Light Rye

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Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner's Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal KneadingConfession: Initially, I assumed that rye in sourdough would make everything taste like pastrami sandwiches. You know that classic rye bread taste? Don’t get me wrong pastrami sandwiches are tasty. But after a few experiments, I quickly learned that rye flour is quite mild on its own. It’s everything else going on in rye bread, caraway seeds included, that defines its characteristic taste. Rye pairs perfectly with sourdough, and I encourage you to give it a go. Try this loaf warm or toasted with a slice of cheddar and a dab of apricot jam.

About the Dough: This recipe uses white or light rye, which is different than whole rye flour. It’s lighter in color and not as coarse in texture. Rye is also low in gluten, so here it’s combined with bread flour for structure and height. This dough tends to ferment quickly, so keep your eye on it as it begins to rise.

  • Yield: 1 Loaf


  • 50 g (¼ cup) bubbly, active starter
  • 365 g (1½ cups plus 1 tsp) warm water
  • 20 g (1 tbsp) honey
  • 106 g (1 cup) white rye flour
  • 400 g (3⅓ cups) bread flour
  • 9 g (1½ tsp) fine sea salt
How to Make It
  1. A few days before baking, feed your starter until bubbly and active. Store at room temperature until ready to use.
  2. Make the dough
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the starter, water, and honey together with a fork. Add the flours and salt. Mix to combine, then finish by hand to form a rough dough. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes. Replenish your starter with fresh flour and water, and store according to preference.
  4. After the dough has rested, work it into a fairly smooth ball, about 15 seconds.
  5. Bulk rise
  6. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise at room temperature until double in size. This will take about 6 to 8 hours at room temperature, about 70°F (21°C). Optional Step: About 30 minutes into the bulk rise, stretch and fold the dough for added structure and height. Repeat this technique, about 2 to 3 sets, spaced 45 minutes apart.
  7. Shape
  8. Remove the dough onto a well-floured work surface. Shape the dough into a round or oval and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Line an 8-inch (20-cm) bowl or 10-inch (25-cm) oval proofing basket with a towel and sprinkle with flour. With floured hands, gently cup the dough and tighten to your desired shape. Place the dough into your proofing vessel, seam side up.
  9. Second rise
  10. Cover the dough and let rest until puffy but not fully risen, about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on temperature. Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C). Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit the size of your baking pot.
  11. Score
  12. Place the parchment over the dough and invert the proofing vessel to release. Sprinkle the dough with flour and rub gently to coat. Choose a scoring pattern from or, if you prefer, make one long cut down the length of the loaf. Then use the parchment to transfer the dough into the baking pot.
  13. Bake
  14. Bake the dough on the center rack for 20 minutes, covered. Remove the lid, and continue to bake for 30 minutes. Lift the bread out of the pot, and finish baking directly on the rack for the last 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 1 hour before slicing.
  15. This loaf will stay fresh up to 1 day stored at room temperature in a plastic bag.

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