Sourdough Rye Bread

Second sourdough experiment, one of my all time favourite breads, the dark, dense and delicious rye. I love blasting mine in the toaster, giving it two or three rounds, getting the thin crust nice and charred, top with freshly sliced tomato, drizzle with peppery olive oil, sprinkle over flakey sea salt and to me you have a perfect meal.

Making this bread however is a different story. It is an extremely wet dough, so for the majority of the process you think your are going wrong somewhere, but trust in the process and in this tacky and sticky dough and keep going.

The process, fermenting times and proving times are much like the sourdough (recipe here), but the consistency and stretch and fold times are a little different. The percentage of flour to water are slightly less in this instance (70% hydration) as I added SOAKED seeds into the dough. If you to not soak the seeds they will naturally absorb moisture and mess up your end result. So make sure you so which ever nuts and seeds you like to use.

Another note: make sure you bake you dough in a loaf tin and not in a ceramic dish (like I did), the heat can not conduct as well through the thick walls of the dish resulting in a way longer bake.

1.5 DAYS. SERVES 1-10


350g organic whole wheat bread flour

350g organic rye flour

500g water, tepid

120g starter

1 tbs dark molasses

15g salt

150g seeds (soaked in water over night ideally but for at least four hours in warm water), I used 50g pumpkin, 50g sunflower, 50g toasted sesame


  1. Prepare your starter. The morning you want to use the starter take it out of the fridge, discard all but 120g of it (do not throw this delicious fermented dough away, whack it in a pan with some oil, spices, salt, spring onions and you've got a delicious flat bread), then add 120g of flour (I used whole wheat bread flour) and 120g of water to the jar. Give this a good mix, clean down the sides of the far so you can see the beautiful rise of the starter and mark where the top of the starter is at that point. Leave for 3-5 hours to double or triple in size. I opened the lid two or three times to let out the excess gas.

  2. About 45 minutes before you are ready to use your starter it is time to autolyse the dough. By combining the flour and the water you are allowing the flour to become properly hydrated. This activates enzymes in the flour that stimulate the proteins to start gluten development. So mix the quantities of flour and water listed above in a large mixing bowl just until the dough comes together - do not mix any further, cover and leave at room temperature.

  3. After 45 minutes, add the starter, molasses, salt and seeds(drained). mix everything until well incorporated. The dough will be very wet at this stage, as best as you can stretch and fold the dough, turning the bowl quarter turns after each stretch and fold. Do this for 2 minutes then leave to sit covered with a damp towel for 1 hour.

  4. After 1 hour it is continue the stretch and fold process, do this three more times within the next two hours.

  5. After the final stretch and fold, cover again with a damp tea towel and leave to ferment over night or for 4-6 hours at room temperature, in a place where the temperature will be most consistent.

  6. After fermenting the dough it should be much more workable but still pretty sticky. Sprinkle your counter top with a good bit of flour, using a plastic board scraper or your hand scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto your work surface.

  7. Sprinkle the top of the dough with some flour also and start stretching it with your fingers, working it into a square shape. The length of one side of the dough should be the same length as the tin you will bake the bread in.

  8. Roll the dough tightly away from you. Line your tin with baking paper or spray liberally with oil. Place the rolled dough into the tin. Cover and let prove for a further 4 hours at room temperature or over night in the fridge.

  9. Finally when your dough is ready. Preheat the oven to 450F or 230C, make some slashes in the top of the dough and cover very well with tin foil - two layers is best.

  10. When the oven reaches temperature, place the covered dough in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. After 20, remove the foil and bake for another 20 uncovered.

  11. When the time is up, check that the bread is cooked through by sticking a knife through the most dense part. If the knife comes out clean then it is done. I had to put mine back in for another 15 minutes.

  12. Remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.

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