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100% Rye Bread Recipe

An excellent beginners recipe for a sourdough rye bread

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Item                              Grams                        %

Medium Rye flour            200                           100
(or Light Rye 997)

Salt                                  6                              3

Starter/Leaven*               200                          100

water (warm)                   170                          85



* You will need to have made your starter (also sometimes referred to as a "leaven" (Eng) or "levain" (Fr)) prior to beginning this recipe. You can find the recipe for a Rye Starter here. If you want to read more about starters and levains you can see more at the following links:

Focus on Starters and Ferments

Sourdough Starter or Leaven


Place flour into a large bowl, add the salt and rub it through.  Weigh in the starter and the water then using your hand, or a beater if using a mixer, blend the ingredients together until a smooth firm paste is reached similar to “plasticine”.

Decide now if you want to add dried fruits such as figs raisins or walnuts, or perhaps caraway seeds.

Typically fruits or nuts are added at 20% of the flour weight and seeds or spices at 2% of the flour weight.

Preparing for baking

Most rye breads “prove” in a birchwood basket (Click here to buy) to help keep their shape.  A bowl will do, but does not allow the warm air to reach as much of the loaf.  Line the basket or bowl with a tea towel and dust well with flour, making sure the fabric is well covered to prevent the dough from sticking.  Get this ready first.

Scatter a handful of the rye flour onto your work surface and scoop out the dough from the bowl in one large piece.  Now roll it around in the flour to form a nice round shape but try not to push the dry flour into the dough too much.  When fully covered place the dough ball into the prepared basket cover with plastic and place in a warm part of the kitchen.

It will be happier at a warmer temperature of about 25°C.  If you can achieve this, then the product should be fully proved in about 3 hours.  If cooler it will take longer so in a typical kitchen at about 20°C you will need to allow another hour.


Pre heat your oven while the bread is proving – you will need it to be as hot as your oven can reasonably achieve – about 250°C - and make sure it is at the preset temperature before baking.

If you have one, place a baking stone or thick baking tray into the oven when you turn it on.  Then place the dough straight onto the hot surface when you put it into the oven.  This will seal the base and in theory all the activity will come out at the top, creating that nice rustic appearance so typical of a good rye bread.

As soon as you set the dough onto the hot base close the door and reduce the temperature to about 210°C and bake for one hour, reducing the time slightly for a lighter crust.

The finished product will mature with age and the flavours will start to mingle as the bread gets older.  If you are nervous or worried about it being fully baked with the lighter crust and you have a cook's thermometer,  the bread will be fully cooked when the centre of the loaf reaches 96°C.  After this time the crust will simply be getting darker and tastier.

A baking tin will produce a perfectly good shape if you are don't want to experiment with the basket but this sized dough will need to go into a small loaf tin or it is likely to flow too much before baking!

Added by: NaomiS

Tags: Rye

Add comment
rye bread

Hi. will this recipe work with 100% wholegrain rye flour? (I brought it back from Finland).

Deedee 14 October 2018

Est Bake Time?

Of course there are variables here from oven to oven but what is the estimated bake time for this bread yall?

Gluten-Morphine 21 December 2017

RE: Est Bake Time?

A normal wheat bread at a regular hydration will take 35-40 minutes. The higher the hydration the longer it takes and it's rye to-boot. If you have a thermometer then bake till an internal temperature of 200F. If it's golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap the base is also a good guide. At a guess you're looking at 45 min - 1hr.

A BakEr 22 December 2017

Adding seeds an nuts,,,

When you say "Typically fruits or nuts are added at 20% of the flour weight and seeds or spices at 2% of the flour weight." Does that mean, e.g. for nuts, replace the flour with the nuts or add that amount. so, is it 160g flour and 40g nuts or 200g flour and 40g nuts?

FooMan 07 September 2016

RE: Adding seeds an nuts,,,

Bakers' Percentages Flour is always 100% and all other ingredients are in relation to the flour. In this case the flour is 200g so it'll be 40g of fruits or nuts, or 4g spices, on top of that. So it'll be... 200g flour + 40g fruit/nuts (NOT 160g flour + 40g fruit/nuts), and/or... 200g flour + 4g spices (NOT 196g flour + 4g spices) You can do either or both, fruit/nuts and/or spices.

A BakEr 01 December 2016

RE: Adding seeds an nuts,,,

Thanks, that's very helpful

FooMan 01 December 2016

Uses for rye starter

Does anyone know if whole meal bread will rise with my rye starter? I couldn't get rye flour this week so got organic stone ground whole meal instead. Tx

Polkadot 18 May 2016

RE: Uses for rye starter
You can use your rye starter with any flour and i would encourage you to try different flours and extend your range. You may need to experiment a little with the amount of water and the proving times to get your perfect loaf.

webmaster 18 May 2016

100% rye bread recipe

THANK YOU so much for this recipe!!! SOOOOO good to find a rye sourdough bread that has absolutely no wheat flour involved! I just have one question - and yes it will seem silly to you BUT I have NEVER baked bread before - forced to due to my daughters food allergies. Which Birchwood Basket would be best for this recipe? The small one or the large one? I can't figure out how big a loaf this recipe makes. Thanks for your help!

newtobreadmaking 19 March 2015

nice but...

... I always need more than 200g of rye flour. 250g works for me.

Matt Z 12 December 2014

What is 'medium' Rye flour?

Your 100% Rye Bread Recipe specifies 'medium' rye flour but I don't see it medium rye flour for sale in the shop, only Dark or light. Which is it please?

- Dencat 08 September 2013

RE: What is 'medium' Rye flour?

Yes, indeed, what is medium rye flour? I am assuming it is light rye??

emerheavey 05 May 2014

RE: What is 'medium' Rye flour?

Yes - our "Light Rye 997" would be suitable for this recipe. I've updated the recipe to reflect this. Thanks for you question.

webmaster 06 May 2014

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