This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please visit the disclosures and privacy policy page.
May 12, 2020

Light Rye Sourdough Bread

This light rye sourdough bread is crusty and chewy with a mild sourdough flavor.

Light Rye Sourdough Bread slices

This light rye sourdough is made with white rye flour and bread flour. The white rye flour adds a mild rye flavor, and the bread flour adds structure.

Rye flour is low in gluten, which normally results in a fairly dense bread, especially when there is a high percentage of rye. For example, this rugbrød, or Danish rye has a high percentage of rye and a denser crumb.

The ratio of rye to bread flour in this bread is about 1.5 to 4, and the bread flour, which is high in protein, adds strength to the dough and loft to the bread.

Plus, I got an elusive bread ear!!

Light Rye Sourdough Boule

White (or light) rye flour has had the bran sifted out and is not a whole grain. It's the rye equivalent to all purpose flour. I've only been able to find it online, and usually keep a bag or two in my garage freezer. You can also substitute medium rye in this bread for good results.

When you first begin to work with rye, you will notice that it behaves very differently than wheat flour, particularly when kneading. It can become gummy, and almost clay-like.

I learned to work with it by baking my way through Peter Reinhart's book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice. There are several rye recipes in the book along with lots of tips and lessons. If you are starting on a bread baking journey, get the book. I made every-single-recipe.

Light Rye Sourdough Bread crumb shot

If you keep a sourdough starter, it's a great idea to have at least a small bag of rye flour in your freezer for when your starter is neglected or needs perking up. Just a tablespoon of rye added to the white flour is like steroids for your starter.

To make this bread:

This is an easy bread to make. First you begin with an active starter, which you mix with water, a bit of honey, white rye flour, bread flour, and salt, which you mix briefly by hand.

Next, you let the dough rise for about 6 to 8 hours, with 3 sets of stretches and folds (where you stretch out the dough and fold it over itself from all four sides) every 30 minutes at the beginning of the bulk rise.

White rye bread shaped into a ball and placed in a towel lined bowl

Once the dough has doubled, shape it, and let it rise for about 30 to 45 minutes. Then bake it in a preheated Dutch oven, removing the lid after 20 minutes.

Light Rye Sourdough Bread slices

This bread is wonderful spread with butter, dipped in soups and sauces, and served with cheeses and cured meats.

It's also a pretty easy sourdough bread to make. Begin in the morning, and you will have a fresh loaf of bread by dinnertime.

And if you're lucky, you might just get an ear (albeit a little blackened)!

Light Rye Sourdough Bread slash

Today, the Bread Bakers are baking breads with rye. I'm excited to see everyone's rye breads!

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Crusty light rye sourdough bread

Light Rye Sourdough Bread

Light Rye Sourdough Bread
Yield: 16 servings (1 loaf)
This light rye sourdough bread is crusty, chewy, and mild tasting.


  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) active sourdough starter
  • 365 grams (1 1/2 cup) warm water
  • 20 grams (1 tablespoon) honey
  • 106 grams (1 cup) white rye flour
  • 400 grams (3 1/3 cups) bread flour
  • 9 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) salt


