Danish Rye Bread – a wonderful and very healthy bread

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  1. Robin Dunn Reply

    Thank you Sune. I for one am very grateful for your website and videos. What you do and that I can learn from it halfway across the world connects us as human beings on things that, in my opinion, really matter.

    • Thank you. It would be nothing, if nobody could use it, so I am very happy that what I make can make a difference for you.

  2. hi Sune! Tak for your recipe. There is something unclear though… where you explain about the formula, the measurements for the levain are different from the measurements down the page in the recipe! Which one is correct? Also, if you use the 166 or 100% hydrated levain – that would make a difference in the amount of levain used in the dough (not both 400gr i assume). Hope you can answer these questions. Thank you, greetings, Sjaan

    • Sorry for the late reply. Somehow your message went into spam.

      The reason the measurements are different is because they both turn into a 166% hydration starter with the levain. There’s enough for you to use 400g in the dough and something for a new rye mother dough 🙂

  3. Carla Eva De Angelis Viard Reply

    Hi Sune, great recipe. I have one question, can I replace the rye kernels for sunflower seeds?? ’cause it’s kinda of difficult to find those type of seeds in my country. Thanks in advance

    • The rye kernels gives it its signature feel, but sunflower seeds are delicious, so of course you can 🙂

  4. Jill Elaine Reply

    Hello Sune, There are two parts of the recipe which I felt were not quite clear for a first-time user of the recipe (aka me). One is step 3 of mixing the dough “Strain whatever water hasn’t been soaked by the seeds and add the to the bowl.” I had to watch the video to see that any strained water would be not be used in the recipe…the words were ambiguous, IMO. Better wording, perhaps: “Strain and discard any water that hasn’t been soaked up by the seeds. Then add the seeds to the bowl.”

    Two is the dimensions of the loaf pan. The only reference I could see in the recipe was to a “large bread pan”. The related video of the bread does not offer loaf pan dimensions either. What are the dimensions of the beech wood loaf pan you use?

    Finally I see a link below the video to a pan on Amazon with dimensions: “USA Pan 1.5 Pound Loaf Pan measures a full 10 x 5 x 3 inches”…which equals 150 square inches. I used a pan 12×4.5×3.125 inches = 168.75 square inches, yet it seemed too small for all the dough? I was concerned how much the dough might rise, so I put a portion of the dough in a mini-loaf pan; otherwise I think the dough would have almost filled my large loaf pan.

    I’ll let you know how the bread comes out! It’s proofing now. Thank you!

    • That’s a good point. I’ll update the recipe.

      The wooden pan I use is 28 cm x 8,5 cm x 8,8 cm. About 11 inch x 3.5 inch x 3.5 inch.

      The dough doesn’t rise a lot. Maybe 25% or so.

  5. Vincent Pancaldi Reply

    Hello Sune !, Thank you for recipe. I try to make the bread, replacing rye kernel with hazelnut and walnut, it turn out nice.
    I think there is a lot of room for improvement on my first trial. I did remove the bread when the internal temperature reached 98 degrees celcius, but i notice the tip of the thermometer was covered with a little gummy bread. That’s maybe the reason why it looks a little gummy. Do you think next time i should cook it until the tip of the thermometer comes clean ?

    • You’re welcome 🙂 That sounds delicious 😀

      How long was it in the oven to begin with? What size pan did you use? Did it rise during bulk? How long was bulk? Ambient temperature? 🙂

  6. Vincent Pancaldi Reply

    How long was it in the oven to begin with?
    It took approximately 60 minutes to reach the 98 degrees.

    What size pan did you use?
    The pan dimension is 24x15x12.5 cm, here is the link of pan

    Did it rise during bulk?
    In the pan a little rise covered in the oven light one (around 29 degree), it raised around 25%.
    The cooked outcome seems to have more bubble than yours (over proofing, maybe ?).
    But i checked the holes and there were around 6 holes on the top. I wonder if it’s not because of the hazelnut and walnut preventing some bubbles from appearing.

