Sourdough Whole Wheat Rye Bread

This recipe came out of my search for a traditional sourdough rye bread with no white flour. Its a 50/50 blend of whole wheat and dark rye flours with an 87% hydration. It has enough whole wheat flour to lighten the crumb without sacrificing the earthy rye notes. I believe even the novice bread maker could achieve good results with a dutch oven and an active rye starter.

Active rye starter

I won’t get into the nitty gritty on sourdough bread in this post. There are a few great books on this. I learned my techniques from Ken Forkish’s Flour Water Salt Yeast. To become a proficient baker, one must bake a lot, and I have.

Yields two ~900g boules


500g whole wheat flour
500g dark rye flour
800g water 85-90F
140g rye starter, 100% hydration
90g molasses
22g sea salt
15g caraway seed


Autolyse 2-3 hours.

Add starter, molasses, salt and caraway seed. This dough is wet and sticky. Keep your hand wet while working the dough. I keep a bowl of room temperature water next to my mixing bowl to dip my hand into.

Bulk ferment 12-18 hours, until approximately tripled in size. Time will vary based on the temperature of your kitchen.

Give your dough 2-3 folds during the first two hours of bulk fermentation.

Dough after first fold

When your dough is about tripled in size, its ready to be shaped. Gently ease your dough from its bowl or tub onto a lightly floured surface. I use a plastic bread scraper.

Dough after 18 hours

Shape into a ball and let rest for 10 min, then place in a well floured proofing basket. You can improvise with a well floured tea towel inside of mixing bowl.

Preheat your oven to 475F with your dutch oven or bread cloche inside.

I’ve found that this bread doesn’t need to proof more than 30 min. Always do the finger dent test to be sure your loaf is sufficiently proofed.

Gently invert your loaf onto a lightly floured surface and carefully remove your hot dutch oven or bread cloche from the oven. I sprinkle a little semolina flour on the bottom of my bread cloche to prevent sticking. Parchment paper or all purpose flour works too.

Place your bread in, score an “X” across the top of the loaf, put the dutch oven lid on and place in your heated oven.

Bake 30 min with the lid on.

Remove lid.

Bake an additional 10-15 min with the lid off, until the top of the loaf ears start to turn black and crispy.

Remove from the oven. Let cool for at least an hour before cutting, ideally 24 hours for best flavor.

Store in a plastic bag on the counter for at least a week. Stays well for months sliced and frozen.

4 thoughts on “Sourdough Whole Wheat Rye Bread

  1. Hi Chelsey, was wondering how dense this bread is, chef for many years but only getting into sourdough breads for my site. Would be worried at using wholemeal and rye, do I need to be a lover of rye flour!


    1. This bread isn’t terribly dense. It slices nicely, so thin slices would be the way to go. The molasses and caraway give it a nice rich flavor. If you want to lighten it up, feel free to add some all purpose flour, but I’d use less water in that case to compensate. Happy baking!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m new to sourdough baking and was afraid to make this bread but to my surprise it turned out beautifully! The smell took over the entire house, it was hard to let the bread rest before slicing it. I feel like a pro, total success! I will be making this again and again, thank you for sharing this recipe!


  3. I’m so happy you had success with my recipe. In the early days of sourdough making, every loaf feels like a win.

    Try making bread pudding with any leftovers. I love this bread for toast and sandwiches.


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