Homemade Light Rye Bread

Light, soft inside, crusty crust, homemade rye bread, with or without caraway seeds.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

For as long as I knew my friend George he was an enthusiastic bread maker. Often when I visited his home in Carlisle, Mass, he had a freshly baked loaf of rye bread for us to enjoy.

One time when George came to visit my family in Carmichael, I put him to work, showing me the way he makes his rye bread.

The following is a recipe that will yield two loaves. Actually, I don’t think one can easily learn to make bread by reading about it.

It really helps to get your hands in it and learn directly from someone who can say, “See? This is the right consistency for the dough.” If you are interested in learning more about bread making there are a few links at the end of this post that you may find useful.

As for the bread? It was wonderful. Light, soft inside, and a crusty crust. My father doesn’t like caraway seeds so they were kept out. I love them so the next time I make this bread they’re going in.

Homemade Light Rye Bread Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 2 loaves


  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups of warm water (just barely warm to the touch)
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp caraway seeds (optional)


1 Dissolve the yeast in the warm water with the molasses. Put yeast mixture into a large metal bowl.

2 Add caraway seeds, salt, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, 2 cups of rye flour and then 2 cups of bread flour, mixing into the yeast mixture after each addition with a wooden spoon.

3 Add more bread flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is not so sticky and it is too hard to mix it with the wooden spoon. At that point, spread a half cupful of flour onto a large, clean, flat surface and put the dough onto the surface.

4 Knead the dough by pressing down with the heel of your hand, stretching it, turning the dough a quarter-turn, pulling the dough back toward you and then pressing and stretching again. Knead additional bread flour into the dough until it reaches the right consistency. Knead for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

5 Spread some vegetable oil around a large bowl and place the dough in it, turning it so it gets coated in the oil.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Let rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about an hour and a half.

6 Gently press down on the dough so some of its air is released.

7 Knead the dough a few turns and then divide it by cutting it in half with a sharp knife.

8 Shape each half into loaf. Place dough loafs into either oiled bread loaf pans, or onto a flat baking sheet or peel that has been sprinkled with corn meal, depending if you want to cook the loaves in pans or directly on a baking stone. Cover with plastic or a damp cloth.

9 Let rise again, this time not doubling in volume, but rising by about half of its volume, about 45 minutes, half as long as the first rising. The dough should be peeking over the top of the loaf pan if using a loaf pan.

10 If you are using a baking stone, place the stone in the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F for at least half an hour before baking.

11 If baking on a stone, score the dough a few times on the top of the dough right before putting it in the oven.

12 Put dough in the oven. If you have a mister, mist the dough with a little water the first 10 minutes of baking. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until done. The bread should sound hollow when tapped.

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The Other Side of Atkins - bread making notes from Smitten Kitchen

For beaming, bewitching breads - more useful tips from Smitten Kitchen

Ten Tips for Better Bread - tips from Farmgirl Fare

The Fresh Loaf - a forum for "Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

George's Quince Jelly - here on Simply Recipes

George holding his rye bread

Showing 4 of 74 Comments

  • W. Mataxas

    In the ingredient list, 2 cups rye flour
    1 tablespoon salt were struck out, but in the instructions they appeared to be used. Which is correct? Ingredient list or instructions. How did anyone successfully bake this bread with those errors?

  • Claudiu

    What happens if I skip the molasses and the cocoa? I don’t like sweet bread and don’t really care if it’s deep dark. I’ve been buying mestermacher breads but recently they labeled them as not nut free, so I have to find (or bake) an alternative.

  • Maria Luz

    I made this bread during the weekend, using sourdough instead of commercial yeast. I was doing only half recipe, since there is only two of us (husbnd and I).
    What I did was to mix 2 tbsp of sourdough with 200 g white wheat flour + 60 g rye flour (50/60% of all the flour I meant to use), together with 295 gm water (100% water I meant to use), and let it rest it overnight. The following morning I added 113 gms molasses, 120g white wheat flour + 50g rye flour, 1/2 tbsp salt, 30 gms sunflower oil, 15 gms cacao powder, and a handful of kummel seeds. I kneaded and proofed it for some 2 hours.
    The bread came out beautiful and so so delicious… we love it!
    I am going to be making it again, for sure.
    You can see pictures of it at https://www.flickr.com/photos/marialuzfernandez/35715867541/in/dateposted/

  • Nicholas Kozloski

    I made this bread for the first time on Saturday. It turned out great! It tastes good on its own, but toast it and add some butter and it is almost decadent. :)
    Only thing I might change next time is the amount of cocoa powder. My loaf came out almost looking like pumpernickel bread. I might try to reduce the amount to about a tablespoon, or less.

  • Kris

    I want to make rye bread….I thought the hardest part was to find caraway seeds….OMG WHERE can you get RYE flour? never heard of it….I have a Breadman Ultimate machine that I got from QVC several years ago….I live in a small town in the Ga mts …Thanks for any help…

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