    How long was bulk?
    I let it for about 4 hours.
    After cooking, as suggested, i let it rest to room temperature, judging by the outside temperature.
    Maybe i should have check the internal temperature of the bread instead before storing it in the bag for the 1 day rest.

  7. Chris Reply

    Hi Sune,
    Excellent website and videos!
    How long does your rugbrod keep? I seem to recall my aunt keeping hers in the refrigerator. Is that OK?
    And can it be frozen without too much loss of flavour and texture?

    • It keeps fine for 3-4 days if wrapped in plastic. I will often keep a piece for the next couple of days and the rest I slice and freeze. Than I can take it out piece by piece and defrost in my toaster 🙂

  8. Lyle Reply


    I’m so happy to find your recipe. I’m just starting to bake bread and hopefully will see some success.

    One question regarding the recipe, is malt syrup absolutely necessary? Is it okay to omit or substitute? I have to limit my sugar intake ):

    Thanks again!

    • The malt syrup is for flavor, you may be able to change it out for anything malt flavored. I’ve sometimes made it with malt flour.

      There’s so little syrup that it’s negligible in a slice of the bread. I am a diabetic myself.

  9. Susan Miller Reply

    Thanks for your recipe and video! I am inspired to make a rye starter, as I have been trying to make this bread using online recipes that use yeast, and the results have been OK but not great.

    Question: What would you suggest if I wanted to play around with the seeds that I use, e.g., flax, sesame, sunflower.. Just keep the weight the same as the pumpkin seeds?

    Also, the Danish 100% rye that you can sometimes find in the US often has caraway (like the rye make with wheat here) – traditional or no?

    • Keep the weight the same, yes! 🙂

      Caraway seeds are not traditional in Danish rye bread. At least I’ve never tasted it. Traditionally we use it in pretzels, cheese (caraway cheese is delicious!) and snaps, which is a form of strong liquor.

  10. Vladka Reply

    Hi Sune,

    I have experienced that some bites of my sourdough rye bread are intensively bitter with quite persistent after taste. Have you ever experienced that? My only reasonable explanation is that it’s caused by the flax seeds going rancid couple of days after baking. But I am not sure. The flax seeds, and all other seeds I am using are always fresh.

    Thanks for any advice!

    • I never tried that, but rancid seeds are generally not very nice to eat, so that I a possibility. I’ve also heard of people having odd tasting rye bread from using not very fresh rye kernels.

  11. Mark Schwartzberg Reply

    I have now made this recipe 4 times and it is delicious, filling and wholesome. Cracked rye kernels are hard to find here in New England so I tried to “crack” them myself with a blender. It did not work very well, ending up with a mixture of whole kernels and rye flour. As an alternative I am now using steel-cut oats. The final loaf has the same consistency as it had with the partially cracked rye kernels, is a little less sour but is delicious with a nice chewiness to the crumb

    • That’s a good alternative, thanks 🙂 I will pass that on to other people unable to find cracked rye kernels 🙂

  12. Tomer Reply

    Hi Sune.

    First of, thanks for your efforts in putting up this blog and videos. Great stuff!

    I am a bit confused about the calculation for the regular started levain… The recipe calls for 125 gr starter at 100% hydration which if I am correct consists of 62.5 gr flour and 62.5 gr water. If we add the other ingredients I am getting
    150+62.5 = 212.5 gr flour
    350+62.5 = 412.5 gr water
    So the ratio is almost 2, or 200%

    Isn’t it so?

    I’m asking because I started the recipe and the levain send very liquid…


    • You are absolutely right. I recalculated it and you need to use 210 grams of rye flour. I updated the recipe.

  13. William S Steinke Reply

    What is that bread pan you baked in? I’m from the US and we don’t have any wooden bread pans like that. Do you have a link where I could get one?

  14. Alex Reply

    Hi Sune, thanks a lot for this great recipe and all the videos you are doing. I have learned a lot from them! I have made this bread now a few times, it tastes great. However, often, it comes out slightly crumbly, especially at the top and center of the loaf. Have you experienced this as well? Any remedies? Also, for other people struggling to get cracked rye kernels, I have been using whole kernels but let them soak for longer, that has been working fine for me.

