Sour Rye

I began baking rye bread when I first met my boyfriend. As a nervous new girlfriend, I wanted to impress him with a fresh, homemade loaf of bread, so I asked him what his favorite kind was. Rye with caraway was the reply. I had never made any sort of rye bread before so I ran back home, began researching, and fervently started a rye sourdough starter, hoping that it would be ready by the time I had promised a completed rye loaf. Since then, I have made many, many rye loaves, all slightly different, searching for the one that will satisfy my boyfriend’s palate. This one has been a success, not just with my boyfriend, but with many of my friends. It is sour, has a soft crumb, explodes in the oven, and is filled with delightful caraway seeds that add a complex and intriguing flavor.

The following recipe is adapted from the Back Home Bakery. (

Sour Rye


Sourdough Starter:

363 g rye flour
301 g water
17 g sourdough culture

Final Dough:

633 g white all-purpose flour
318 g water
17 g caraway seeds
17 g salt
3 g instant yeast
all of sourdough starter

Prepare the sourdough:
Dissolve the sourdough culture in the water. Mix in the rye flour until thoroughly combine. Let ripen 14-16 hours.

Final dough preparation:
Mix all final dough ingredient together. Knead until a medium-level of gluten development has been achieved. Let rise for 2 hours and 15 minutes with a fold at 45 and 90 minutes. Divide the dough into two pieces. Shape into batards or boules. Let rise for another 60 minutes. Bake at 425ºF for 15 minutes with steam and another 30 minutes without. Turn off the oven and leave loaves in with the door cracked for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let loaves cool completely on a wire rack before eating.

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