Rye bread

A crusty, flavorful rye bread that is great for sandwiches. With the Dutch oven baking method these loaves come out of the oven looking spectacular as well.
Close-up of rye bread crust.

Makes: 1 large boule
Time: About 4-5 hours, largely unattended


  • 3 cups of unbleached bread flour
  • 1 cup of organic rye flour
  • .5 cup instant mashed potato flakes
  • 3 teaspoons of active dry yeast, mixed into .5 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of diastatic malt powder* (optional)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds (plus more for crust)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 12 ounces of lager beer (1 bottle)
  • 4-8 tablespoons of dill pickle brine**, depending on how wet or dry the flour mix is


  1. Mix all ingredients in a mixer, or by hand. Mix for 3 minutes in a mixer; about 5 minutes by hand.
  2. The dough should form a sticky ball after a minute of mixing. In a mixer the dough should be moist enough to stick to the sides and bottom of the mixer bowl, but should still mostly form a sticky ball on the dough hook, not a heavy batter or a smooth-surfaced ball entirely stuck to the bread hook of the mixer. Add beer or pickle brine in tablespoon increments if the dough seems too dry. Add a few tablespoons of flour if the dough seems too runny and batter-like.
  3. Spray Pam into a stainless steel bowl, and scoop the dough into the bowl. Cover loosely with a dish towel or plastic wrap and set aside for 2-3 hours (the longer the better).
  4. Remove the risen dough to a floured work surface and gently fold the dough over several times to knead. Then form the boule or long loaf shape for the final rise.
  5. Let the dough rise for 1.5 – 2 hours.
  6. If you want a seeded surface, roll the top surface of the dough over a plate of several tablespoons of caraway seeds, or mixed caraway and poppy seeds.
  7. Use the Dutch oven baking method for the best results.

See my general notes on yeast bread baking for more information on what brands of ingredients and equipment I use. Also, I have notes on the Dutch-oven bread baking method that I usually use for this bread.

*Diastatic malt powder is finely ground malted wheat germ that enhances the yeast growth and the overall texture of the finished bread by providing useful wheat germination enzymes. Not essential, but cheap and easy to add. You can get a several-year supply of diastatic malt for just $5 at King Arthur.

**Dill pickle brine is the jar water from a batch of fresh (refrigerated) pickles. I use the jar brine from Claussen Half Sours “New York Deli Style,” but you can also use the brine from regular fresh dill pickles.

Artisan rye bread.

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