THE Rye Sourdough Bread

Posted by: on Feb 6, 2017 | 47 Comments

Hi guys! I’m alive! (waiving wildly) and I’m FINALLY here with THE Rye Sourdough Bread. That only took what, 4 years or so? I’m so psyched to bake this together with YOU! Soo..

There is no doubt this Greenylicious path I’m on has it’s roots in a myriad of intricate and clever mysteries, as do all of our strange and genius paths. However, I do know that my fierce interest in hanging out in the kitchen began when holding a bubbly little jar of weird-smelling gunk. A sourdough starter.

I took that jar all over. Traveling, working, baking, kneading, tweaking, learning and reading SO MANY SOURDOUGH BLOGS (seriously, the explosion of sourdough bread was wild, do you guys remember?). 8 years later, I still have that same culture of bacteria. It has survived years of neglect here and there, and it still ensures that the dreamy smell of freshly baked bread doesn’t only happen in my daydreams and fave bakery.

Few things beats it. Opening up the oven, letting the hot loaf cool down and slicing up that first piece. Y’all feeling it? This recipe below gets a million bonus points for the super low maintenance process that only requires a kitchen scale and a spoon. Yup, you heard me. No kneading and no heavy-as-hell machine, just barely 5 (times two) minutes of your time. The process is super flexible too. You can get it done in 24 hours OR totally forget about the starter dough and pick up the baking some 6-12 hours later. It will be slightly more sour but totally amazing.

This recipe has been my go-to for years and it’s the optimal base for fun topping experiments. Now you, get some of that wierd-smelling gunk (aka a sourdough starter aka new best friend) and get baking. THE Rye Sourdough Bread awaits.

..It’s hard work but someone has got to keep the #avocadotoast hashtag alive. We can do it, amiright?! 

PS. Friends, I know that making sourdough bread can feel like a somewhat daunting project to take on, but get this: THE Rye Sourdough Bread is crazy low maintenance. Honestly, it’s a bit ridiculous how easy it is considering the dreamy outcome. I’ve collected some frequently asked questions I often get around baking this bread and answered them for you below. So if you have a burning question, chances are you can find my answer to it last in this post 

PPS. The toppings in the pictures (all vegan!) are exclusive recipes from one of my past events. Interested in coming to a Greenylicious events? Subscribe to the newsletter and be the first one to know about dates for 2017!

Fun & Fabulous Facts

– Why Sourdough is (really damn) Sensational

There are many reasons as to why this loaf taste like utter bread perfection AND is seriously good for you. Why? One; The organic steel-cut rye, stoneground whole rye flour and whole sunflower seeds which is basically all this bread is made of. The other reason is:

The Sourdough process. This is the original way to bake bread, in which you use the naturally occurring bacteria in the air, water and pretty much anything and everything to ferment a mixture of flour and water. This bubbly mixture is your sourdough starter which you keep refrigerated. When you want to bake bread, a small amount of the sourdough starter is added to fresh flour and water and the powerful bacteria in the starter will ’eat’ all this new food, spreading through the whole dough, fermenting it in some 6-24 hours depending on what you are making. There are a thousand different ways to approach this process but the basic step is this. Add sourdough to fresh flour & water, let ferment, bake.

So.. Is sourdough bread healthier? In short. Yes. Why? Well let’s make one thing clear first. We are now talking about REAL sourdough bread. A slow fermented mixture of basically only flour and water. No additives/sugar/yeast or anything along those lines at all. We are NOT talking about the supermarket versions where sourdough powder is added to regular quick yeasted bread for the extra tangy flavor. When whole grains, ground grains (flour) and water is fermented using sourdough starter many amazing things happen like…

Absorbing Nutrients
The phytic acid in the grains get neutralized during the fermentation process which (just as when you soak nuts/seeds/grains for eating) makes the bread more easily digested and nutrients more bioavailable. Also, since the phytic acid is gone it will not bind to and strip your body of important minerals. If you feast on a what looks like a really healthy whole grain bread made with quick yeast, the phytic acid is still present in the grain. This means that you will not get the benefit of the nutrients locked up inside those grains and digesting all that phytic acid will in fact bind to + rob you of some of the minerals in your body. Boo! Sourdough bread for the win!

