This authentic German rye bread is made with sourdough and has many names: Some call it Mischbrot (mixed bread), some call it Graubrot (grey bread) and others call it Roggenbrot (rye bread), …
It is a mix of wheat and rye flour and has a rather malty taste compared to a white bread.
Because of that, it fits best with some cold cuts or cheese but it is also delicious with honey, jam or Nutella.
How to bake German Rye Bread
After watching the video you probably want to bake authentic German rye bread right away but unless you are the proud owner of a sourdough in your fridge, you will first have to make your own sourdough – which takes 3 days. Then you need another 24 hours for the pre-dough (or start-dough) until you can finally (“) bake your bread. But don’t worry: Once you have a sourdough, you can bake your bread almost right away. You just need to find your rhythm when to set up your pre-dough and then bake bread the next day.
How to make a Sourdough Step by Step
- In a medium sized bowl mix 50 g of wheat flour with 50 ml of luke warm water.
- Cover with cling wrap and set at a warm place (i.e. window sill).
- Take the dough from the day before and add another 50 g of flour and 50 ml lukewarm water.
- Cover with cling wrap and but back to the warm place.
- This time you add 100 g of flour and 100 ml lukewarm water.
- Cover with cling wrap and again set it at a warm place.
- Your sourdough is ready to use.
- Give the sourdough in a jar and close it with a lid.
- Place it in the fridge until you want to use it.
How to use sourdough
This part has confused me for a long time until I figured it out, so let me describe it very precisely so you get it the first time:
- When you want to bake with your sourdough, using a scale, you add 70g of it to a pre-dough or the bread dough (depending on the bread recipe).
- Put the jar with the remaining sourdough back into the fridge.
- The pre-dough stands at a warm place for 24 hours.
- After the 24 hours, using a scale, you take 70 g of that pre-dough and add it to the jar with your sourdough.
- Put the jar with the sourdough back into the fridge until you need it again.
- The remaining pre-dough is used to bake the bread.
So basically you borrow some of the sourdough to start a chemical reaction in the pre-dough which turns that batch into a sourdough and then you return some of that sourdough to your original sourdough. And everytime you do this, the sourdough in your jar will increase in taste and this will increase the taste of your bread. So don’t throw away your sourdough and make a new one just because it’s so much fun. Value your sourdough like a treasure and give it lots of love.
The Rye Bread
To bake a rye bread you will always also need wheat flour. The reason for this is, that the rye flour doesn’t contain enough gluten to make the dough stick together. Rye has been a main source of food in Europe for hundreds if not thousands of years. It is very resistant to cold weather. However, in the time that is called “the little ice age” the cold weather gave a fungus the best conditions to grow on the grains. This fungus was very unhealthy for the people but still better than starving. However, the side-effects of eating contaminated rye where like losing vision, hallucinations, violence, …
Today you don’t have to worry about that black fungus anymore. German rye bread is very healthy and contains a lot of magnesium, B-vitamins, zinc, iodine, and fluorine. It’s iodine even beats the amount that is in dairy or meat, the fluorine is almost as much as radish and more than double of what asparagus and three times of what chard contains.
But that’s not all: The sourdough in your rye bread helps your body to take in all the healthy components and increases your bone density – which is very important for women before, during and after menopause – by increasing your calcium intake. Do I have to write more to convince you that this bread is all you need for a happy, healthy life? Ok, here is one more thing you will like: German rye bread is great for a weight loss diet! It keeps you full for a long time, doesn’t put your blood sugar in a roller coaster and if you pair it with the right toppings like i.e. Quark (with herbs, salt, pepper and maybe garlic – mmmmmh!) it will help you to reach your goal quite fast! Try it: Have this bread for breakfast and dinner and see how your weight changes.
This rye bread recipe
This German rye bread recipe needs two days, let me break it down into easy steps for you: While on the first day you only mix 3 ingredients with a spoon and then set it aside – so not a lot of work. The second day you mix the remaining ingredients and add the mixture from the previous day. Then you let it rise and finally bake it. Not that difficult, right?
