Russian Rye Bread

Rye bread with a light sour taste that Russians love. Good both for bread maker and oven. It's dense, high in fiber, low in fat and much healthier than regular white bread (requires no yeast). It takes time to prepare, but believe me it's worth the effort, and most of this time you just have to wait and do nothing. If you want to try real Russian bread - this recipe is for you.
Russian Rye Bread


  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (wheat or all purpose)
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup earl grey tea (strong and warm, or you can just use warm water)
Prep time:
88 hours, 50 minutes
Cook time:
50 minutes
Total time:
89 hours, 40 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf | Prep time: 88 hours, 50 minutes | Cook time: 50 minutes | Total time: 89 hours, 40 minutes


Instructions are written for 1 loaf.


1. First, we will need to make our sourdough starter. In a large glass bowl or jar, mix 1 cup rye flour and 1 cup warm water. Cover with a cotton towel or cloth and let stand at room temperature for 3 days (it’s good if the temperature is at least 77F). Stir the mixture every 24 hours. By the end of this time, it should be a bit thinner with some bubbles and light sour smell.
Russian Rye Bread photo instruction 1
Russian Rye Bread photo instruction 2
2. After 3 days, we will make our pre-dough. Mix together 1 cup of starter, 2 cups of rye flour and 3/4 cup warm water. Cover with a cotton towel or cloth and let stand at room temperature for 12 hours. At the end of this time, the mixture should become thinner and bubbles appear.
Russian Rye Bread photo instruction 3
3. Let’s make our dough. I used my bread maker to mix together the pre-dough, 1 cup rye flour, 1 cup wheat flour, cumin, molasses, salt and tea. The dough should be a little stickier than most regular bread dough, when mixing it will be starting to form a ball on your spoon/bread maker attachment. Let the dough rise for about 3 hours in a warm place. I left mine in bread maker, if you decide to bake it in your oven, place the dough in a loaf pan (previously covered with parchment paper) before leaving it to rise.
Russian Rye Bread photo instruction 4
4. Bake in bread maker for about 50 minutes. (If in oven, bake at 400F (200C) for about 50 minutes).
Russian Rye Bread photo instruction 5
5. When the bread is ready, brush it slightly with water. Let cool, slice and serve.
Russian Rye Bread photo instruction 6

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Add Comment

English breakfast tea

Great recipe! I used water because I only had English Breakfast tea. I didn’t want to mess up the bread. But for next time could I use English Breakfast tea?

I haven't tried it with English Breakfast tea, but think it should be fine. I love the flavor of the earl grey for this recipe though :) - Alena


I followed the exact steps except used water instead of tea, then baked it in oven. It was very good, and my Russian wife and her friends loved it! Thank you so much for the recipe. I think I will bake this regularly.

Awesome! Great to hear your wife and her friends liked it! - Alena

Have tried a couple of times now

Really good, for something so easy - my Russian parents said it was as good as anything they've had. Note: I left out the caraway, and used a really nice dark smokey tea instead of earl grey. Molasses is easy to get *at beer making stores* - and its useful to have if your wanting to make any German / Eastern Euro style breads. Thanks for the recipe!

You're welcome! Thanks for your tips and such a wonderful review! - Alena

Really Good!

Note: If you use your own starter, skip to step 3, since thats where you'd be after a daily feeding. Also note, for this to work I used about 3 cups of starter for 2 loaves. The final dough was still a little liquidy, so I added half a cup of additional rye flower. I also added 2 folds, to give the bread *some* structure - which worked pretty well. My starter takes a little while to get going, so I had it sit in the bread pan for almost 4 hours in a warm place. If you're using a bread pan, make sure to grease the heck out of it - rye flower is super sticky.

Great! Thanks for sharing your tips! - Alena



It takes so long because you make a starter from scratch, it takes about 3 days, when you make it once, you will be feeding and using the same starter over and over again.

Good Recipe

Followed the recipe exactly, made the pre-dough then mixed everything in bread machine, shaped and baked in oven. It was good, will make it again

Thank you, Monika! Glad to hear you liked this dark rye bread! - Alena

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