Vollkornbrot: rye sourdough bread

Rye Vollkornbrot with Felin Ganol rye
In my goody box from Anne at the Felin Ganol Mill was some wholemeal rye flour and chopped rye berries. Along with some sunflower seeds, these are just what you need to make this delicious, hearty & earthy bread.

Rye Vollkornbrot with Sardo & DolcellateThe result was fantastic and we ate it with some very special cheese. The soaked rye chops help keep the bread wonderfully moist. Those and the sunflower seeds mean it also has a nutty texture.

The bread is easy to make as long as you do not expect the same feel and process as making bread with wheat flour. Rye doesn’t have the same gluten development as wheat, so you don’t get a big rise. The dough starts, and remains, sticky and so you have to handle it sparingly with wet hands.

It’s also best to ‘age’ the bread once it’s made for 24 hours or more so that the crumb can develop the proper characteristics.

If you would like to make this bread, read on…

Rye Vollkornbrot sourdough bread recipe

You can use any baking tin for this. The bread isn’t going to rise very much, so you don’t need a deep one. I used a 3cm deep and 20cm square tin.


140g rye chops
140g water, just off boiling
380g  active rye sourdough starter
80g warm water
120g organic wholemeal rye flour
15 g salt
25g sunflower seeds, lightly roasted in a dry pan
A little extra rye flour for dusting your loaf tin


The night before you bake pour the hot water over the chops and mix together with a fork. Cover and leave at room temperature.

The next day, put the starter and water in a bowl and mix together. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well until everything is wet, well coated and with no lumps.

Cover the bowl with an oiled piece of plastic and leave in a warm place to prove for 30 minutes.

Oil or grease your baking tin and dust the inside of the tin with some rye flour.

Wet your hands . Take the dough from the bowl and quickly work it into a shape that will fit snugly inside your tin. Place the dough inside the tin, smooth it down and sprinkle with some of the rye flour. Cover with the oiled plastic and leave to prove in a warm place for about an hour. A rise of about 30% is just fine.

While the dough proves, pre-heat your oven to 230°C. I use a steam tray in the oven too for the first part of the bake.

Once your dough has proved, put the loaf tin in the oven for 15 minutes. Then carefully take the steam tray out of the oven and turn the heat down to 200°C. Bake for another 45 minutes,.

Then take the loaf out of the tin and pop it back in the oven for another 15 minutes so that the sides and bottom are properly cooked.

Rye Vollkornbrot with Felin Ganol rye

When you take the bread out of the oven, wrap it in a clean tea towel and leave for 24 hours before tucking in. This allows the loaf to finish cooking and develop a good crumb. If you cut into it too early the inside will still be so moist so it will ‘drag’ as you cut. The wait is definitely worth it.

Other posts you may like:

Felin Ganol Amaretto Flour: Sourdough Bread



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11 responses to “Vollkornbrot: rye sourdough bread”

  1. Elaine Avatar

    Thanks so much.

  2. Elaine Avatar

    Hello Carl,

    I thought of you when I noticed the autumn nettles popping up in the garden today.

    Am I able to freeze or dehydrate a rye sourdough starter;when I go on holidays for three weeks?

    1. Carl Avatar

      Hi Elaine, nettles definitely with us now here in Spring – free food awaits 🙂

      The sourdough starter will freeze or dehydrate extremely well, I have done both. I would have thought you’d kust about get away with storing it in the fridge for 3 weeks too. Perhaps a combination of these would be a good idea with the freeze or dry as a backup 🙂

      Have a great holiday 🙂

  3. Carl Avatar

    Green Dragonette & Maureen, where has your patience gone you two? Goodness me… The trick is to make other bread in the oven on the same day so you have plenty to tempt you while the rye ‘matures’.

    Thank you both for making me laugh 😀

    1. Green Dragonette Avatar

      Oh…didn’t think of doing that…says a now rather sheepish Green Dragonette…

  4. Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef Avatar

    This bread sounds so good. I don’t think I could let it get cool much less wait 24 hours. Third loaf – that’s when I’d let it wait 24 hours 🙂

  5. Green Dragonette Avatar

    Oh I think I would find it so hard to leave the bread for 24 hours-even knowing it will taste the better for it!!

  6. Hazel Avatar

    I really must make a rye starter, been meaning to for ages, this post has just kicked me up the bum to do it! Cheers Carl x

    1. Carl Avatar

      Hi there Hazel, it’s really dead simple. I used the left over rye starter in some T55 French flour rolls I made the next day. Gave a lovely wholemeal edge and sourdough tang to the ‘French’ flavour of the baguette flour. Let me know how it goes 🙂

  7. Nina Avatar

    How do you make the rye sourdough starter ? Is it the same as the sour dough starter you wrote about before ? Oh by the way I absolutely love your blog 🙂 Thank you

    1. Carl Avatar

      Hi Nina, if you take a ‘normal’ white sourdough starter just refresh it 3 times using just rye flour and then it will be nearly all rye. You need to make sure you have built up enough for this recipe. So for example, I would take 150g of white starter in the evening and refresh with 150g rye & 150g warm water. Then discard about half and refresh again with 150g each of rye flour & water the next morning. Do this one more time that evening and you should have enough good active starter the next morning to bake with.

      Thanks so very much for the sweet comment about my blog, it means a lot to me that it is appreciated 🙂