German Rye Bread with Sourdough: Mischbrot
For the Pre-Dough
- 265 g rye flour
- 280 ml lukewarm water
- 70 g sour dough starter (see recipe/ instructions in the text section)
For the bread dough
- 260 g rye flour
- 240 g wheat flour (all purpose or bread flour)
- 230 ml luke warm water
- 10 g salt
- ½ pouch dry yeast (= 7g)
- ½ tsp. bread spice , optional (https://wp.me/p6fEuJ-7C)
German Rye Bread Pre-Dough
- In a bowl mix 260 g of rye flour with 280 ml luke warm water.
- Add 70 g of your sourdough (see instructions for sourdough in the text area above)
- Stir, cover with cling wrap and set at a warm place for 24 hours.
Making the German Rye Bread Dough
- From the Pre-Dough take 70 g off and add it to your jar with the sourdough. Put that jar back into the fridge.
- In a large bowl mix 260 g rye flour and 240 g wheat flour.
- Add 10 g salt and the bread spice (optional).
- Crumble the yeast into the luke warm water and let stand for a few minutes.
- Add the water-yeast mix to the bowl and knead until you have a dough.
- Now add the pre-dough to the bowl and mix both doughs together.
- Put some flour on your countertop and put the dough on top of it.
- Start kneading by folding the dough from the sides to the center.
- Cover the surface of a proofing basket or a baking pan with flour and add the dough (smooth side down) to it.
- Cover with a dish towel and let stand for 60+ minutes - until it has increased it's size a lot.
- Preheat the oven to 465°F with the baking sheet inside.
- Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven.
- Add water to a caserol and place it on a lower rack in your oven.
- Put the bread (withour the proofing basket!) onto the hot baking sheet and place it in the oven.
- After 10 minutes reduce the oven temperature to 390°F and bake for another 40 minutes.
- About 10 minutes before the baking time is over, check if the bread is turning too dark. If so, cover it with aluminum foil for the last 10 miuntes.
- Let the finished bread cool, eat it warm with butter and later with whatever you like.
58 thoughts on “German Rye-Wheat Bread with Sourdough: Mischbrot”
I just baked the loaf from this recipe this evening and it turned out fantastic! The one change I needed to make was to use 120g starter in place of the dry yeast in the main dough. Being a very novice sourdough baker it was a good learning experience to make it work. The oven spring and crumb are good, it just turned out a little on the tart side for my taste but I count that as being due to the amount of starter I used in total. Still well edible though.
I will definitely make this recipe again. Since I won’t be using dry yeast, my ideas on reducing the tangy flavour would be to do a shorter ferment on the predough as mine was already quite ripe after 12 hours. Also I will lower the hydration of my starter when I prep for my next bake.
Oh, and I see why you machine mixed the dough. I mixed by hand and my, did I need to scrub my hands to get the dough off afterward. I had to laugh at myself.
I look forward to trying some other recipes on your site as I grew up in a German household and recognize a number of the dishes, cakes, cookies etc.
Vielen Dank für dieses Rezept!
if your bread has a tangy taste, it could also be that your sourdough is too acid. It can easily happen in the cold season. Read some more about that on my blog post about sourdough. I can also recommend the youtube channel “the bread code”, he really goes into detail about the sourdough topic.
Thank you for your response. My apologies if this double posts…an error and web page reload happened right when I selected to post the reply.
I believe you are right about my starter. It is about 15 weeks old, 100% dark rye. I am baking sourdough once a week for 12 weeks now and keep it refrigerated in between, and by now it is very fruity and acidic and really hits the nose.
Early in the week I decided to use 10 grams of that starter to create a high hydration white flour starter. Today I baked both this recipe and your white bread recipe using the starter and the loaves came out looking great. The sourdough flavours on each are mild and both have good texture. For the Mischbrot I did change the rye to white flour ratio to 1:3 and soaked all the rye flour overnight at 100% hydration rather than fermenting it. I made these changes in hope of getting some rye flour into my family and it worked, they love it! I really like the idea of getting us off of mass produced bread altogether and am working toward that.
