100% rye bread

Rye bread often contains a certain percentage of wheat flour, that’s why we call it “Mischbrot” which means “Mixed Bread”. However, sometimes, people want a pure rye bread and this is the recipe you need for that.

German Sourdough bread

Because rye flour has almost no gluten, we usually add about 40% of wheat flour to a rye bread, so it has a better texture. However, it is possible to bake bread with 100% rye flour. This is a very delicious and rustic bread – perfect for people who want to reduce their wheat intake or who are gluten sensitive.

The Rye Bread

This bread will be a lot more dense than many store bought breads, which makes it great for sandwiches. Whether you want to enjoy it with jam or honey or go for something hearty – I recommend cheese ore salami – it tastes fantastic with either.

rustic German bread

The Sourdough

Like all breads with rye flour, this recipe needs a sourdough. You can make a sourdough from a sourdough starter and how this all works, is described in this article and video: https://mygerman.recipeshow-to-make-and-feed-sourdough-starter/

rye flour bread

The Rye Bread Dough

Be prepared for a very sticky dough! If possible, leave one hand clean in case you need to grab something – usually the phone rings the moment you have touched the dough ;-) – and work with the other hand on the dough.

Also very important to know: Clean all tools and bowls asap. If rye dough dries, it can be like concrete and difficult to clean off.

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Pure Rye Bread Recipe

Rye Bread with 100% Rye Flour

Pure Rye Bread with Sourdough
4.76 from 41 votes
Course Breakfast, Dinner, Snack
Cuisine German


Sourdough / Pre Dough

  • 60 g Sourdough Starter (see recipe on this blog)
  • 270 g Rye Flour
  • 300 ml Water
  • 6 g Salt

Bread Dough

  • 100 % of the Sourdough from above, made the day before
  • 300 g Rye Flour
  • 162 ml Boiling Water
  • 24 g Honey
  • 7 g Salt


Making The Sourdough

Making the Bread Dough

  • Put the 162 ml boiling water into a large bowl and add the rye flour, salt and honey and mix it all together.
  • Now add the Sourdough that you started the day before. If your sourdough starter is rather young and the sourdough seems to be not very active, add a little yeast to the dough.
  • Mix everything with your hands until all flour is incorporated.
  • Cover and let rise for an hour or until it has increased its size by one third.
  • Place a good amount of flour on a large board and put the dough on top of it.
  • Begin folding the dough from the top to the center, rotate it 90° and again fold the top of the dough to the center. Continue to do this until you made it two to three times around.
  • Dust a proofing basket or bowl with a thick layer of rye flour and put the dough into it.
  • Let rise until it has almost doubled its size (about 1 hour).
  • After the first 30 minutes: Preheat the oven to 250°C / 482 °F with the baking sheet in it.
  • When the hour is over: Flip the bread onto the hot baking sheet and place it in the oven. Then reduce the heat to 230°C / 446°F.
  • Bake for about 60 minutes or until the bread has the prefered color and sounds hollow if you knock on its bottom.
  • Let the bread cool completely before cutting it. Even better: Wait one day to increase the taste.
Keyword Bread
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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126 thoughts on “Sourdough Rye Bread (with 100% Rye Flour)”

  1. 5 stars
    What bread or buns can I make with the left
    Over sourdough? Recipe please! I hate
    To waste ! Thanks!

    1. I hate waste, too, and tried some things that I found on the internet. If you google it, you’ll find plenty of recipes but my experience is that it often have a rather strong taste if you don’t mix it with some more flour.

  2. 4 stars
    I am wondering if the starter needs to come out of the fridge and be fed before I use it. What is the timing on this? I too experienced a rather overdone loaf. The bottom is most hard to cut even. I want to make another loaf but need help with these two problems. Thank you!

    1. I think I answered the other question in the previous comment but for the hard crust on the bottom I wonder what kind of oven you have. It’s probably not a convection oven. I experience that problem when I bake in a cast iron pot, too. It is difficult to fix if there is much heat from the bottom. You could try and bake the bread on a higher rack in the oven. The color of the baking sheet can also play a role. Try a different colored baking sheet if you have.

  3. 5 stars
    I was so happy to read your 100% Rye bread. Just baked my first loaf today. I am wondering how much yeast should I add in? I added a tsp but the loaf still came out flatter than I’d like. Also, when using the sourdough starter from the fridge, does it have to be brought to room temp. before using? I was very impressed with how powerful the starter became before I refrigerated it.

    1. Hi Kelly,
      yes, the sourdough needs to have room temperature and it’s best practice to feed it the day or at least some hours before using it in the recipe. The yeast doesn’t do too much but will boost the sourdough a bit. Use like 2 grams of yeast if your sourdough is just some days or weeks old.

  4. 5 stars
    Hi Barbara. I happen to make all my starters with 100% rye flour and either use it as is or use some of it as inoculate for whole wheat starter. It makes a very robust starter that’s almost impossible to kill and ferments quickly. It even dries and rehydrates very well to make more or to share and is ready to bake after only three feedings.