    • What kind of rye flour are you using?

      Great with the kernels. I’ll add it to the article 🙂

  15. Piroska Toth Reply

    This website and your youtube channel are both really great sources for bakers, specially for sourdough bread bakers. Thank you for that! I’ve made a similar rye bread recipe many times before. BTW are Rugbrød and Smørrebrød the same? For readers in the US something called “rye chops” is available from King Arthur Flour online. Also, if you happen to have rye berries just put it in the food processor for a few seconds to chop it up. I do the same with oat berries to make steel cut oats. I can’t wait to give this particular recipe a try. I have everything I need, TIME including! 🙂 Happy baking Sune!

    • Thank you <3

      Rugbrød is the bread. It literally means rye bread.

      Smørrebrød are the open faced sandwiches. Smørrebrød means buttered bread.

  16. Alex Reply

    Hi Sune, replying to your question about the rye flour this way, as nothing seems to happen when I hit the ‘reply’ button. Where I am currently located, there is only 1 type of rye flour available, its finely ground and it says rye flour on it, that’s all the info I have… Cheers, A

  17. Sofia Nömm Reply

    Hi Sune!

    I baked this bread some days ago, but I had to have it inside the oven for almost two hours. It turned out very good though, but cant understand why? I turned the degrees down to 180 after 10 minutes.

    I also have a question about the Levain because I converted mine from a wheat starter which was very active when I fed it with rye, but it doesnt really rise anything at all. It gets some tiny bubbles inside, and some bigger on the top. Is the rye starter supposed to rise as much as the wheat starter? Thank you for so many great recipes 🙂 Sofia

    • Maybe you should get an oven thermometer to check if your oven is heating correctly.

      About the starter, that sounds weird. If you wheat starter is still active, I’d try to convert it again. Rye is normally more active than wheat.

  18. Agnieszka Biedrycka Reply

    I’ve just attempted Danish rye bread following an IKEA book recipe 😉 So far so good, but it didn’t really accommodate troubleshooting. Glad that I found your website. The bread was rising in the final proof until it touched the kitchen towel and collapsed slightly. I wasnt sure what to do next, and as I was afraid the sourdough was getting tired I put in the oven. It then cracked on top 🙁 What would you advise to do in a situation like that? Leave it to rise again? (Would it rise again?) (Glad that I found your website, I’ll be using your recipe next)

    • You answered your own question. If it cracked it wasn’t done proofing.

      I look for 5-6 of these tiny pinhole sized holes on the top of the dough. Then I bake 🙂

  19. Miss L C H Payne Reply

    hey thank you we just made this danish rye loaf, I’m half Finnish living in England so struggle to find good dark rye bread. This is so yummy! we didn’t have malt syrup or rye kernels so swapped with maple syrup and sunflower seeds and its perfect. it’s so squidgy and moist weve just been eating it with butter for breakfast, doesn’t need anything else! thanks for your great tips, weve been enjoying making sourdough during lockdown with the kids, a science lesson about fermentation! any tips for sourdough pizza?

    • Yes yes yes. Love rye bread <3

      Great that is working like a charm for you.

      I will soon have a sourdough pizza recipe coming out.

  20. Juan Pablo Vildosola Reply

    Hello Sure. Thank you very much for this recipe and all your videos. Really helpfull.

    I tried the rugbrød with your recipe and came out really good. Replaced rye kernels with buckwheat grains. I’m trying to get the Rye for my next bread!!

    What i,d like to achieve is some flavors I tasted in other rye breads that are missing in my first try.:

    more sour: I’d like it to be more tangy and soury. Should I change the rye starter? Another fermentation method ?
    flavor and color: how can I achieve a more dark, moist and dense interior, with pronounced nutty flavor? More malt ? Whole rye flour?

    Thanks again. Cheers !

    • You should use whole grain rye flour (the coarse kind) for this bread. It gives you more of those flavors you are looking for.

      The color should also be darker, but you malt syrup should be what’s giving you the color.

