Whole Grain Rye Sourdough Bread

One loaf of whole grain rye sourdough bread with sunflower seeds on top on a cooling rack

It’s a weird world out there these days… last week when I saved Francesca (my rye sourdough starter) from the depths of my fridge to revive her, everything still felt relatively normal. This week there is a very different charge in the air.

Everyone feels wary of each other, the lone neighbour we might see on an afternoon walk takes a wide berth around to keep their distance (bless them) and that mama bear protective instinct continues to grow as my belly swells.

Hibernation has been fairly easy so far (maybe it’s that mama bear energy?) with more creations coming out of my kitchen in the last few weeks than the entire last year, including this whole grain rye sourdough bread. This is a bread I’ve been making for some time, but also haven’t made in awhile, proven by the potent smell of the dark, liquid hooch swishing around on top of Francesca. Thanks goes out to my Dad for requesting this bread for his birthday as it has finally found it’s way to my blog!

This whole grain rye sourdough bread is, in my humble opinion, the bomb. It is easier to make than other sourdough breads because there is no folding, kneading, stretching, shaping, etc, the texture is soft and moist and it keeps that way for a long time. Oh and it freezes beautifully, better than any other bread I’ve had or made. Which is perfect because it could be many weeks before my Dad actually has this loaf in his hands.

Wishing you all health and safety as we navigate the next few weeks.

Happy baking!

How to Create Your Rye Sourdough Starter

Follow the same steps outlined in my No Knead Spelt Sourdough Bread post with a two exceptions: use rye flour instead of spelt flour and use equal amounts of water to flour. For example, in Day 3 use 1/4 cup of water and in Day 4 use 1/2 cup of water.

Sample Bake Schedule

  • Last rye starter feed at 7:30am.
  • Active at 3:30pm so I mixed everything together, put it in the loaf pan and placed it in the fridge.
  • Removed from the fridge at 7:30am the next day and placed on the counter (not in a warm spot yet as I knew I had an appointment in the morning). However, you can place the loaf in a warm spot right away.
  • Placed in a warm spot (in this case, in the sunshine by my sliding door) at 12:00pm.
  • Proofed and ready to go in the oven at 2:30pm.

If you liked this recipe you are going to love these ones!

No Knead Spelt Sourdough Bread
Seedy Spelt No Knead Bread
No Knead Sourdough Rye Bread

Whole Grain Rye Sourdough Bread

Keyword Bread, Rye, Sourdough
Servings 1 loaf
Author Sophie


  • 200 grams active rye sourdough starter
  • 415 grams whole grain rye flour
  • 80 grams sunflower seeds toasted, plus extra for the top of the loaf
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 405 grams water at room temperature


  1. Grease and line a bread loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together the rye starter, flour, seeds, salt and water using your hands (or a large mixing spoon if you don't want to get sticky) until completely combined. Spoon the dough into the greased and lined loaf pan.

  3. Wet your hands with water and gently but firmly press the dough evenly out to the corners of the loaf pan. Smooth the top of the dough, wetting your hands again if necessary. Sprinkle extra sunflower seeds on top (optional).

  4. Cover the loaf pan to prevent the dough from drying out. Plastic wrap, a plate, or a tea towel are good options. Place in the fridge overnight to rest.

  5. Remove the loaf from the fridge, keep it covered and allow to proof in a warm spot (in the sunshine, near a heat vent/radiator, etc) until nearly doubled in size with visible cracks on top. This will usually take a 2 -3 hours depending on how warm the spot you chose is. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F before the bread has finished proofing.

  6. Bake for 50 minutes or until sides and bottom of loaf are a deep brown and the internal temperature of the bread has reached 200 degrees F.

  7. Remove from the oven and run a small knife down any sides of the loaf pan that were not covered in parchment. Place the loaf on a cooling rack, remove the parchment paper and allow to cool completely before slicing.

7 thoughts on “Whole Grain Rye Sourdough Bread

  1. Hello from Valencia, Spain. I would very much like to try making this recipe. The instructions give the link for a spelt sourdough starter, but the recipe itself calls for a sourdough rye starter. Please can you clarify? Thanks very much.

    1. Hi Jeanne, hello from Canada! Simply follow the same instructions as the spelt sourdough starter but use rye flour instead. 🙂 Happy baking!

  2. Thank you, Sophie. I ended up making your Opa’s sourdough rye instead. I scaled the recipe down to 120 grams additional rye every day, and still ended up with about 1500 grams of dough, enough to fill a loaf pan (covered with another loaf pan) and a free-shaped oval (baked in a Dutch oven). So pleased with the results — lovely rise in both loaves, pleasant flavour (mildly sour), and nice crumb. An excellent recipe that I shall be making again. I shall also attempt making the whole grain rye.

    Btw I was pleasantly surprised that the dough, after its first rise, was no longer as sticky, and I was able to shape it without wetting my hands or using flour.

    1. Hi Jeanne, that is so wonderful to hear! That recipe is close to my heart as my Opa used to make it on a daily basis and just the smell of it after it’s finished baking transports me back to childhood breakfasts at their table. 🙂 Happy baking!

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