Thanks very much for these great recipes, and also for the tip on @breadcode. He sure shares a wealth of experience with sourdough and much of what has gotten me to this point in sourdough baking I have learned from his videos.
Hello, i have been using a sourdough starter since covid arrived. Is it okay to use my regular all purpose flour starter in this recipe? I typically have to let it double after feeding it before using it in a recipe. Will it work for this recipe? I have a German daughter in law who has just recently moved here to the US and i would like to make her this bread. Thank you for your help.
yes, you can use your all purpose flour for the starter and double it.
I’m on day 3 of the starter and just now realized after reading other comments that you used regular wheat flour for the starter and I’m using whole wheat flour. My question is will it make a difference on what kind of wheat flour I use?
Don’t worry, if your starter has worked out, it doesn’t matter what flour you used for it. Just go ahead and go with the recipe ?
Thank you Barbara,
Now it’s day 4 and am just now starting to see some bubbles, do you think I should leave it out for another 24hrs?
It might be a good idea to dischard half if it and feed it again. Maybe your house is rather cold and it takes a little longer.
Thank you Barbara for all your help, I have a couple more questions. How will I know if my sourdough is ready to use without the added yeast? And do I have to keep the sourdough in the fridge or can I discard and feed it every day and keep it out?
I’m not sure if there is a specific trick on how to know if the sourdough is ready to be used without extra yeast. I guess you will have to try it out without and see if the bread rises well enough. I often read the concerns of adding yeast to the sourdough but you should know that natural yeast is already part of the sourdough.
Keeping the sourdough out all the time and feeding/discarding daily sounds very wasteful to me but maybe if you bake a lot or use the discarded sourdough in pancakes … maybe one can do that, I don’t know.
I am about to attempt your recipe, however, I already have rye starter in the fridge (for other breads I make).
If I choose to use my fridge sourdough, how many grams will I need? (I’m guessing 70g, correct?)
70 g should be right.
I am from Germany but live in the US for almost 25 years. Still graving authentic German bread, as the next “true” bakery is about 200 miles away, I figured to use my time as a fresh retiree to get into bread making. First time ever! So I searched for bread baking, found your site and decided to give it a try. I had to handhold the sourdough a bit, moving it around in my house to find the best spot for it to feel comfortable breathing, growing and become my friend. It took about 5 days, but then it looked like I could use it. I didn’t really know, but it had bubbles and smelled sour. So that’s good for a sour dough – I figured. Then on to the pre-dough. Well, same thing. It took some massaging, trying different temperatures from microwave with the lamp on, to oven with the lamp off, to closet in the bathroom. Finally, I found out that it really liked the floor heating in bathroom. I just had to remember where I had put it so to not step on it. But it made it, doubled in size and came out creamy, almost puffy. Smelled good too. Next day, on to the main thing! Again, since I have never done this before, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the dough dripping off my fingers after mixing the puffy pre-dough with the main body. Consulting my wife, she just threw a handful of flower on it, then another one, and voila – here was my dough. Not too to dry, not too wet, slightly elastic. It took about 10, maybe 15 minutes of giving it a good bashing and smashing from left to right, up and down, across, around and everything in-between. Then I put it in the oven, which I had converted into a pizza oven style thing with pizza stones on the bottom and the sides (It’s a gas stove, so I had to keep the top and back open) Forty minutes later: One of the most delicious rye breads I have had in a very very long time! Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. I had added some bread spice and 6 grams of salt. We had half of the loaf tonight for dinner. Thanks so much for the recipe. Spot on! I am in German bread heaven. :)
This sounds like quite some adventure! Bread baking is a wonderful hobby and very rewarding. The more bread one bakes, the better one gets though I have to admit that sometimes my bread fails – especially if I am baking in a rush. But I enjoy the process very much. I hope you keep up the good baking, there are many great recipes out there.
I don’t know what I’m doing wrong but mine didn’t want to rise very much. The outside is rock hard and the inside is too dense. I want to cry ? what am I doing wrong? I think I need to start over from scratch ? is there a video on what the sour dough starter is supposed to look like and the predough and all that. That would be so helpful if I could see it all
Omg I totally missed the video ??
