Pure rye sourdough

  • Side
  • Makes 1
  • 45 minutes
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This pure rye sourdough bread recipe by Jane Mason makes the heartiest of loaves, perfect for serving warm with butter or cheese, or dipped into a bowl of hot soup. This loaf, when made with Jane's simple sourdough starter recipe, is a great introduction for beginners looking to experiment with sourdough baking.

First published in 2016
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This recipe produces a rich, dark loaf that is packed with flavour. As it contains only rye flour, it won't rise like a wheat loaf, and its dense structure means it's best served in thin slices.

Dark rye has the bran and the germ from the grain (like whole wheat) Light rye does not contain the bran or the germ and as a result produces a bread that is lighter in both colour and texture than breads made with dark rye. You can, however, use dark and light rye interchangeably, to test these recipes, I used dark rye flour.

Note: once the loaf is in the proving basket, it can be kept in the refrigerator up to 8 hours before baking.

Recipe taken from Perfecting Sourdough by Jane Mason, published by Apple Press (£14.99)




Pure rye bread

  • 20g of sourdough starter, pure rye
  • 300g of rye flour, dark or light
  • 260ml of water
  • 5g of salt
  • oats, or rye flakes, to cover


Put the sourdough starter in a large bowl and return any remaining starter to the refrigerator
Add 75g rye flour, and 120ml water and stir gently to mix. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on the counter for 8 hours or overnight
The next day, add the remaining ingredients, except the rolled rye, to the refreshed starter and mix well with a spoon – you do not need to knead this as the gluten in rye will not 'develop' further
Pick up the dough with wet hands and shape into an oblong loaf. Pour the rolled rye or oats onto a plate and gently roll the loaf in them to coat it completely (use your fingers to coat the ends of the loaf)
Place in a very well-floured proving basket and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Prove at room temperature for 3–4 hours
Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7
Carefully invert the proving basket to gently roll the loaf onto a floured baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 200°C (gas mark 6) and bake for a further 20–25 minutes
First published in 2016

Jane Mason is a writer, baker and a social entrepreneur. In 2010 she set up Virtuous Bread to help people make, find and learn about good bread and in doing so forge the link between bread and virtue.

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