Blood Sugar
Another cool thing about naturally fermenting bread is that it ends up lower on the glycemic index scale. Eating a slice of an all-wheat sourdough bread doesn’t cause as much of a rise in blood sugar / as high of an insulin response than an all-wheat, quick yeasted bread. Since, from a health perspective, we aim to keep blood sugar and insulin levels as calm and close to normal as possible this is really good news. It seems that the fermentation process alters the starch in the grain and our bodies end up digesting it slower than we would yeasted bread and that is what’s making this difference. Stabile blood sugar, happy, centered us!

The Transformation of Gluten
Even though most sourdough bread is made of gluten grains, it is less irritable for the gut than regular yeasted bread due to a number of different reasons. Sourdough Lactobacilli (the strain of bacteria in sourdough) can modify the bits of gliadin and glutenin protein that are toxic to some people and even lessen the total amount of gluten in the end product. The beneficial bacteria from the fermentation also helps (which studies suggest can actually survive the heating process and actually give the bread probiotic properties). Some people who are coeliac or sensitive to gluten might be able to enjoy some (real) sourdough bread without health issues. This is more likely if the bread is made of rye, which has less gluten in itself than wheat has. Meaning: THE Rye Sourdough Bread below is super friendly!

Health Conscious AND Eating Bread..?
Today, many either never eat bread or they eat bread and feel crazy bad about it afterwards (been there). I think looking at bread in a new light is the way to go. Think of it as a source of great pleasure, experimentation, an array of nutrients and even history. In my mind it’s not a great idea to ban certain food groups (in this case carbs) that are essential to our wellbeing so why not instead go for the high quality stuff that actually are good for us? Like slow fermented, organic, stone ground flour based sourdough bread. It may sound fancy and sure, artisinal sourdough bread at a bakery is pricy compared to the white packaged fluff (”bread”) in supermarkets but with this recipe at hand, your wallet can take a chill pill. Making this at home is not pricy. Plus, the whole process is beyond gratifying and you WILL want to high-five yourself (and you should) after taking that first bite. I’m not saying ‘base all your meals on bread’ but I am saying ‘go enjoy the truly good stuff AND feel great about it’.

THE Rye Sourdough Bread

[Read entire recipe before beginning the baking process]. This is THE Rye Sourdough for your fun toast creations! I am not an experienced baker but still this recipe never fails. There’s no weird caramel coloring/ lots of sweetener (very common in whole grain rye loaves), it’s naturally leavened with only sourdough (no yeast) and it’s super good for you. You’ll end up with two loaves. I usually cut up one of the loaves and store air-tight in the freezer. When you’re out of the fresh bread, fetch a slice from the freezer and toast. A bonus with sourdough bread is that it stays fresh for a long time and it freezes well too. Store the fresh loaf in either a paper bag, a bio bag or in bee’s wrap for 6 days. You need 4 tbsp of sourdough starter to make this bread. Either ferment your own from scratch, get some from a friend or ask at a bakery. Some supermarkets sell packaged sourdough starter. If you’re using that, add two extra tbsp of starter. Use organic ingredients for the best result and find stoneground whole rye flour if you can. It makes all the difference in texture, taste and nutrition.

Special tools you need: A kitchen scale, 2 loaf pans
Makes two loaves

Starter Dough
4 tbsp sourdough starter (mine is based on rye but if you have one based on wheat, use it)
1 1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cup wholegrain rye flour (preferably stoneground)

  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl, mix well, cover with clean tea towel and let sit in room temperature away from windows for 8-24 hours (I start the process either in the evening and let ferment overnight OR in the morning and let ferment until evening). If you let it ferment beyond 8 hours, I recommend putting it in the fridge. It’s not necessary but you will get a slightly more sour end-result if you leave it in room temperature. Up to you!