OK but question then. I’m definitely seeing that my starter did not turn out to start with so starting over. But in the recipe it says use wheat and I’m seeing you’re using regular flour? Also the recipe says after 10 minutes turn oven down to 390 but in the video you say 290. I’m just trying to get it right as I do miss German bread ?
sorry your first bread didn’t turn out so well, that happens but it’s great that you don’t give up.
So, the wheat question: wheat flour is the same as regular flour. I just used the word Wheat because the rest of the recipe later, also involves rye. You can make a starter from rye, too, but I often feel like it’s easier to make just one wheat flour starter for all kinds of bread, no matter what flour is used for the bread later.
With the temperature, I misspoke in the video and there is, unfortunately, no way to fix this later. Please stick to what I wrote down in the recipe here.
Rye bread is difficult to rise and it might take some weeks and loaves of bread before you have the result you are hoping for. In general, it is more compact than other bread. You could use more of the wheat and less of the rye to get a better result in terms of rising.
Thank you for all of your amazing recipes! I cannot wait to try so many of them. I have been baking with sourdough for about a year now and can’t wait to try some of your bread recipes that use starter instead of yeast. I love German breads and baked goods. I’m hoping to see if you have a butter cookie recipe. My husband used to know a lady that grew up and lived in Germany until she was a mature adult. She would make him small butter cookies and schnitzel. I am excited to find authentic recipes that I can hopefully help recreate some of those memories for him. He said she was one of the best cooks he ever knew. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thank you!!!
Hi Ms. Barbara,
I am so glad I stumbled across your site!! I have been looking for a recipe for Mischbrot since we left Germany. We lived in Hochberg in the late 70’s. My sons were 8 and 2 yrs at the time. We fell in love with the Mischbrot. The boys would go to the bakery down the street every 2-3 days to get a half loaf. They also would come home with armful of other goodies from the baker or fruits and candies from our neighbors along the way. We did not have to worry for the boys in those days. I can’t wait to bake this bread. I am also looking forward to see what other German goodies you will be making. Thanks for sharing. Patti
Hello, how would I alter the instructions if I didn’t want to use dry yeast? After putting so much effort into creating a sourdough starter, I’d like to stick only with that. Thank you. Your recipes look excellent!!
You can simply leave the yeast out but when your sourdough starter is fairly new, it might not have enough power to really rise the bread well so maybe use the yeast for the first few loaves and then leave it out once the starter has enough strength.
Hi Barbara I finally did it! Very crunchy outside, soft inside, very aromatic. I don’t have mixer so it was hard to put dough together by hand. I had to use lot of flour. Thank you for fun time!
Thank you so much for this recipe! I have been missing Germany so much (especially now during quarantine, when our passports are basically worthless), but this was SO amazing and transported me right back!
I am happy this recipe could get you some German comfort :-) German Bread is, what all Germans abroad miss the most. There is just nothing like it.
I love your recipe for rye bread! I am having a bit of trouble with how long to mix the dough since I dont have a mixer. Also how long should I knead it?
the kneading time by hand depends a little bit on how persistent you are kneading. For me, it takes 10 minutes, just like the machine. Since this bread has a good part of rye, which doesn’t contain a lot of gluten, the kneading is mostly for the wheat content in the dough. I would suggest you check if the consistency of the dough is smooth and somewhat stretchable without immediately ripping apart.
I hope this will help.
Hi, Barbara. I ran across your video on youtube and made a loaf. I had to make the starter so it took about 4 days. It was well worth it. I had one small mistake: I mixed my yeast into my dry ingredients before waking it up in the warm water! When I checked on the bread dough after the first hour of proofing, it wasn’t nearly big enough and that’s when I realized my mistake. I ended up proofing it another 2 hours and it seemed to about double in size so I was satisfied. Maybe it the mischbrot came out a little dense, but it might have been right. Anyway, it was a great loaf of bread and I’ll use the recipe again for sure. Here’s me cutting a slice.