    To dry, spread it out real thin on a Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet, and dry it in an oven set to “Proof.” Takes about 48 hours. Break it up, dry for another 8 hours then powder it in a blender then seal, freeze or vacuum store it.

    I love sourdough baking and plan on making this recipe because I’ve never worked with 100% rye, and this looks interesting.

    PS: I love your mixing bowls. Where can I get some? You have my email. Please let me know. Thank you.

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe is lovely! I battled to nurture a sourdough starter to life in my chilly basement flat in Scotland, but when she finally came round I gave this recipe a go and now make it on a weekly basis, usually split into two smaller loaves to provide to my friends, flatmate and landlady! As a Finn in the UK I was sorely missing rye bread, but now to be able to make it on my own feels like an superpower. I’ll also add that this is my weekday recipe as it such a hands-off dough! I have experimented with and without added yeast, with black treacle instead of honey, with added caraway and spices, and a spelt-rye combination dough, and it is a joy every single time. Thanks for sharing! Always thankful!

  6. Mona Ann Shifman

    Guten morgen! I will be starting my rye sourdough today. Have you ever made this bread in a form so it is square?

  7. I’m so confused, I followed all of the directions and my dough is so sticky and wet.. I feel like I will have to add so much more flour. What could have happened?

    1. Hi Candi, don‘t add more flour. This is just how rye flour is and the dough is sticky, yes. Watch the video and you‘ll see that my dough is just like that. Work with wet hands and it will not stick too much on your hands. Follow the recipe and trust it.

      1. Thank you! Is the video you are referring to “how to make and maintain a starter”, or am I just totally missing the recipe video

  8. Looks good, I’m looking forward to trying it out.
    I have 100% rye starter, so do I need 630 gms starter for the above recipe?
    Does the mixture of boiling water and flour lower the temperature enough so that the starter won’t be killed?

    1. Hi Brian,
      no, you use 60 g of the starter to make the sourdough (also called pre-dough). The flour and boiled water will not be too hot to kill the sourdough. Just make sure you mix those first, before you add the sourdough.

  9. 5 stars
    Retired, and sourdough bread beginner, I wanted to impress my Geman wife so had to try this – and it worked it was lovely! I followed and enjoyed the video but had to guess the time in the oven (I’ll check the website first next time). The advice and tips about making the sourdough, and adding yeast were very useful! Many thanks. Dedicated follower Robert

  10. The 60 gr starter you add , does it have to be active (that you have fed before adding it), or can you use one straight from the fridge ?

    1. I’ve found that feeding it prior to using it in the bread leads to a better outcome so I recommend feeding it as you suggested.

  11. My starter more than doubled in a bit over 7 hours, so I went ahead and started to make the dough.

    Your instructions in the video and written in the recipe are not the same, so I tried a combination of the two (let the dough rest for 30 min and then let it rise after the kneading process for about two hours, almost doubles.

    It is about to go in the oven and smells delicious. I’ll follow your advice and let it cool completely and wait until tomorrow to slice/eat.

    Do you suggest storing it in an airtight container or just leaving it on the counter once done baking?

    1. I would let it cool on the counter and then store it. Best for storing bread is a clay container. There are speciall bread containers from clay but very expensive, a flowerpot might be a cheaper alternative. Clay lets the bread “breath” and adjusts moisture. But a metal bread container is the second-best option. I also like to wrap my bread in a kitchen towel and then into some wax-fabric.

  12. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe a few times now, it’s very simple and easy and the bread turns out great every time.

  13. This 100% rye sourdough was the first sourdough I’ve ever made, turned out absolutely amazing, whole family loved it, my girls said it was like gold : ) I used a steam bath underneath and I baked a few degrees higher as we are at a high altitude here in Canmore, AB, Canada.

  14. hi I was just wondering if you can also use a dutch oven to bake this bread ? or is it better to use the baking sheet?
    thanks so much,

  15. Hi Barbara
    Please help, i love rye bread and your recipe seems nice and easy. I did try making your recipe, however these are what i added
    Black strap molasses (being vegan) and i thought i could give it a bit of a rise so i added 3/4 tsp of baking powder
    It was very sour and i had to discard the bread.
    My SD starter was nicely bubbly, but the bread was all flat.
    Do you think i could add a bit of yeast like you mentioned. What kind of yeast is that – looks like a cube.
    I do not mind the bread being dense. But due to the slow rising time i may just add a bit of yeast
    Please let me know how much and when to add it. (not comfortable with yeast addition due to health reasons)
    the store bought ones are nice and airy but has many unwanted ingredients.
    Do you think adding the yeast with the sourdough make it rise faster?
    Appreciate your kind help

    1. Hi Mira,
      It sounds like your sourdough is not very strong, maybe it is still young? Adding some yeast will help but in general, rye bread has its limits when it is made without additives and will never be fluffy. I would add about 3 to 5 g of dry yeast. The yeast cubes (fresh yeast) is not available in the US and most other countries.

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