100% Whole Grain Rye Sourdough Bread

Rye flour is clearly different than wheat flour. It has weak gluten that is not capable to form a gluten network and when mixed in a dough develops almost no elasticity. It looks like a viscous paste and is breaking quickly at an attempt to stretch it. Rye flour does not benefit from autolyse either, so forget this technique when baking bread with a high percentage of rye flour.

Kneading a rye dough has no effect because the gluten in rye is not capable to form an elastic dough. Rye dough relies on pentosans to be formed. If you do not like to knead the dough, then this bread is for you.

When baked in a loaf, it gives to the bread a dark crumb and a lower volume should be expected. The crumb is denser, you won't get big alveoli but rather smaller holes. Expect then a loaf with a dense crumb with small holes.

Instead, rye bread is more nutritious than wheat bread because it contains more bran. When ground, it is more difficult to separate the bran from the flour, so the content of bran is much higher in rye flour. But if you use whole grain (dark) rye flour you'll get the entire bran as it was not sifted out. 

Here is the video with the recipe and description for this special rye bread:

Compared to wheat flour, rye flour absorbs much more water and makes the bread last longer.

Rye bread tastes better 24 hours after baking and actually improves with age. It will stay moist inside for a week.

Rye bread is known for its specific aroma and taste and is very popular in North European countries.

A slice of 100% whole grain rye sourdough bread is a perfect match for cheese, pâté, salmon, eggs and I let you discover other ones.

So, are you ready to bake and taste this bread?



  • 50g rye sourdough 100% hydration
  • 420g water
  • 420g whole grain rye flour
  • 825 whole grain rye flour
  • 725g lukewarm water
  • 15g salt
  • 50g barley malt (optional)

  1. [Day 1, Friday, 22:00] Preferment. Mix the ingredients for the preferment, cover and let it sit overnight at 21ºC.
  2. [Day 2, Saturday 8:00] Scaling. Start by measuring the ingredients. 
  3. Immediately after,  mix all ingredients with a spatula. You need to use lukewarm water at a temperature calculated as such so the entire dough arrives in the end at 29ºC. The DDT (dough desired temperature) for this dough is 29ºC. Let the dough rest at 29ºC for 1 hour.
  4. [Day 2, Saturday, 9:00] Shape. Start by preparing the bread pans. Choose pans that resist to 260ºC, butter and sprinkle them with some flour. The pan will fit 3/4 of the quantity. For example, I measured the water quantity that my pans hold. The big cast iron one holds 1.4l of water while the smaller ones are holding 1l of water. In the small ones, I put 750g of bulk fermented dough that will cover about 3/4 of the pan volume. In the big one, it remained 1kg of dough. Comparing the dough volume with the pan volume is a bit tricky because it depends on how much the dough fermented during the bulk phase. So, for this particular recipe, I preferred to go by weight rather than volume (although in this case is similar to the quantity)
    There is no proper shaping of this dough as you are used for wheat bread. In fact, the shaping is done with a spatula/straight in the pan on the balance. You want to preserve the gas bubbles as much as you can, so try to handle the dough as less as you can. You'll just scoop the dough and put them straight into the bread pans. Let them rise for 1:30 hours at 29ºC.
  5. [Day 2, Saturday, 10:30] Bake. Please do not take this timing by the book but watch the dough. The dough should reach and overpass a bit the top of the pan. The dough should have a little bump in the middle, a sign that is still growing. By this time your oven should be already pre-heated at a maximum temperature of 260ºC with a steaming system inside. Rye bread likes hot temperatures in the first 15 minutes and lower temperature afterwards.
    You should not expect that the bread will rise much more in the oven, so this is almost the size of the bread that you'll end up with.
    Bake for 15 minutes at 260ºC with steam and no oven ventilator and then reduce to 200ºC, turn on the ventilator and continue to bake for 45 minutes. The bread is baked when the crumb arrives at 95ºC. 
  6. [Day 2, Saturday, 11:30] Cool. When you get the dough out of the oven and out of the pan it really looks like a brick. It has a hard crust and it has an unfinished cooked crumb. You need to cover them in a towel and let them cool like this for a minimum of 5 hours.
  7. [Day 2, Saturday, 16:30] Cut. Rye bread flavour is improved after 24 hours after cooking, so if you are not in a hurry to cut it, it worth the waiting. Cut a slice and tell me how do you like it.


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