40% Rye Sourdough Bread

When you bake bread with a high content of rye flour expect to have a darker and denser crumb.  

I baked before another version of rye bread inspired by the same Hamelman's recipe "40% caraway rye". That version is on my blog 40% rye bread with sunflower seeds, posted more than 6 years ago. This time, I went for an improved version with no yeast, based exclusively on rye sourdough. None of these recipes includes caraway as I do not like it very much, but if you like it, please feel free to add it back, as in the original recipe.

Compared to the first recipe, the bread raised much higher and even got me an ear. The reason for this is the use of strong bread flour that had an autolyse before being combined with the rye preferment. This is essential mainly because rye flour has weak gluten that does not behave as the bread flour does. The strong bread flour adds strength to the dough structure and makes the bread to rise more.

This bread in any version is very rich in flavour and I find it outstanding in terms of taste. It has a moist and soft crumb that simply melts into your mouth.

Another advantage of this bread is that the bulk fermentation + final fermentation lasts only 3 ½ hours. On the other side, if you are up to get all the rye flavour, expect to let it cool for minimum 5 hours.

I am happy with this result and for sure I will revisit this recipe again, probably in another version :).

Merry Christmas!


  • 389g rye flour (preferably organic)
  • 323g water
  • 19g rye sourdough (100% hydration)
  • 600g strong wheat flour
  • 350g water (warm)
  • 18g salt
  • the above preferment


  1. [Day 1, Friday, 19:00] Preferment. Mix the ingredients for the preferment, cover and let it sit overnight at room temperature.
  2. [Day 1, Saturday, 9:00] Scaling. Start by measuring the ingredients. 
  3. Immediately after,  mix water with the bread flour. Mix just until well combined. 
    Cover the bowl with a lid to avoid the dough to dry at its surface. Let it stay for the autolyse phase for 2 hours at 26ºC.
  4. [Day 2, Saturday, 11:00] Preferment + salt. Add the preferment and the salt over the dough and knead for 8 minutes with a standing mixer or by hand. Then, let the dough relax for 1 hour at 26ºC.
  5. [Day 2, Saturday 12:00] Do a first set of stretch and folds in the bowl. Let it relax for 1 hour at 26ºC.
  6. [Day 2, Saturday 13:00] Do a second set of stretch and folds in the bowl. Let it relax for 30 minutes at 26ºC.
  7. [Day 2, Saturday, 13:30] Preshaping. At this stage, the dough needs to be divided and preshaped.  Let them relax on the bench for 30 minutes at 26ºC.
  8. [Day 2, Saturday, 14:00] Shaping. Shape the loaves and do a very short final fermentation of 30 minutes at 26ºC. Preheat the oven with a baking stone inside. 
  9. [Day 2, Saturday, 14:30] Bake at 260ºC on the hot stone for 15 minutes. For steaming, pour 100g of hot water on the hot lava rocks to create steam. Close the oven door as quickly as possible to capture the steam inside. Be careful at this step as the hot steam can cause burns. No ventilator should be turned on in the oven in this first phase as you need to keep the steam inside the oven. After these 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 220ºC, turn on the ventilator of the oven to release the steam and continue to bake for 25 minutes.     
  10. [Day 2, Saturday, 15:10] Cool. The bread needs to cool for at least 5 hours until it reaches the room temperature and enhances its flavour. The cooking process continues slowly even after taking the bread out of the oven, so this is why it is important to not skip this step and to resist cutting it too early.
  11. [Day 2, Saturday, 20:15] Cut. Now you are ready to cut and eat the bread. 

Do you want to try it? 

The recipe was inspired from Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes - Jeffrey Hamelman, 40 Percent Caraway rye, page 208-209.


suez said...

Such beautiful loaves and I am sure that they taste as good as they look. Thank you for another winning bread and Happy New Year.

HungryShots said...

Thank you so much for you kind comment! Happy New Year for you too!

j said...

This will be the next rye test. Thank you for sharing.

Hungry Shots said...

Thank you! Try it, you won't regret.

j said...


HungryShots said...

Thank you!

Jana said...

Hello from Hungary 🙂 This beautiful bread has been on my wish list for weeks 🙂 Please, I have a question. Is it possible to retard this dough (shaped in banneton) in the fridge (overnight)? Thank you 🙂

HungryShots said...

Jana, yes absolutely!

Post a Comment