Awesome, it will be better next time, especially if you feed your sourdough starter the day before you mix the sour dough. The sourdough will increase in strenght and the yeast will become less important for the rising of the dough. Keep baking!
… and I love the video! Thank you for sharing your success!
Hi! I just found you site and love it! One question, I have made quite a bit of sourdough bread, and have never seen a recipe that has yeast as an ingredient. Is it really necessary?
You can leave the yeast out if your sourdough is aged and strong enough. In this recipe, the sourdough was just a few days old and not strong enough.
Thank you for sharing your recipe. I am a German transplant to the US (for 25 years now) and I am just getting started with sourdough baking. I made a Mischbrot today following a different recipe (https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/jeffreys-sourdough-rye-bread-recipe) and it came out great, but in my research I stumbled across your videos and recipes and will try this one next.
Two quick question: Do you use whole grain rye flour? And do you have thoughts/suggestions on any variations of maybe making a Koernerbrot or using some other types of flour in addition to rye and wheat?
the rye flour that I am currently using is this one: https://amzn.to/2KYekaf … yes, it is a big sack of rye flour because I got tired of searching for it at the groceries. It is really difficult t find here where I live. There is a recipe on my blog for a Körnerbrot https://mygerman.recipeswholegrain-bread-multigrain-bread-schwarzbrot/ I guess that is what you are looking for.
Other flours one can use for bread is spelt flour (it’s a very sensitive flour, I’ll soon make a video about using it) or barley flour, oat flour. They can’t always just be exchanged for wheat flour though.
Thank you, Barbara. Looking forward to more recipes.
I’ve been looking for and testing different rye bread recipes to replace bread our family buys at the russian store called “german bread” since it is $5 a loaf each time and I like making bread!
I am doing a hybrid recipe of your recipe and a slightly different technique that I’m hoping turns out.
Here’s what I’m doing:
Predough: 1tsp dry yeast, 260g wheat flour (i am using indian atta because it’s what i have), & 260mL water –> let sit overnight
Sourdough: 70-100g starter (I have a runny one), 260g rye flour, & 280mL water –> let sit overnight
Final Dough: mix the 2 doughs from above, then adding remainder of ingredients; 240g high gluten (bread) flour, 10g salt, & a few tablespoons molasses. I’m saving the bread spices to sprinkle on top in case others don’t like it.
Knead(not sure how long), Proof, Shape, Rise, Bake
Then, I will be using a dutch oven to bake the bread. I’ll be doing 465F 15 min with the lid on, then 390F 35-40 min with the lid off. (I shifted the total time to have more time with steam since we like a crispy crust)
That’s my plan using your recipe but with a different technique that I used from a different german bread recipe where I had success. If you try it, let me know or if you notice something I need to do so I don’t ruin it, feel free to let me know!
Thank you for the recipe and video, it’s helping me get better!
This sounds fantastic! The pre-dough you are making is for the autolyze and increases the taste and helps with the texture of the bread. I will probably introduce my viewers to this technique in one of my next bread recipes. Let me know how you liked your bread.
Hi Christine, what a great teaching! Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I just made my bread and it’s the best ever and so tasty. My oven is a very old one with a difficult temperature control. The bottom crust is a bit thick and hard. Is it an option to use a stone inside the oven?
Whatever works for you! I sometimes put the rack a little higher if the bottom heat is too strong. I guess you will have to experiment a little with it.
Greetings from Texas!
I must tell you that it is essential that you keep your dutch oven closed the first 35-40 minutes, and only THEN uncover the bread.
I’m thinking of trying this out (and hoping the dried Austrian sourdough starter I bought some time ago hasn’t died). In the photos, it looks as though you used a Brotform–is that correct? I remember Mischbrot from the time I worked in Schwäbisch Gmünd. We visit Germany every couple of years or so (but had to cancel this year’s visit because of the pandemic). We visited Hamburg in 2018.
this is the bread that I bake a lot these days. I would recommend making a fresh sourdough if you are planning on baking more often. I have a complete video for the making of and caring for sourdough on my channel.