  1. Whisk together the starter, water, and honey together in a large bowl. Add the flours and the salt, and mix by hand until you have a shaggy dough. 
  2. Cover the bowl with a plate, plastic wrap, or a damp towel, and let rest for 30 minutes. 
  3. Form the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl and let it rest, covered, for 15 minutes. 
  4. Let the dough rise until doubled, about 6 to 8 hours, doing 3 stretches and folds every 30 minutes during the first 2 hours. 
  5. Once the dough has doubled, shape it into a boule and let rest for about 5 minutes. 
  6. Line an 8 or 9 inch bowl or banneton with a tea towel and rub in a mixture of wheat and rice flour into the towel to prevent sticking. 
  7. Tighten the boule, and place it, seam side up, into the bowl, and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough rise for 30 to 45 minutes, puffy but not quite doubled. 
  8. While the dough is rising, place a Dutch oven in the oven and heat it to 450 degrees F. 
  9. Remove the Dutch oven and remove the lid. 
  10. Place a piece of parchment over the dough, and place a plate over the piece of parchment. Invert the bowl with the plate so that the plate is on the bottom, and lift off the bowl and tea towel. 
  11. Lift the dough by the parchment paper and place it in the Dutch oven (leaving the parchment on the bottom). Slash the dough with a sharp knife or lame in your favorite pattern. Replace the lid. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. 
  12. Remove the loaf from the pan and place it on a baking sheet and return it to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 205 degrees F. 
  13. Cool completely on a wire rack. 
Fat (grams)
Sat. Fat (grams)
Carbs (grams)
Fiber (grams)
Net carbs
Sugar (grams)
Protein (grams)
Sodium (milligrams)
Cholesterol (grams)
Bread, rye, sourdough
American, European

Did you make this recipe?
Tag @KarensKitchenStories on instagram and hashtag it #KarensKitchenStories
Created using The Recipes Generator

This recipe was adapted from the wonderful book, Artisan Sourdough Made Simple. I highly recommend it.

How to stay up to date with Karen's Kitchen Stories? 

Check out my recipe index for more amazing recipes.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook. Do you like taking photos of the food you make? You can also join my Facebook food photo sharing group (you don't have to be a blogger).

While you’re here please take a minute to follow me on Pinterest. I’m always pinning great recipes from fellow bloggers.

Finally, please follow me on Instagram. It’s a great way to stay up to date on all the latest and greatest blog recipes.

Would you like to comment?

  1. The texture of your loaf is fabulous, Karen! And that crust! When the mills start normal production again, I'm definitely going to buy some white rye.

  2. Look at that ear, wow! Fantastic loaf. I need to feed my sourdough...

  3. Beautiful rye bread, I like that you got ear too. perfectly made. Great as sandwich I am going to try this.

    1. Thank you Swathi. I'm sure you will do a beautiful job!

  4. Love to see your bread, it so beautiful Karen! So perfect and also great post on tips of baking rye bread. Thanks you Karen!

  5. Loving this completely and the texture of the bread is just awesome.

  6. It looks absolutely perfect!

  7. What a terrific loaf of bread, Karen! It looks beautiful and I bet it tastes wonderful. Adding to my ideas for my sourdough starter.

    1. I'm so happy to hear you have a starter!

  8. I just found your formula today. I will be making this tomorrow after my starter is refreshed. I will be making two changes. First, I'll substitute 10g diastatic malt for the honey. Second, I'll do four stretch and folds half an hour apart, then shape and into the banneton, then into the fridge for overnight bulk. I calculate a 940g loaf. What is your recommended dough temperature to know the temperature of the starting ingredients? I can almost taste it.

    1. I brought my starter to room temperature and heated the water to about 95 degrees F. I did not take the dough temp. Sorry!!!

  9. Hi Karen, May I know how honey helps your sourdough bread? I'm only starting on my sourdough bread making journey. There's a lot to learn.

    Thank you,

    1. It can help with the browning of the crust. You can skip it if you like.

  10. This is the third time I made this bread. The bread comes out consistently wonderful. I just add a couple of teaspoons of dehydrated onion and dill weed. Thank you for an easy wonderful recipe.

  11. I’ve been trying to produce a decent sourdough since the start of lockdown with little success. Loaves were always flat and gummy. Then I made 3 changes - 1 Using a Dutch oven, 2 using a rye based starter and then 3 this recipe. 3 times now I’ve produced a loaf with that ear and a lovely soft crumb. It toasts so well, too. Thank you so much for helping me vanquish nearly 4 years of disappointment. Steve, Swindon (UK)

    1. That is awesome!! Thanks for letting me know!


I would love to hear from you! If you comment anonymously, be sure to leave your name in your comment.