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Aug 2, 2015

Rugbrød - Danish Rye Bread

Rugbrød - Danish Rye Bread

Rugbrød is a Danish dark rye bread that contains two naturally leavened preferments (containing sourdough starter). It is heavy and dense, and is traditionally baked as a long loaf. The traditional version of this bread contains rye chops, which are cracked rye berries. If you cannot find rye chops, you can use a multigrain mix, such as Bob's Red Mill. It also contains ground fennel seeds and blackstrap molasses.

If you like rye, you will love this bread. It is so full of flavor!

Rugbrød - Danish Rye Bread

The original recipe calls for baking the bread in a 13 inch Pullman pan, which is a tall narrow pan with a lid, usually used to make pain de mie. If you do not have a Pullman pan, you can easily use a 10 inch by 5 inch 2 pound loaf pan, or two one pound loaf pans with foil to cover the loaves.

Rugbrød - Danish Rye Bread

After baking, this bread requires 24 to 48 hours to cure before slicing. This bread is not for those who have issues with delayed gratification!

My favorite way to eat this bread is toasted with Boursin cheese, smoked salmon, thinly sliced red onions, capers, and perhaps a bit of fresh dill. The salmon and cheese are the perfect foil for the strong flavor of the bread. It has become my new favorite breakfast.

Rugbrød - Danish Rye Bread

Thinly sliced, toasted, and cut into quarters, this also makes an amazing appetizer.

A few things about this bread:

  1. You will need a 100% hydration sourdough starter that has been fed within the last 48 hours.  
  2. This bread takes a couple of days to make. The first day to create the rye sour, levain, and soaker, and the second day to make the final dough. 
  3. You will need a stand mixer to mix this dough. 

Rugbrød - Danish Rye Bread Recipe


Rye Sour - Made 12 to 15 hours prior to the final dough

300 g whole rye flour
245 g water
55 g sourdough starter

Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl with a dough whisk or large spoon until you have a fully incorporated dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 12 to 15 hours.


103 g bread flour
103 g water
14 g sourdough starter

Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let ferment for 8 to 10 hours. 


75 g rye chops
150 g water

Mix the ingredients in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit overnight at room temperature. 

Final Dough

130 g bread flour
200 g whole rye flour
180 g water
2.5 g instant yeast
16 g salt
All of the soaker
All of the rye sour
All of the levain
15 g blackstrap molasses
4.5 g whole fennel seeds, coarsely ground


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix all of the ingredients with the dough hook on slow for about 4 minutes, then increase the speed to medium, and mix for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will be very sticky. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  3. Spray a 13 inch Pullman pan with spray oil, and sprinkle it with rye flour. Scrape the dough into the pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the top with whole rye flour. Cover the dough with the lid of the pan, and let rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until the dough reaches about 1 inch below the top of the pan. 
  4. Bake the loaf at 500 degrees with the lid on for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and continue baking for 15 more minutes with the lid on. 
  5. Remove the lid and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Bake for an additional 45 minutes, until the bread reaches about 200 to 205 degrees F internally. 
  6. Remove the bread from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Let the bread sit for 24 to 48 hours to cure before slicing. 
This recipe is slightly adapted from the book From the Wood-Fired Oven by Richard Miscovich. Much of the book is devoted to cooking in wood-fired ovens, but he also adapts his amazing recipes for home ovens as well. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. Nice and dense. perfect with salmon! I wish I could have a slice!

  2. My heart missed several beats... first, I LOVE this type of bread, second, I have a Pullman loaf, third, I want this bread. RIght now... .wait, what's with the delayed gratification?????


    I am leaving on a trip this weekend, cannot get to this bread until we come back. This is heartbreaking....

    1. I was so happy to be able to use the Pullman =)

      Be strong Sally, be strong!

  3. This looks amazing! It sounds like it takes so much dedication to make it, but so worth it all!

  4. Karen, I could kick myself! I am laughing of course, because it is so silly that I did not remember!

    but better late than never... once I get my rye chops in the mail, I will attack this bread - your recipe is so much more detailed than any other


    1. No worries!! Perhaps I could tempt you with Richard Miscovich's book too..... =)

  5. Oh, this sounds so much like my grandmother's bread. I'm going to have to get out my Danish dough whisk and make some for my dad. Tak!


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