  21. David Reply

    Thank you very much for this fantastic recipe. My bread just came out of the oven and I can’t wait to cut it, see the crumb and taste the first slice. I had a lot of fun baking it and the experience gain is huge!
    You said the dough will rise 30-50%. I find it difficult to guess percentage of volume, especially when dealing with different pan shapes. Can you give a rule of thumb, like “leave x cm headspace”? It’s because when I noticed that my pan is 1 cm lower than yours it was too late, the dough was already overflowing on the baking tray. In the end, I guess, I didn’t exploit the oven spring that a higher pan would have given. Also my pan’s sides aren’t parallel but conical which might roughly even out, but I wonder if it influences the final result.
    How would you approach this? Scale down the ingredients or find a congruent pan? Would it work in any pan no matter the proportions, e.g. quadratical footprint, as long as the volume fits or does it for some reason need to be elongated?

    • What I do is put it in a clear plastic container with straight sides. Then I mark the top of the dough with a white board marker and I can easily monitor the growth quite precisely 🙂

  22. Tomer Cagan Reply

    Hi Sune,
    Have you ever try to let the dough rise in the refrigerator over-night?
    I am wondering whether that could give good results in terms of flavor and texture…

    • I never tried it with this bread, but it can be done with any sourdough bread. Rye is a bit temperamental when it comes to fermentation time, so it might be tricky to get right. Give it a go and see. Still look for the tiny pin sized holes on the top before baking.

  23. Kurt Teerlynck Reply

    Hi Sune and other bakers around the world. I live in Belgium. Yesterday I decided to give this recipe a second try after a first success. Again I didn’t follow the recipe into detail, here are my trial and errors. First time I decided to autolyse the rye flour in a separate bowl at the same time as the cracked rye kernels and pumpkin seeds. Next day this autolysed flour was almost impossible to mix with the other ingredients. Took me an hour to try and dissolve the lumps of strong ‘dough’. And still some remained in the final bread. I replaced half of the pumpkin seeds by pistachio this was a good idea, I lowered the amount of salt. Yesterday I made the Levain and noticed that after 5 hours he was so active that I didn’t want to risk him fall inn during the night. So I mixed all ingredients and put it it the fridge for the night. This morning I saw a nice rise in the bowl of more or less 20%. I put the dough in the baking tin and left it at room temperature for 3 hours and noticed the 6 holes in the surface so baked. It looks great, can’t wait to taste 🙂 Do you all leave the Levain at room temperature overnight? Thx for the great work and recipes. Kurt

    • Great that you are having success with changing the method around, there’s more than one way to skin a cat 🙂

      I really stopped using levain right now, but when I do I am not fussed with it falling. As long as it’s less than 12 hours since the peak 🙂

  24. Thanks for the recipe! I was wondering what kind of rye flour exactly you do use and if the substitution of malt sirup with sugarbeet syrup is ok. I have a “1000” type here in Germany but my crumb and crust are so much lighter – any idea what could cause this?

    • It’s dark whole grain rye 🙂

      The reason I use the syrup is because it also “paints” the bread darker. But you can basically add 2% diastatic malt powder instead.

  25. Morgan Roderick Reply

    Great recipe Sune!

    I’ve baked this three times now. I’ve greased the bread pans (I don’t have a fancy wooden one like Sune) with butter, olive oil, and coconut oil respectively. The butter gave the best (in my opinion) crust and super easy removal from the pans. The other’s … well, not so much. The crust wasn’t as nice and removal was very difficult. I’ll stick with butter (lucky pun!).

    My vegan neighbour will just have to make their own rye bread … or go vegetarian.

  26. Zuzanna Reply

    how would you alter the proportions to get 100% rye bread but no seeds/grains as the addition?

    • I’d just remove the seeds, but scale the recipe up to the same weight 🙂

  27. Eugen Reply

    Thanks for all your work on the recipes and explanations, I love it!

