What Are the Best Tips to Make Rye Bread?

C.B. Fox

A person who wants to make rye bread should keep a number of things in mind no matter what recipe is used. The bread will turn out better if higher quality ingredients are used and if those ingredients are kept at the proper temperature. Rye bread should be baked in the center of an evenly heated oven, as well, so that it cooks through consistently.

High quality ingredients are needed for good rye bread.
High quality ingredients are needed for good rye bread.

One of the best tips to make rye bread is to use high quality ingredients. The main ingredient, rye flour, should be fresh and free from molds that can grow on the flour. If a wheat flour is also used in a recipe, using a high quality bread flour rather than an all-purpose or baking flour will yield better results. The water used to make rye bread will also effect the quality of the bread, and distilled water is preferred.

The yeast used in the bread can effect its consistency and flavor. Many types of yeast, including those used for brewing beer, can be used to make rye bread. Liquid yeasts, which are often kept refrigerated until they are needed, are usually more active than dried yeasts and are preferred. Quick-acting yeast can be used, but it changes the amount of time it takes for the dough to rise and may produce bread that is less consistent in texture. Yeast should be tested to make sure it is alive before it is mixed into the dough by placing a small amount in a little water and flour and waiting 10 minutes to see if bubbles form.

Keeping the ingredients at the proper temperature is another way to make rye bread turn out best. Yeast is a living organism and reproduces best in moderate temperatures. The water used to make the dough should be mixed in when it is at room temperature so that it doesn't shock the yeast. The dough itself should also be placed in a cool, draft-free area while it is rising.

Once the dough is ready to be baked, it is important to cook it evenly. To make rye bread cook consistently throughout the loaf, the oven used should be heated to the temperature given on the recipe and allowed to sit at that temperature for about a half hour before the bread is placed in the oven. Placing the loaf in the exact center of the oven will also help it to cook evenly.

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Discussion Comments


@donasmrs-- Hey! Thanks for your comment.

Have tried adding caraway seeds to your dough? This is a really popular way to make rye bread and it's the signature ingredient in the Russian recipe for rye bread. All you need is a tablespoon of ground caraway seeds. Add this into your dough and it will give a really pleasant, aromatic flavor to your bread. You can use dry onion flakes instead of caraway too if you want.

As far as making the bread shiny, it can be done in several different ways. Coating the bread with milk a few minutes before you remove it from the oven can make it shiny. A mixture of oil and egg whites can do that too, when brushed on before putting the loaf in, but it will also give the bread a brown crust.

The other way you can make it shiny is with a cornstarch and water mixture. This is made by dissolving some corn starch in cold water and then adding this to boiling water. It's brushed on both before putting the bread in the oven and right after removing it for shine.


@literally45-- You're right, working with a starter instead of yeast is harder. There have been a couple of times where I had to start from scratch because I couldn't get my starter to rise properly. If the starter isn't strong enough and doesn't rise to double or triple its size while fermenting, it doesn't raise the dough either. I usually worry more about my starter than anything else while I make rye bread.

Do you by chance have any tips on how I can make rye bread different and more interesting? I've been using a very basic rye bread recipe for a while now. It's a good recipe and the results have been good, but I want to try something different.

The other day, I saw pictures of rye bread on someone's food blog and the bread looked so shiny and nice. Do you know how I can get my rye bread to have a shiny coat like that?


I make sourdough rye bread which requires a starter instead of yeast. This kind of rye bread is a little harder to make, especially if you decide to make your own starter instead of buying it. I personally buy my starter and put all the rye bread ingredients together a day before I plan on baking. It takes sourdough rye dough about a day to rise to the right size.

Aside from this, everything else is the same. The article has pretty much covered everything you need to know. Heating up the oven is definitely very important.

I also recommend slashing the top of the dough before baking. This is usually done to give the bread a more authentic look and make apparent the rising that takes place in the oven while the bread bakes. Aside from this though, it also helps the bread cook thoroughly by allowing moisture to escape.

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