Main Dough
The Starter, 430-460 g (recipe above)
250 g wholegrain rye flour (preferably stoneground)
400 g steel-cut rye 
300 g sunflower seeds
600 g water
2 tsp high quality salt
1 1/2 tsp honey/maple syrup/rice syrup (boosts fermentation and balances flavor)

  1. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl (not plastic) and mix well with a wooden spoon or the like. Cover with a tea towel and let sit in an undisturbed place for 12-24 hours. I usually do this overnight.
  2. Get two loaf pans, either silicone pans or regular ones laced with baking paper. I have gotten away with lightly oiling the loaf pans when I was out of baking paper but it’s kind of taking a chance since the dough might stick. Divide the dough into the two pans, cover and let sit for 15-60 minutes. Even 5 minutes is fine but the longer you let them sit (tops 1 hour though) the more they’ll rise once in the oven. This step is purely for aesthetics. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 260°C / 500°F. Put one baking sheet in the middle of the oven and one baking sheet at the very bottom of the oven. 
  4. Just before adding the pans to the oven, make a shallow cut with a sharp knife along the top of each loaf and sprinkle with some extra rye flour. Also prepare a glass with 3/4 cup really cold water. 
  5. Add baking pans to the middle of the oven and quickly empty the glass of water onto the baking sheet at the bottom of the oven. After 10 minutes, open the oven door slightly and keep it opened until the temperature goes down to 175°C / 350°F. Close oven door and bake for 50 minutes. The bread should sound hollow if you remove it from the pan and tap it’s bottom. If not, bake for an additional 10 minutes without the pan.  
  6. Remove bread from pans and put on a cooling rack. Wait at least 45 minutes before cutting. Enjoy with toppings of choice!


How do I get a sourdough starter?
You can make one on your own, using only water and flour (the naturally occurring lactobacillus in the air will start the fermentation process). It takes about a week and can be done in your kitchen. A quicker way is either getting a couple of tablespoons from someone who already has a starter, asking for some at a sourdough bakery or buying a starter at a well-stocked supermarket. 

Can I make this bread even if I’m a total baking novice?
Yes you can! All you need are the ingredients, a bowl, a kitchen scale, a spoon, two loaf pans and two times 5 minutes during the process of 24 hours. Oh, and an oven. That last thing comes in really handy.

Can I eat this bread if I’m sensitive to gluten?
Many people can tolerate some rye even though they are sensitive to gluten (myself included). The fact that it’s a solely sourdough based bread (no yeast) also makes it more easily digested and not as harsh on the gut/intestines.

Can I eat this bread if I’m coeliac?
There is gluten in rye (less than in wheat) but still, some with coeliac disease have found that they can enjoy some real sourdough bread without a reaction. It’s unusual but can happen. Go slow and be gentle.

Can I make a gluten free sourdough bread?
Sure you can! Google it and find a way/ingredients that suit you.

Why are the measurements in grams and not in cups?
1 cup of a certain kind of flour can actually weigh more or less than another kind. Not to mention, even cup measurements vary in size. When getting into sourdough baking it’s a good idea to use a kitchen scale to get as precise as possible.


Any other questions? Add a comment below and I’ll get back to you asap. My hopes are that you’ll all get to slice into a loaf of THE Rye Sourdough Bread so I’m here for you guys, every step of the way! /Elenore

Oh! and join the hashtag action on Instagram! #THEryesourdoughbread because It’s an epic #avocadotoast community!


Ready to rock your life & body? Sign up here... it's free!
+ the Greenylicious manifesto - The highway to feel ecstatic - wrooom


  1. Virpi / Vanelja
    7 februari, 2017

    omg, the bread is just BEAUTIFUL! and so are your photos. have a lovely beginning of February, honey!

