Homemade Light Rye Bread


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

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 (regular unsulphured, not blackstrap)
  • 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

If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

98 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Michelle C

    I halved the recipe since it’s just me and hubby, and I have limited storage space in my tiny apartment. Turned out pretty well! It seemed a bit bitter, and I think it might have been because of the cocoa. However, I also did use blackstrap molasses since that’s what was on hand, and it could be the culprit also. Good texture, didn’t seem terribly sweet compared to other rye breads I’ve tried. I think next time, I will try to reduce or eliminate the cocoa, and cut back on the molasses just a bit. If that doesn’t work, I’ll stop being a cheapo and buy some different molasses. Overall, good recipe. I just need to tweak it to suit my tastes.


  • merilee beck

    I have been trying to get rye bread right….havent been able to until this recipe. I really like it! Could someone tell me how much onion I would add to this recipe to get an oniony rye bread? I’ve been trying onion rye too but cannot get an onion flavor no matter how much I use…dried, fresh or dried reconstituted.


  • Tami

    Love this recipe! I have made it about 10 times now. The molasses is perfect… everything is perfect!


  • Elisabeth

    I agree with those saying too much molasses. I was hoping for a more traditional rye bread but I got molasses bread with caraway seeds. Maybe that’s more to do with my expectations than the recipe.

    I did appreciate how easy this was and that the bread looks great! It just wasn’t what I was looking for but I plan to tweak for more rye and less molasses.


  • Tami

    We love this exactly how it is written! I do not go by the cooking time… I use the tap test. I find 30 to 35 minutes is suitable. I have made this several times and it is ALWAYS a hit! For those who say less molasses… nah… we even add a little more. This is my husbands favorite and it is the one that turned me from a rye hater to a rye lover. I again made this tonight to go along with dinner… but dinner went into the fridge. We instead ate full a boule of it along with Jarlsberg cheese and fruit. We have a hard time finding rye flour here…and got our local Publix to order in some for us. Now to store the case of rye we had to buy (freezer???). I have MS and can not stir easily. I start it out in the mixer and finish off by hand. Last few stirs bother me but the kneading is therapeutic for me. I find …here in Florida… that the rise time is only about an hour. No matter, it still is awesome! I do not have a fancy oven with a mister. I do mist the boule with a bottle every 2 minutes for the first 10 minutes. I do not mist when I do in a loaf pan because we do not want a thick crust for sandwiches.


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