Sourdough Rye Bread

Ruth Ann Vokac


Start sourdough 48 HOURS ahead!

My friend Vickie gave me a start of this sourdough in the 1970's, and I needed to find recipes in which to use it. In a sourdough recipe book from a local library, I found this rye bread recipe, and it has become a real family favorite. It takes planning to start the sourdough and a day at home to make the bread, but it is special.

One Christmas when I was working lots of hours and following a Weight Watchers food plan, I told my two daughters I would make only one Christmas treat for each of them. One daughter chose this rye bread! It is delicious.


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24 Hr
45 Min


  • 1 pkg
    regular dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 c
    lukewarm water (feels warm when dripped on underside of wrist)
  • 3 c
    medium rye flour (if you can't find it elsewhere, it is available on
  • 1 c
    sourdough starter (see recipe below)
  • 1/4 c
    brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 Tbsp
    butter, softened
  • 2 tsp
    caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp
  • 2-3 c
    bread or all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp
    baking soda
  • 1-2 tsp
    vegetable oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp
    solid shortening
  • 1-2 Tbsp

  • 1 pkg
    regular yeast
  • 1/2 c
    lukewarm water (feels warm when dripped on underside of wrist)
  • 3/4 c
    lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 c
  • 1 c
    all-purpose flour
  • ·
    see instructions for adding more milk, flour and sugar for feeding the sourdough.

How to Make Sourdough Rye Bread


    Perhaps some would not want yeast and milk in their sourdough. But these ingredients make a delicious mixture to go into this rye bread!

    In a 1/2 gallon container, add the lukewarm water.
  2. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the water, and let set 3 or 4 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar, lukewarm milk, and flour. Stir and let set on the counter for an hour or so.
  4. Put the mixture, covered, into the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. Remove from the fridge and add 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 cup flour. Let sit on the counter for about 15 minutes and then return to the refrigerator and let sit 24 hours or more before using in the rye bread.
  5. When the sourdough is ready to use, begin the rye bread:

    In a large mixing bowl, add the lukewarm water. Sprinkle yeast over the water and let set 2-3 minutes to soften. Blend in rye flour, 1 cup starter, sugar, butter, caraway seed, and salt. (Starter and butter should be room temperature.)
  6. In a small bowl, add 1 cup bread or all-purpose flour and the baking soda. Mix. Stir into the yeast/flour mixture.
  7. Add enough additional bread or all-purpose flour to make a stiff dough.
  8. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead from 5-8 minutes. (I know the kneading is done when the dough is smooth and the caraway seeds are popping out.)
  9. For letting the bread rise:
    Add 1-2 tsp. oil to a large bowl. Turn the dough out into the greased bowl, turn the greased side up, and using the greased dough, grease the rest of the bowl.
    Pat the dough into a ball.
  10. Cover with a dry, clean towel. Let rise 1 1/2 hour or until doubled in bulk.
  11. Punch dough down. Divide into two equally sized pieces. (I use a long knife to cut it into two pieces.)
    Let rest 10 minutes.
  12. Grease a jelly roll pan (about 10" x 15") well with solid shortening. Sprinkle cornmeal over the greased pan. Shake and discard any not sticking to the pan.
  13. Shape dough into two round loaves. Place in the prepared pan, each loaf equal distance from the middle and ends. Cover with the dry, clean towel, and let bread rise until double, maybe 1 hour or more. (I like my loaves to touch and also touch the edges of the pan.)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  14. (After the dough has been punched down after the first rise and cut into halves to make two loaves, it can be wrapped in plastic and put in a large plastic bag and refrigerated for as long as 24 hours before putting the loaves on a pan for the final rise and baking. It will probably take longer to rise, but at least you can divide the process into two days.)
  15. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a tap on the loaves gives a hollow sound.

    Cool on a wire rack.,
  16. Put the rest of the sourdough in the refrigerator. Feed with 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour, and 1/4 cup sugar every week to 10 days. Let sit in refrigerator 24 hours before using. Use in any recipe calling for sourdough.

Printable Recipe Card

About Sourdough Rye Bread

Course/Dish: Savory Breads
Main Ingredient: Bread
Regional Style: American
Hashtag: #rye flour

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