  2. Krisztina
    7 februari, 2017

    Dear Elenore!

    Do you think I can just grind whole rye grains to make my own ”steel cut rye”? I can only purchase the ”whole” grain version here.

    Thank you in advance!:)

    • ElenoreEarth
      7 februari, 2017

      HI Krisztina!

      You absolutely can if you have a really strong blender! That would be no problem! Happy baking!

  3. Kathleen
    7 februari, 2017

    Love this! I will give it a try. And your photos are amazing as always!

    • ElenoreEarth
      13 februari, 2017

      Let me know how it goes, lovely! Thank you so much for being here :)

  4. tirzah
    8 februari, 2017

    dear elenore, i’m very curious to know how you maintain your sourdough starter.
    i had some not very successful attempts with sourdough bread and went back to making bread with yeast out of sheer frustration…your recipe makes me want to give it another try :) thanks for sharing!

    • ElenoreEarth
      13 februari, 2017

      Hey Tirzah! You can make one on your own (google it :), using only water and flour (the naturally occurring lactobacillus in the air will start the fermentation process). It takes about a week and can be done in your kitchen. A quicker way is either getting a couple of tablespoons from someone who already has a starter, asking for some at a sourdough bakery or buying a starter at a well-stocked supermarket.

      Please let me know if any other Q’s pop up!

  5. Tammie
    8 februari, 2017

    Fun & Fabulous Facts indeed!
    Thank you.
    You make me want to try this, it looks delicious and beautiful.

    • ElenoreEarth
      13 februari, 2017

      YAY! Such good news! Give it a go, Tammie! I’m here if you have any questions along the way!

  6. nina
    10 februari, 2017

    Hello Elleonor and thank you for this wonderful recipe!!Do you think your recipe would work with spelt? Thank you very much in advance!!

    • ElenoreEarth
      13 februari, 2017

      Hi nina! It absolutely would.
      Good luck!

      All love,

  7. KATY Emmett
    11 februari, 2017

    I have found a company that offers a dark rye flour and a light rye flour. Which should I chose to try your sourdough rye bread recipe? It looks wonderful – can’t wait to try it

    • ElenoreEarth
      13 februari, 2017

      Hey Katy!

      I’ve used whole rye flour in this recipe so that would translate to ‘dark’ rye flour.
      Happy baking! ..and let me know if you have any questions during the process!

  8. Ashley
    12 februari, 2017

    I’ve made a sourdough starter to use in this recipe and I’m now wondering how I would go about storing it until it is needed again, any suggestions?

    • ElenoreEarth
      13 februari, 2017

      Hi Ashley!

      So glad you ask! You store your sourdough starter in the fridge in an airtight glass container of any sort. You only need about 2/3 cup stored in the fridge so any leftover sourdough starter can be used when making pancakes, waffles, crepes, muffins or any other project.


  9. Dearna
    17 februari, 2017

    This recipe sounds divine! I’ve experimented with sourdough in the past but never tried to make my own rye version. Just wondering – you mention you use a rye-based started, is it 100% rye, or blended with plain? I’ve only had success making a starter with plain flour in the past, any time I add a whole flour to it (whole grain, spelt etc) it seems to flop! Any tips would be welcome :)

  10. marta | naturalmente buono
    26 februari, 2017

    Hi Elenore, can’t find my comment anymore. Just wanted you to say this bread is TERRIFIC. Thank you so much! <3

  11. Lena
    6 mars, 2017

    Dear Eleonore, since I am big lover of the danish/swedish rye bread I can’t wait to try this simple recipe!
    One question though: when I leave the oven door open to wait til the temperature is at 175C do I then also set the temperature to 175C or should it stay at 250?
    Thank you so much for all your good work! :)
    All the best from Austria

    • ElenoreEarth
      7 mars, 2017

      Hi Lena!

