Whether it's a holiday or a regular weekday, we always make sure to have a fresh loaf of fragrant rye bread on hand. This is our go-to recipe to make fragrant, hearty sourdough rye bread without yeast. It stays fresh for long and is a healthy homemade alternative to the store-bought rye bread, as well as for those who prefer rye bread over wheat bread.
Why without yeast?
There have been quite a few discussions about whether yeast is good or bad for health. While in most cases, it might be safe to consume yeast in moderation, some people are allergic to yeast and might have stomach problems if they consume products that contain yeast. It should also be considered that consuming yeast in larger quantities might cause inflammation and weight gain.
There is also a practical aspect to it - if you have sourdough at home, you can always make fresh bread, not worrying about getting yeast and ensuring it's fresh and active. Of course, you also have to ensure your sourdough starter is fresh and active, but it doesn't require any extra effort if you bake bread on a regular basis.
The Magic of Homemade Bread
When you bake bread yourself, you can add your preferred seeds and grains, shape it to your desired form, and be confident that no unnecessary ingredients have been included. And your home gets filled with mesmerizing aroma of freshly baked bread at no extra cost!
This recipe will help you make delicious caraway rye bread, and you'll be surprised at how easy it is. You don't need to knead the dough or proof it multiple times - just one time is sufficient.
There are many different rye bread recipes on the web, many of which use flours other than rye. This is 100% rye flour bread. At the same time, you can adapt it to your taste by replacing, for example, a few tablespoons of rye flour with oat or wheat flour. The taste of the bread will slightly change, but it will still be delicious.
What is sourdough rye bread, and how is it different from regular rye bread?
Sourdough rye bread is a distinct type of bread that is made using rye flour and a natural fermentation process. Unlike ordinary rye bread that typically employs commercial yeast, this bread is raised using bacteria and yeast present in a sourdough starter.
Why make rye bread?
Rye bread is not just delicious but keeps you full for longer. For centuries, it has been a go-to choice to curb hunger and complement a hearty meal.
Rye bread is versatile and can be enjoyed anytime - whether it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You can also use it to make toasts, croutons, and various snacks like canapés.
This bread is high in fiber, promoting digestive function and numerous health benefits. It can help regulate blood sugar levels and promote a healthy heart.
Where to get the starter?
If you're just starting and this is your first sourdough bread, we suggest getting 8-10 tablespoons of ready, active starter for your first loaf from someone baking sourdough bread at home. In our country, we have online communities where people share sourdough starters with those seeking to make bread at home.
If you're not in a hurry and have enough patience, try making a sourdough starter from scratch. Please remember that you may not succeed immediately, and it may take some trial and error before you develop an active starter culture that guarantees optimal proofing.
The good news is that you can make rye sourdough starter also from a wheat starter. Feed the wheat starter with rye flour once or twice, and you'll have a perfect mixed starter ready.
How to store a starter?
Rye sourdough starter should be stored in a fridge until the next time you're baking rye bread. Store it in an air-tight container, like a glass jar with a lid. After some time (usually after a couple of weeks), the starter will start to stratify - a layer of watery liquid will form on the top. We suggest removing the fluid and feeding the starter at this point to ensure it remains active.
Basically, a starter can be kept in the fridge without feeding for up to 2 months, but it depends on various conditions, and we, therefore, suggest checking once in a while to see if there are no signs of mold. If so, you might need to discard it and seek a new one.
How and when to feed a sourdough starter?
To prevent any unpleasant surprises like mold growth on your starter, it's essential to feed it at least once a week or every other week. If you notice a strong sour smell or see that your bread isn't rising as much as usual, feeding your starter is essential.
None of this is applicable if you're an active baker and regularly feed your starter while baking bread.
To feed a starter, first, take it out of the fridge.
You may have heard of a suggestion to remove the starter from the fridge in the morning you plan to use it and leave it uncovered at room temperature for the entire day before feeding it in the evening. However, we have not observed any notable advantages to this method. Typically, starting the feeding process immediately after taking the starter out of the fridge works just as effectively.
Regarding feeding your starter, there are different ratios to choose from, each containing three numbers (for example, 1:4:4 or 1:1:1). These numbers correspond to the amount of starter, water, and flour used, respectively. The key is to use equal amounts of water and flour.