    Still, I’d like to offer a correction on your rye bread border: Austria is on the wrong side of it. All classical household breads have some rye, and even 100% rye sourdough bread is a classic available in any larger supermarket, bakeries anyway. Maybe the Wikipedia sources just happened to check only the 90s, where for whatever reason rye bread was indeed relatively expensive and more rare.

    • Alright. I actually live in Austria for a year from when I was 5 yo 6 years old.

      Back then we couldn’t get any rye bread, and we missed it alot. But that is also many, many years ago 🙂

  28. Hi Sune, thanks for your previous reply! I was wondering if you could recommend an online-shop selling these baking frames? In Germany the sizes are different, also there are none with a metal bottom available. Would highly appreciate any recommendation! Best regards, Andrea

  29. Kirill Reply

    Hi Sune,
    Thanks for the recipe! Can’t wait to try it!
    One question: for your bread calculator, what type should I enter malt syrup under? Is it fluid, sugar or other extras?
    Many thanks.

    • It’s an extra. I’d put it under “Other extras” 🙂

  30. Morgan Roderick Reply

    I couldn’t get the “reply to comment” function to work, so I am adding a general comment.

    Andrea was asking about her bread being much lighter. The malt syrup that you’re looking for in Germany is called Gerstenmaltz. I’ve been using this one https://www.arche-naturkueche.de/de/produkte/europaeische-kueche/sirup-malz/gerstenmalz, which I can find at both Vitalia and Denn’s biomarkt. I am sure there are other brands.

  31. Michelle G. Reply

    This is lovely! Do you also have a pumpernickel recipe that you recommend?

    • Unfortunately not. I’ve never even tried pumpernickel.

      I’ll look into it 🙂

  32. Jeanette T Reply

    Sune, may I use rye chops in place of the rye kernels? Thanks so much

  33. Joe Stewart Reply

    Hi Sune. I live this bread so much. Thank you! At last a lovely light and tasty Rye loaf.
    What I can’t perfect though is the ability to cut thin slices for open sandwiches as it’s so sticky. I usually toast it twice ( being English of course!)
    Really want to use it as bread though so I can do Smorgasbords.
    Also mine is rising so much it’s sticking to the wet cloth. Does it matter if it does that? Well over 7/8 pin holes. !
    Thanks again.

    • I think you may need to bake longer. It shouldn’t be that moist. Also, do you do the 24 hours in a ziplock bag before cutting into it? 🙂

  34. sten muchow Reply

    Love it! How about one with flax seeds?

  35. I’ve made this a couple of times now, and it’s by far my favourite rye bread recipe. Thank you for posting it.

  36. liza Reply

    I made this last week and it was delicious! I saved the extra levain in fridge. Do I need to feed it if I want to bake another loaf? Or, can I use the rye levain straight from the fridge as is?

    • You should be able to use it straight from the fridge. The more sour it is, the better the flavor in the bread.

  37. Jeanette T Reply

    Sune, May I use rye chops in place of the rye kernels. Thanks so much

    • I hadn’t heard of these before, but I think they’re very akin to the cut rye kernels that I use, so I say, go for it 🙂

  38. Franca Bernal Alterman Reply

    I’m getting ready to make this bread. I’m excited! On the written recipe you specific 225 g rye flour for the levain, but in the video you say 150. Would you clarify please?

    • Don’t worry, it’ll be fine, your bread will be fine.

      I’ve updated the amounts in the recipe since they were not completely correct. It isn’t completely correct in the video either, but if next time you use what’s in the written recipe you will be left with 80 grams of starter that you can use for your next rye bread 🙂

  39. Valerie G. Reply

    Hi Sune, can you please explain what you mean by 100% hydration for wheat starter, and 166% for rye? I use a rye sour dough starter. I have never heard of hydration associated with sourdough starter.