      Oh I’m so thrilled you’ve found this recipe then! I think you’ll love the result as much as the process. Great question, I see that I’m a bit unclear in the recipe but you’re supposed to actually lower the temperature to 175 degrees too, not only keep the door open for a bit. Let me know if any other questions come up!

      Hugs! Elenore

  12. Sara
    13 mars, 2017

    Yum! Men VAD är steel cut rye?? Rågkross!? I så fall står det på Saltå kvarns hemsida att den ska skållas innan. Stämmer det?

    • ElenoreEarth
      15 mars, 2017

      Hej Sara! Det stämmer att det är rågkross. Jag använder mig utav Saltås. Notera att det står att man antingen bör blötlägga/grodda eller skålla eftersom det är ett rått korn. I detta receptet görs blötläggningen i fermenteringen/jäsningen av degen och sedan hettas dessutom kornen givetvis upp då man bakar brödet. Hojta till om du har fler frågor :)

      • Sara
        20 mars, 2017

        Tack bästa! Måste prova detta :D

        • ElenoreEarth
          9 april, 2017

          Hej Sara! Fick du chans att prova? Hojta till om du har frågor bara! Och hoppas att du njuter av lite extra nordisk superkraft nu :)

  13. Kathleen
    15 mars, 2017

    Love this!! Your photos are also amazing…

  14. Karolyne
    17 mars, 2017

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, I love it’s simplicity & healthy ingredients! I’ve got my leaven (or starter) going & I’m letting it sit for 8 hours – however, for the next step in making the main dough it appears that you’ve used grams instead of cups as you did in the first half. Is it possible you could post the main dough ingredients in cup measurements as well? I used an online converter but I don’t know that I trust it … Please help! Thanks again :)

    • Ninanaturen
      19 mars, 2017


      I stumbled across your blog through my experiments with oat youghurt, and find your blog really inspiring. I’ve already made the rye bread twice and it turned out great both times, had to do some adjustments based on what was in stock in my pantry, but followed the main idea and really appreciate the taste, simplicity and flexibility of the recipe. Thankyou so much for sharing and for giving me a new favorite sour dough concept. Since I am used to grams (or dl) I would comment the opposite to Karolyne; why cups and not grams in the first dough? The cup part makes me have to do some additional maths and conversion making the recipe slightly more complicated…

      Anyways, I also wanted to add that on my first try I did one bread with baking paper and one with a lightly oiled pan, both worked perfectly fine, so since I find the oil method easier I will go with that for future breads. And as for the use of metal spoons and bowls, I have never found that it has any notable negative effect on the fermentation, this could be because it is only for a relatively short time and only a small part of the dough is actually in contact with metal. I keep my mother dough in a glas jar though, but the metal bread mixer bowl seems to work fine for the sour doughs I have had.

      But thanks again. I also hope to be making spruce tip honey to go with my oatgurt soon.


    • ElenoreEarth
      9 april, 2017

      Hey Karolyn! How did it go? I totally missed this comment. SO darn sorry! The reason for the gram measurements for the main dough is because flour measure so differently depending on brand and quality. That’s why -in terms of sourdough making-, one rarely uses cups (for the main dough).
      All the best and let me know if you have any q’s!

  15. Alana
    20 mars, 2017

    I’m excited to try this recipe. I’ve tried an all rye sourdough before and it didn’t quite turn out like I expected. It was so hard! I’m ready to experiment again though!

  16. Joab
    25 mars, 2017

    We have a wonderful mill & bakery, near Eugene, OR. I recently purchased 2 loaves of the dark rye. I am planning on making open face sandwiches, like in your photo. You say they are all vegan, yet it looks like a poached egg & some salmon lox. What is the white spread underneath, cream cheese. Thank you. Joan Abbott

    • ElenoreEarth
      9 april, 2017

      Hey Joan, that sounds lovely!
      It’s all vegan toppings, just as I said.
      All homemade (carrot lox, cashew/herb spread and a vegan mozzarella).
      Have a gorgeous Sunday!