I didn’t use a brotform for the baking but I used a proofing basket before the bread went into the oven. I just flip the bread onto the hot baking sheet once the proofing is finished. Watch the video, that will help you to understand the process a little better.
There is also a video on my channel for making a 100% rye bread. You might be interested in that one, too.
Have fun baking!
Just made this sourdough mischbrot…. really lovely.
Living in the UK and not going to Germany much, I really miss the bread baked in a little shop in Dillenburg. When I did go, I use to bring back about 6 loaves. So I am so glad to come across your receipe.
The crust though was crispy but hard. I did place a tray of water in the oven when baking. What do I need to do to make the crust softer? Many thanks Jonathan
For a softer crust, don’t use the tray of water. The high humidity in the oven makes the crust. If you don’t like that, just leave it out. For a bread that is baked for a shorter time, one can also mix some egg whites with a little water and brush that onto the bread before baking. Makes a nice, soft crust. I hope this will help.
I am baking this bread tomorrow for New Year’s Day. Can’t wait to try it. Your directions are very clear and I followed them exactly so I have high hopes. Thank you.
Just made this sourdough mischbrot…. absolutely delicious, couldn’t resist cutting a couple of slices. This is the second time I have baked it, but this time I used a proofing basket so I have a pretty pattern. I’ve also made sourdough rye bread twice.
That sounds fantastic! I also have made a video about a pure rye bread but still have to do the post-production. I think it will be out in January. Keep up the great baking!
Hi and thank you for your video. I haven’t tried it yet as I’m not sure which rye flour you used. Is it white or dark rye flour as I’ve found they are very different
I find that the lighter rye flour is better for bread but I can’t always get it, so I use whatever rye flour I can get my hands on. Both will work but the lighter version worked better for me.
I tried making the bread again and this time it’s very gummy inside. Any idea what I might have done wrong?
I’m sorry to hear that. I can only guess.
Did the bread rise properly before you put in in the oven?
When you got it out of the oven, did you knock on the bottom to find out if it sounds hollow? If it doesn’t sound hollow, it’s not ready to be taken out and needs to bake longer.
These are the two things that come to my mind that could make a bread gummy. Also, I’ve heard that one can overknead a dough. Is that a possibility?
I know this is a later post but I was reading through comments. A sourdough blog I was reading, when I first started baking with sourdough, said the bread continues to cook as it cools. It said not to slice open the bread until it is completely cooled. Once I tried this I no longer had gummy bread. Yeast bread I have never had to wait to slice.
What brand of flours do you use and, if unusual, where can I purchase them?
I buy the rye flour at Whole Foods or Central Market. Both have it loose and I have to fill it into a container. Unfortunately there is no brand name that I am aware of. For the wheat flour I just use any brand of regular flour or bread flour. I am more likely to look for organic brands than others, though. But I have not settled on a specific brand o far.
B, I spent 8 yrs in Germany when Hahn AB was active….became addicted to misch brott! You can imagine how happy my wife and I were to find this recipe. I made everything according to the instructions but my results seemed to be a bit heavier than yours – my starter looked more like dough whereas yours was a bit more soupie, same with the predough. Is it ok to add more water without messing things up? Thanks John
I am sorry the bread didn’t work out as expected. I very much know that feeling and I want to encourage you to keep trying. Cooking and baking are not just the mix of ingredients, it’s also a mix of technic and experience – both develop over time. As of the sourdough: Yes, you can add a little more water. It might be that your flour had a different quality and soaked more water. What kind of flour did you use?
Thanks for replying. I used ground rye and wheat. Been baking for years and never had something this far off of the demo….trying again today. Thanks.
Hi Barbara, just started my predough today. Question- once the bread is mixed and in the proofing basket, can I place it in the refrigerator overnight to continue proofing and then bake the following morning? Can’t wait to have a slice with the “kefir” quark and plaumenmus I made ! Both turned out great! Thanks for the recipes and bringing a piece if home to me ?
Yes, that should work but no guarantee. Enjoy your German breakfast tomorrow :-)
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