    • A 100% whole-grain rye starter will be very stiff, so it’s used at 166% hydration to ease maintenance. If your starter is made from equal amounts of flour and water (by weight), just proceed with the wheat starter (although it is wheat) 🙂

  40. Anna Reply

    Hello Sune! Thank you for this delicious recipe. I have made it about 5 times now, and although we absolutely love the flavour, It always comes out flawed. The top and sometimes part of the side crust, separates from the rest and also the middle part of the bread is usually so wet, that it crumbles.
    I really don´t know what goed wrong. I´m quite an experienced bread baker, but I can´t seem to figure it out with this one. Because the top collapses somewhat, I thought I may have fermented it for too long, but it has never fermented more than 40% in volume and I always look for the proper amount of ‘pinholes’. I also always temperature in the middle, so I´m absolutely sure it´s thoroughly cooked. Do you have any idea why this bread keeps crumbling down on me and why the crusts separate?

    • Hello Anna,

      It sounds like you may not be using full-extraction rye flour. Is it called whole-grain or dark rye?

      If you can’t get any other rye, I’d recommend lowering the hydration. It sounds like it’s over-hydrated.

      With regards to the crust separating. Do you let the bread rest for 24 hours before cutting into it? I know it’s hard to wait, but this time is essential for rye bread.



  41. Lou Reply

    Hello! How long do I need to soak whole rye kernels for?

  42. Marc Reply

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe and website, Sune. Where can I get a bread baking pan like the one you use for this wonderful Danish Rye Bread?

  43. Jacqui Reply

    Hi Sune,
    I would like some advice.
    I have been trying to make Danish rye bread and I have a problem with 1) too moist crumb (really gummy – sticks to the knife and balls up when I slice) and 2) fault or separation between crust and crumb so it falls apart when I slice.
    I tried baking longer (that didn’t help at all), reducing the hydration (that helped a bit but not enough)…
    My problem is, unfortunately, probably multi-factorial. I live in France so I can’t get cracked rye. I have been sprouting whole rye kernels as an alternative, but they do not behave the same way. Also my rye flour is certainly different from yours.
    Any ideas for trouble-shooting the gummy crumb and crust-crumb separation?
    Perhaps for the crust-crumb separation I am not proofing long enough??
    I recently purchases a bread pan with a lid but that did not solve the problem either.
    I bake ordinary sourdough bread all the time, so I sort of know what I am doing…
    I would be grateful for any comments.

    • Hello Jacqui,

      Both of those problems, gummy crumb, and top separation, usually happen when you underproof your dough, so you may want to extend the time that you proof 🙂


      • Jacqui Reply

        thank you so much. I will try to proof longer. My dough usually rises about 25% before I bake, as estimated from height in the bread pans, but the crumb and top separation are persistent problems. I will try proofing overnight in a cold place. I have not done that yet for my danish rye. Also I notice that you bake without the lid on the pan. I have tried wit and without, and that didn’t help much either. Any thoughts on the advantages/disadvantages to the lid?
        I will continue to experiment and I will get some cracked rye in a month or so when I get visitors from Denmark and that may help.
        It took me a while for my sourdough wheat bread to be reliably and repeatable good too but I have that one now :-))

        • I use the “pinhole method” for determining the proofing. When 6-8 pinhole-sized holes are on the top of the bread, it’s ready to bake. It works every time.

          For me, the lid is for sandwich bread. You don’t want to hinder the growth of rye bread 🙂

  44. Brnda Reply

    Hi Sune! When I make the levain the night before, should I put it in the refrigerator till I’m ready to make the dough, or should I leave it out on the counter at room temp?

  45. Joel Reply

    Thanks for this great recipe and tutorial. My kid is in Copenhagen now, coming home soon to the US and requesting Rugbrod and Smorbrod on her return. Im an experienced sourdough baker so Im good on the starter, levain, formula, etc. I got a pullman loaf pan ” 33x10x10cm. Wondering about the size of your pan so I can adjust to fill my pan properly. THanks for your help!

  46. James Reply

    I love rye bread, but I am having a constant difficulty with flying crusts. I followed the recipe exactly for a 100% wheat starter. I baked it at about 40% rise and still had the same problem. Most Danish rye recipes I have see follow these steps, so it’s definitely a me problem! Any suggestions? Thanks.

    • Try this: Look for about 8 pinhole sized holes on top of the bread as a measurement for if it is done proofing.