resulting rye bread comes out with a flavor profile that is more similar to what I grew up with, a NY rye. It works for us! Maybe I’ll try to make a more Swedish rye at some point, maybe…LOL!


shame…i stuffed up big time…tried to make it wheat free so used gf flour instead of bread flour but it was sloppy and a dud loaf…not the recipe just my need to change things…also i used teff flour and keffir water as a starter and it made the taste way too sour…oh well…i will keep trying

HI Everyone,

I love this recipe and bread; tastes great. I am however, having some difficult because it seems to be, following the measurements in the recipe, too wet. My first 14 hour rise does happen but when I try and form a loaf for proofing I am finding the dough too wet to handle comfortably.

This last time I proofed it with wax paper ( after adding a bit of white flour before placing it in my proofing basket with the wax paper), but it did not really rise in the 2nd rising time ( 1 hour plus ) and it stuck to the wax paper when I placed it in my cloche.

The resulting bead, after baking, looked great, tasted terrific as usual, but the wetness of my pre baked dough prevented me from making a "perfect"loaf.

Any suggestions?

Many thanks