The amount of starter you use will affect the rising speed - using more starter will make the dough rise quicker. We like to use the ratio of 1:1:1 and add an equal weight of water and rye flour to the leftover starter from the previous feeding.
Once you've added the respective amount of water and flour and mixed it well to combine all the ingredients, leave the container at room temperature, lightly covered, preferably overnight. Once done, put it back in the fridge and keep it there until the next time you plan to bake bread.
Frequently Asked Questions
Rye bread typically has a lower glycemic index (GI) compared to white bread, which means it causes a slower and more gradual increase in blood sugar levels after consumption. It's therefore considered an excellent choice for people with diabetes (for a more detailed explanation, we suggest reading this post of the Diabetes Council).
It depends on the type of rye flour you're using. You can use regular rye flour, whole-grain rye flour, or a mix of both. We usually use regular rye flour with a bit of addition of 100% whole-grain rye flour (the so-called pumpernickel flour).
Rye bread is very versatile and can be used with various dishes. We LOVE a combo of freshly baked rye bread with garlic butter made by combining soft butter, minced garlic, a pinch of salt, and some fresh chopped dill. It goes well with various dishes, from soups (like a hearty and creamy tomato soup or a salmon soup) to grilled meat. It's also an excellent foundation for canapés and other appetizers.
Freshly baked sourdough rye bread can last up to a week or even a little longer. However, it always tastes the best in the first couple of days. If you can't consume the whole loaf of bread over a couple of days, we suggest cutting the loaf in half and freezing the other half. That way, you'll always have fresh rye bread at hand!
Yes, you can! And it won't compromise the taste or texture of the bread. Make plenty of it beforehand and thaw it whenever you need it. It's a life savior for busy moms or those on a tight work schedule!
This recipe has the benefit of not requiring any kneading. This gives you more freedom since you won't have to worry about scheduling multiple kneading sessions or cleaning up your kitchen counter after each one. All you need to do is mix the dough and let it rise in a warm place. It's as simple as that!
Easy Caraway Rye Bread (No Yeast, No Kneeding!)
- 500 ml warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 8 tablespoon sourdough starter
- 2 tablespoon seed mix
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 600 g rye flour
- The night before the day when you intend to bake the bread, take your sourdough starter from the fridge and transfer it to a medium-sized bowl. Add 500ml of warm water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and mix well. Then, add 350g of rye flour to achieve the thickness of kefyr or sour cream. Cover with a towel or a lid (don't have to seal it, cover it lightly instead), and leave it overnight.
- In the morning, stir the starter to achieve a uniform mixture. Transfer 8-10 tablespoon of the starter to a clean jar, put a lid on and keep it in the fridge until the next use.
- To the remaining amount of the starter, add 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds, and approx. 250g rye flour. Adjust the amount of flour if needed to achieve the desired thickness - when you take a spoonful of the dough, raise it and turn upside down, the dough should be thick enough not to fall off the spoon immediately but it should be moving very slow to fall off the spoon eventually.
- Grease the bread pan with soft butter and transfer the dough to the loaf pan.
- Level out the surface of the bread with a moist spoon and sprinkle the whole surface of the bread with a seed mix.
- Cover the loaf pan with a sheet of parchment paper and transfer to a pre-heated oven at 40 ℃ (104 ℉). Let it rise for approximately an hour.
- One an hour has passed, check if the bread has risen 1.5-2 times. If not, let ir rise for another half an hour. If it has increased in volume, increase the temperature in the oven up to 250 ℃ (482 ℉) and bake it for half an hour.
- Remove the parchment paper from the loaf pan, decrease the temperature to 195 ℃ (383 ℉) and bake for another 30 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the oven. If the bread is well done, it will fall out of the loaf pan easily. Transfer it to a baking rack, brush with soft butter, cover with a clean cotton or linen towel and leave it to cool down completely.
- Serve it with garlic butter for a rich and salty taste.
- Ensure your sourdough starter is fresh and active. Make sure to feed it regularly to maintain its properties.
- Ceramic loaf pans usually work best for rye bread ensuring perfect rising and taste.
- The indicated amount of flour in this recipe might change +/- 50g depending on the flour used and the liquidness of your sourdough starter. Aim at the right texture and thickness of the dough, not the exact grams.