  17. Tanaya
    26 mars, 2017

    Hi Elenore,

    Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe. I tried to find steel cut rye for the recipe, but couldn’t find it at any of the supermarkets where I live. Can you suggest a substitute for it? Can I used rolled rye or oats instead? If so how much should I add? Thanks for your help in advance!


    • Lindsay
      30 mars, 2017

      I’m asking the same question. No steelcut rye to be found in Northern Iceland and I am wondering if I can substitute steelcut oats? Also, I am confused about the sourdough starter being 4 Tbs… is there a weight equivalent or does the amount of starter not have to be as precise as the other ingredients?
      I’m stoked about this recipe! Inspired me to make my own rye starter which took a week and worked beautifully! Thank you, Elenore!

      • ElenoreEarth
        9 april, 2017

        Hey Lindsay! Oh my, I can’t believe I missed your comments! Steel-cut oats works great too if you cannot get a hold of rye. Any yes, the reason as to why the starter measurements are in tbsp is because there is no need for it to be that precise. Let me know if there are any additional q’s!

    • ElenoreEarth
      9 april, 2017

      Hey Tanaya! You can absolutely use steel cut oats instead of steel-cut rye but I’ve never tried using rolled grains instead of steel-cut.. Let me know how it works out :)

  18. Agnes
    4 juni, 2017

    How very exciting! I’ve been following your blog for quite some time, but I re-discovered this post a few days ago and it made me decide to finally try and create my own sourdough starter (I feel like a mad scientist!) just so I can bake this gorgeous-looking bread. So far, my mixture of flour and water has indeed started to bubble and smell funny: I’m so excited! Thank you for your great posts, you are a true inspiration!

    • ElenoreEarth
      6 juni, 2017

      This is so awesome! Happy bubbly sourdough days ahead of you! It’s gonna be one tasty summer, Agnes, and let me know if you have any questions. Biggest hugs and thank you so much for being here!

  19. Valentina | The Blue Bride
    28 november, 2017

    Hi Elenore! I’m planning on making this bread, but I have a doubt…you do add the steel-cut rye in raw form, right? You don’t boil it before?

  20. Joan Tendler
    18 december, 2017

    Hi Elenore, Beautiful bread, and nice detailed instructions! I’m also a sourdough rye enthusiast, especially when I found out how ecological rye is. It’s not a heavy feeder like wheat is, so it requires less fertilizer and can be grown on marginal soils. Best of all, rye has a greater yield when grown organically than when they use pesticides, unlike other grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables, which need a lot more land when grown organically for the same yield. Also, rye is more nutritious than wheat or quinoa. And, as you mentioned, sourdough rye is incredibly easy to make: win-win-win, etc.!

  21. What’s in my new Pantry (and Fridge, and Freezer) – The Blue Bride
    25 december, 2017

    […] wheat/rye/gf bread: I try to switch every time and I plan on trying Elenore’s rye bread […]

  22. Sophia
    4 januari, 2018

    Dear Elenore,

    Thank you so much for this incredible recipe. I have been baking with sourdough before but never did it look so easy and manageable.

    After baking the first loaf (which came out quite decent) I do have 2 questions though and would be really happy if you could help me out:

    1) The loaf looks beautiful, but it tastes a bit too fermented if that makes sense? A little like Tempeh. Now, do you think that I should just shorten the fermentation times (I did about 16 hours with the stater and then another 20 hours or so with all the ingredients)? Or is it my starter? Lastly: Does that mean I have to toss it? Otherwise it looks really good, there were no irregularities with the dough, nothing funny looking or smelling, just that it has this distinct tempeh-like taste to it…

    2) Can I use whole rye instead of steel-cut? Its impossible to buy where I live and my machine isn’t strong enough to cut the berries.

    Thank you so much for all the work you put into this beautiful website and all the recipes.
    All the best;


Leave a Reply