The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

100% rye bread

timtune's picture

100% rye bread


Has anyone here tried making a 100% rye bread, like the German variety?
I was wondering if i could use a wholemeal rye flour (bran & germ included. Just can't see kernels) rather than using a blend of pumpernickel and white rye as suggested by Peter Reinhart (BBA).

jabarijabari's picture

Hi!  I've been trying my hand at 100% rye bread, which I got turned onto by a Silesian-American in his 70's named Peter Schumann.  It's dense bread, real old-school "meal" bread that wants to be chewed throughly.  I've been working with a 100% rye starter, fed only rough-milled ("cracked") rye meal.  So far I've been following a recipe from Sandor Katz's Wild Fermentation, and I'm pleased with the result but I'm wondering how to coax more flavor from the rye.  Peter S. prefers to mill his rye fresh from whole berries, and bake in a Quebec-style clay oven or a brickoven, and makes a "helluva" fire to get it nice and hot, so a conventional oven has a hard time baking the bread as I remembered it.  Nevertheless, the loaves can be sliced thin, stay fresh for weeks and the flavor gets better over time.

for 2 loaves:

4 onions

2 Tablespoons veg. oil

2 cups sourdough starter

3 cups water

1 Tablespoon caraway seeds

8 cups rye meal

1 teaspoon salt

fine rye flour

Chop onions, saute in veg. oil until browned.  Cool.  Mix a sponge:  combine onion, starter, water, caraway and 4 cups of the rye in a bowl.  Cover and leave to ferment in a warm place, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 24 hours, until it is good and bubbly.  Stir in more rye and salt, keep adding rye until dough becomes too stiff to stir effectively.  Cover with moist towel and leave to ferment and rise for another 8 to 12 hours. This rise may be subtle because of the dough's density, but it should appear to have increased in bulk.  Punch down and form into loaves with wet hands and place them in lightly oiled loaf pans, or spoon dough into pans, or form free-form loaves and roll them in fine rye flour.  Leave loaves to rise under floured towel for 1-2 hours, until they have risen noticeably.  Preheat oven to 350 (I've been heating the oven to 500, as high as it will go, then reducing the heat 15 degrees every 15 min. during baking to simulate the diminishing heat of a clay or brick oven.  About 1 hr. baking time).  Check loaves after 1 1/2 hours (baking at 350), it may take 2 hours or longer.  Cool loaves on racks. 

Perhaps I'm not baking long enough and my loaves are actually underbaked, although they're not exactly doughy inside either.  I'll follow the recipe and bake at 350 next time and compare the results.  Peter never added caraway or onions, just rye and salt and water.  I also haven't stirred it during the first fermentation, baking around a daytime work schedule, so perhaps much of the rye isn't fermented or not as much as it could be if I'd stirred and redistributed the nutrients for the yeast to feast upon.  I'd appreciate any feedback, tips.  Thanks!

czesc's picture

I love this bread!  It is easy to prepare and has an amazing texture. Also, I can feel I am doing my body good when eating it.  I have started putting hazelnuts in it and press them into the top of the loaf.  As toast it is like eating candy!

nicodvb's picture

Lately I've been doing this one, and I have to say I really love it:

I use gross rye meal (it looks more like bran than flour), thus I have to increase the amount of water a bit.

Just rye, water and salt, nothing else. The only extra I add is a hot soaker made with some rye meal and boiled water kept in a jar of glass. When it's cold I add it to the ferment before doing the final dough and mix it well; it adds some more sweetness to the taste of the bread.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It was about 95% rye and a very wet dough.   Simply Rye starter, water, fine whole rye flour, salt, spices and wee bit of bread flour.   Mixed gently and very goopy.


Baked in a small deep cast frying pan.  This turned out to be rather fluffy for a high % rye.  While it was baking, it rose more like a cake with the outside edges rising first and then eventually the middle.  Taste.... excellent!


nicodvb's picture

Marvellous, Mini!

Susan's picture

Lovely, Mini.  Congrats.  Wish I had a slice right now.