The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tips for my first rye bread?

mandarina's picture

Tips for my first rye bread?

Hello fellow bakers!

Lately I've been thinking a lot about rye bread. I keep seeing these beautiful loaves, dark, white.. And in my mind I can even smell it! I wanted to make rye bread at home, so I went to amazon to look for flour and.... Which one should I get? white? dark? is dark the same as pumpernickel? organic? whole grain? is dark whole grain? can white be whole grain? I was a bit overwhelmed. So I tried to read a bit about rye bread and everyone keeps saying that the dough doesn't develop the same way as wheat, the bread takes way longer than wheat to rise etc. 

So here I am, asking for some insights from the rye bakers. If you were to bake with rye for the first time, which flour would you use? How about 100% rye with white rye flour? much longer does it take to rise? (using commercial yeast, not sourdough).


Thanks everyone! 


Have a wonder-baking-ful weekend!



clazar123's picture

There are so many rye bread out there. You have to decide what kind of texture you want to experience. I suggest you take a look at Stan Ginsberg's book and website  called "The Rye Baker".. You can choose a recipe based on the origin or on the texture. Some are made with natural yeast (like a starter) and some are made with commercial yeast.

Have fun!

zhitomir's picture

Stanley's website is fantastic for beginners, I highly recommend it 

Monty Burr's picture
Monty Burr

I'm going out on a limb here. This is my first post and I'm ready for the roasting.

I’ve loved rye bread for decades. I had a grunt job at a Danish bakery in Racine, Wisconsin back in the late 60’s. At the time, the part of town known as “West Racine” had five Danish bakeries and 3 konditories. I was a kid back then and never wrote down the formulas but I remember that they used about a quarter cup of “Caraway Oil” in their best-selling Danish Rye. That’s what was written on the masking tape of the jug. The batch size was thirty loaves if my memory serves me. I loved that bread and took home a loaf every other day. My father and I actually came to testosterone blows over the heel of a loaf. With the help of Reinhart and this forum, I think I’ve come very very close.

Here goes: Einer Larson’s Caraway Rye Recreation via Reinhart et al

(First Post - Be Kind)

For a single steel loaf pan recipe

Preliminary Sponge

72 Gram Light Rye (Bob’s Red Mill)

72 Gram Dark Rye (Bob’s Red Mill)

144 Gram King Arthur Bread Flour

3 gram SAF Red Instant Yeast

Just shy of 1 ¼ cup room temp water. (Weather conditions etc. It’s a texture thing. It’s stiff.)

Mix the sponge stuff above well and let it hang out at sleeping temperature (68.443F Just kidding. Cool room temp. Don’t push it.)

It should rise. Let it fall. I’ve found I’ve got a lot of leeway in the sponge.

For Main Dough

288 Gram King Arthur Bread Flour

1 tablespoon Diastatic Malt Powder (King Arthur)

1.25 tsp canning salt

0.5 tsp SAF Red Instant Yeast

1.5 tablespoon Caraway Seeds (Toast half in a skillet until they go fragrant and smack in a pestle or grinder if you really like caraway)

0.5 teaspoon cocoa powder

0.5 teaspoon instant espresso powder

0.33 cup cultured buttermilk

2 tablespoons King Arthur Flour Rye Bread Improver.


Make the sponge, cover at room temperature. Let it rise and hopefully fall. Guess eight hours at 70.

Mix the main dough using all of the sponge and any water needed to just clean the bowl of a Kitchenaid with an “S” dough hook. Note: I’ve chewed up two drive gears in my Kitchenaid 6qt mixer. It’s a resistant dough. I’ve learned to let the mixer get it started and hand rage finish it off.

Let double under cover in slick bowl – Usually 80 minutes room temp.

Deflate and pan in a regular bread pan. Let it proof until a bit over the top of the pan. (4x8 steel)

Slash a bit to relieve the oven spring. I go once down the top and hope.

Bake @ 350F with a water spritz at the beginning and again in a minute. I start checking at 35 minutes and am looking for 195F.

It makes killer sandwiches and keeps about four days.

Sorry for the mixed precision measurements. I’m a two loaf a week guy.



rubato4567's picture

first and only rye i've done (prior to today) was greestein's sour corn rye from secret's of a jewish baker. i love jewish rye bread moist chewy dense it was my first recipe and it was a home run for me. and my family. its been about 5 years since i've baked it and i recently decided to bake rye again and it took me a little while to remember which recipe i did back then and so to get re acquainted with rye i decided to do the "easiest rye ever" recipe on the back of the bag of king arthur rye flour which is a buttermilk rye. won't know how it tastes until tomorrow when it's fully cooled.....but here's a pic of itbuttermilk rye recipe KA rye flour bag

dmsnyder's picture

Several years ago, I wrote a "chapter" on rye flours/breads for the TFL handbook. (Did you know there was one? See the top menu.) Here's a link: Rye Flour

If you have never made rye bread but are experienced with wheat breads, rye handles differently and is really a different ingredient. I recommend starting with a low-% rye bread. A standard "Jewish ("Deli") rye is 40% rye, for example. Here is a link to a reliable formula: Jewish Sour Rye

My two strongest recommendations for books with rye bread recipes are: "Bread" by Jeffrey Hamelman and "The Rye Baker" by Stan Ginsberg.

Happy baking!


emmsf's picture

 Rye breads are my everyday breads and I love baking them. If I had to make a single suggestion,  I would warn against over-kneading the dough. Unlike white flour, which benefits from kneeding to develop the gluten, rye flour has little to no gluten.  If you overwork rye dough, it will suddenly turn sticky and pasty – and there’s nothing you can do to fix it. If I remember correctly from my baking school days, there’s a material called “pentosan“ which is released if the dough is overworked. It happens very quickly – everything seems fine and then all of a sudden the dough is an awful mess.  If the percentage of rye flour is low, this isn’t much of a risk. But if the percentage is high, the risk is significant. Good luck! 

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

There are so many, many different kinds of rye breads, really. I make a killer Deli Rye (from Peter Reinhart's "Crust and Crumb") that has a 3-stage starter and takes about 5 days to make. Delicious though! I also have made 100% rye bread from home-milled coarse whole rye flour and/or Rogers Dark Rye flour. Never used 'white' rye flour. The 100% rye breads are not really dough as we know it, but rather a thick, sticky paste that is scraped into a pan without any kneading. And in my experience they ferment / proof very quickly (not sure where you got the idea that rye rises more slowly than wheat). I tend to over-ferment them because I'm used to watching wheat-based doughs and the 100% is so different.

So, it depends on what kind of bread you like to make and/or eat, I suppose. Generally the more rye flour you use in a recipe, the less it behaves like a wheat flour dough. You can search on this site for many different rye breads. Mini Oven makes some nice ones. Stan Ginsberg has a great site on The Rye Baker, and I like the simple 100% rye breads in Emmanuel Hadjiandreou's "How to Make Sourdough" book as well.

mandarina's picture

Thanks a lot for the insights, I decided to buy some flour and give it a try. I've being reading about rye dough etc. And i'll probably start with a mixture of wheat and rye and maybe later i'll try 100% rye, I want to make that "turtle" bread (looks like a pumpernickel boule and the surface is all cracked).

After watching some videos I understood why i's "different" haha, it really looks like cake or banana bread batter. I can't wait for the smell of this bread! I remember my mom used to buy some when we were kids and I really enjoyed it!


Thanks again! :)

dabrownman's picture