Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Soft Rye Sourdough Bread

I've been having a lot of fun coming up with different variations of the soft sourdough bread. Besides the white/wheat, honey oatmeal, and 100% wheat, here is a rye version. Rye has a flavor all it's own but it is one of  Ed's favorites. Now that I have a simple recipe, maybe I'll make it more often.

Soft Rye Sourdough Bread

2 cup starter
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup oil or melted butter
1/4 cup honey
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour 
1 1/2 cup rye flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 T vital gluten (optional)
3 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients except salt for 2-3 minutes. Allow the dough to rest for about 20 minutes.

After rest, add salt and knead dough for about five minutes. If dough is too sticky, add slightly more flour but dough should be soft and not dry and stiff. Place in oiled bowl and allow dough to rise for 3-4 hours or until nearly doubled in size.

Divide dough into two pieces and shape into loaves and place in two greased bread pans. If a free form loaf is desired, place on greased baking sheet. Spray with oil and cover with plastic wrap to keep from drying out. Allow to rise for 2-3 hours.

When dough has risen, carefully slash the top.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. For even browning, turn loaves halfway through baking time.

For the version pictured here, I mixed up a batch of whole wheat dough and a batch or rye dough. After separating the dough into two loaf sized portions, I divided each portion into four equal pieces. I rolled each small portion into long thin strands. Using two rye and two whole wheat strands, I braided the dough. Some of the loaves I placed into loaf pans and some I baked free form.

To make a 4-braid loaf, I followed the directions in Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day. The four strands are connected at one end and given a numbered 1 to 4. As the strands are braided the number changes with it's position. Follow this pattern: 4 over 2, 1 over 3, 2 over 3. Repeat until you get to the end and pinch the tip to seal.

Does that make any sense? It really is easier then it sounds. Of course, you can make a all rye loaf, a braided loaf just looks extra special.

For more bread inspiration - see Yeast Spotting.


  1. Rye is one of my favorite breads - unfortunately, no one else in my family likes it. I should just bite the bullet and make some anyway. :0)

  2. Oh we love rye bread around here. Sadly my oldest (trying to be helpful) mixed all of our rye berries in with our speltz berries. I will need to find some more so I can try this! Also I have been playing with some sourdough muffins and quick breads. Are you going to be featuring any of those kinds of recipes? I'd love to hear your thoughts/versions.

  3. Jeni -
    I've been trying some sourdough muffin and quick breads. They have been good but not awesome. But then I'm trying to use whole wheat, and honey so maybe I'm stacking the odds against me to find a great result!

    If you find a good recipe, let me know!

  4. Thank you for sharing this recipe Gina. Wow, this bread takes alot of rising time but I'm sure it's worth it. I've made the 5-minute artisan rye-bread that's in their healthy breads book and it turned out really well. Yours looks lovely all braided tho. Thank you for always inspiring me :)

  5. Just discovered your blog through yeastspotting and absolutely love it. I totally understand the joy of baking and helping make this world a little better. Just do what you can. I too have a breadbaking blog which you can find at: Keep up the good work - this is amazing!!

  6. You continue to amaze me with your sourdoughs!


  7. I love you recipes but I do have a question: I mixed in the cocoa powder as in the recipe, and, of course, the dough turned this beautiful chocolate brown color. But, according to the pictures the dough is not this color at all. Did I do something wrong, or, maybe the cocoa powder is a mistake?
    Thanks in advance,
    David (Jerusalem, Israel

    1. The cocoa powder is not a mistake and the dough should be a deep brown. The photos on this post show a braided bread. I took the dark rye dough and braided it with some regular wheat dough to give a bi-color affect.


  8. Love your blog? Are you on Pinterest?

    1. Thanks!

      I'm not on Pinterest. I'd love to - but right now I can't add one more time-trap to my day!


I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!


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