Homemade Rye Bread Recipe

Rye bread dates back to the Middle Ages, with variations coming from Northern and Eastern Europe. In Germany and the U.S., rye bread's malty, earthy flavor is often augmented with caraway seeds, which gives rye bread a distinctive taste that's different from other seeded breads. This recipe for easy no-knead rye bread is more traditional (meaning, no seeds) and was developed by Mark Beahm, whose blog, The Sunday Baker, revels in the joys rustic European baking. Beahm was raised in Maine, where he told us "there was only one bakery in my hometown at the time that specialized in European bread and pastries." 

He now lives in London and shares his passion for the food, culture, and history of the European countries he's visited. Beahm's no-knead bread couldn't be simpler and will reward your minimal effort with a bread that has a rick, dark crust and soft and chewy interior. "I always wanted to learn to bake a loaf like that," Beahm said, "This bread is almost foolproof, and yet it will get you most of the way to that perfect loaf." Prep time for this recipe literally takes 5 minutes, and after that, you just let the flour and yeast do its thing. Once it's risen, you bake it in a Dutch oven, and 50 minutes later, you'll turn out a rye bread you'd swear a professional baker baked.

Gather together the ingredients for rye bread

The recipe calls for bread flour  not all-purpose flour  as well as rye flour. Beahm uses dark rye, which has a bold and molasses-like taste. If you're a newbie to rye, then a medium rye flour is a Goldilocks "just right" rye: It has a lighter texture and an assertive, but not overpowering, taste. 

You can still make this no-knead recipe if you can't find rye flour or prefer to use something else. "This recipe is pretty flexible," Beahm said. "You can substitute it with whole wheat flour or just use all white bread flour. You'll still have a delicious loaf of bread." The remaining ingredients are just instant dried yeast, salt, and water. Measure out the ingredients, and you're ready to go.

Step 1: Mix the dough

Stir together the flours, salt, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and mix until no bits of dry flour remain. The dough will be very sticky.

Step 2: The first rise

Cover the bowl with plastic and let the dough rise at room temperature overnight until the dough has doubled in size, about 12 to 18 hours.

Step 3: Shape the loaf

Generously dust a work surface with flour. Tip the bowl slightly and use a rubber spatula or your fingertips to gently remove the dough from the bowl onto your work surface without tearing it. Lightly flour your hands and gently fold the dough into itself, shaping it into a ball.

Step 4: The second rise

Generously dust a tea towel with flour and gently place the dough onto the towel, seam side down. Loosely fold the towel over the dough and place it in a small mixing bowl. Leave it to rise until it is almost doubled, about 1 to 2 hours.

Step 5: Heat the oven

Half an hour before the dough has finished its second rise, put a rack in the lower third of the oven, set a Dutch oven on the rack, and preheat to 475 F.

Step 6: Bake the loaf

Use oven mitts to carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and remove the lid. Use the tea towel to gently invert the dough into the Dutch oven with the seam side facing up. Be careful; the pot will be very hot. Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

Step 7: Brown the loaf

Remove the lid from the Dutch oven, then continue baking until the bread is a dark golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes longer.

Step 8: Slice and serve the rye bread

Carefully lift the bread out of the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack. Let the loaf cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

What is the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour?

When making this loaf, you might be tempted to swap out the bread flour for all-purpose flour. While you'll be able to get away with it and still have a serviceable loaf, we definitely recommend going the extra step and using bread flour. This specific type of flour has a higher protein content than the all-purpose stuff and allows the dough to rise higher. Bread flour's protein creates more gluten, which results in the desired chewy texture when the bread is baked. 

And don't let the name fool you: Bread flour is good for so much more than just making bread. Bread flour is the secret ingredient in Alton Brown's delectable chocolate chip cookies, creating an extra chewy texture. It's also great for making fresh pasta or noodles, as that higher protein count (i.e. more gluten) creates a bouncy noodle with just the right amount of bite. Basically, if chewy is what you're after, bread flour is your friend.

Can you make gluten-free rye bread?

Technically speaking, no, you cannot make a gluten-free version of rye bread. That's because rye flour is, as the name suggests, an essential element of rye bread, and rye flour is, by nature, glutinous. Those with a gluten sensitivity, while we're not exactly sure what led to you clicking on this recipe in the first place, fret not! There are some tips and tricks you can consider to make your own gluten-free bread that's at least reminiscent of a rye loaf, even if it's not the real deal.

When it comes to the gluten-free flour to use, consider an option that mimics the notes you get from rye bread, like nuttiness and a hint of malt. Oat flour and brown rice flour are both solid picks that will give you a similar effect. A hit of cocoa powder will also create some depth (as well as that dark color associated with rye). And while this particular recipe doesn't include caraway seeds, they will definitely give you strong rye bread vibes in your gluten-free version.

Homemade Rye Bread Recipe
5 from 513 ratings
No need to head to your local bakery for a loaf of rye bread. This no-knead rye recipe delivers a delicious and stunning loaf that you'll swear a pro baked.
Prep Time
14
hours
Cook Time
50
minutes
Servings
12
servings
 rye bread home baked
Total time: 14 hours, 50 minutes
Ingredients
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup dark rye flour
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon instant dried yeast
  • 1-½ cups water
Directions
  1. Stir together the flours, salt, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and mix until no bits of dry flour remain. The dough will be very sticky.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic and let the dough rise at room temperature overnight until the dough has doubled in size, about 12 to 18 hours.
  3. Generously dust a work surface with flour. Tip the bowl slightly and use a rubber spatula or your fingertips to gently remove the dough from the bowl onto your work surface without tearing it. Lightly flour your hands and gently fold the dough into itself, shaping it into a ball.
  4. Generously dust a tea towel with flour and gently place the dough onto the towel, seam side down. Loosely fold the towel over the dough and place it in a small mixing bowl. Leave it to rise until it is almost doubled, about 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Half an hour before the dough has finished its second rise, put a rack in the lower third of the oven, set a Dutch oven on the rack, and preheat to 475 F.
  6. Use oven mitts to carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and remove the lid. Use the tea towel to gently invert the dough into the Dutch oven with the seam side facing up. Be careful; the pot will be very hot. Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid from the Dutch oven, then continue baking until the bread is a dark golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes longer.
  8. Carefully lift the bread out of the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack. Let the loaf cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 159
Total Fat 0.8 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 32.2 g
Dietary Fiber 3.4 g
Total Sugars 0.4 g
Sodium 173.7 mg
Protein 5.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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