Walnut Rye Sourdough Bread Recipe – An awesome combination of tastes

When you are making a sandwich, sometimes you want a little something else. Something that compliments the toppings you want to put on the sandwich. You’ve done the white bread 100 times and it’s satisfying, no doubt. But there’s not that much taste. What should you do? This is my recipe for walnut rye sourdough bread.

This bread is inspired by two different classic Danish loaves of bread: a walnut (valnøddebrød) dark crusty bread with a soft crumb and lots of walnuts, and a Danish rye bread (rugbrød) which contains 100% rye flour and lots of seeds.

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The dough in this walnut rye sourdough recipe


Total weight1397 grams
Prefermented flour8.8%
Yield2 small loaves of bread


The dough consists of 70% bread flour and 30% whole-grain rye flour (dark rye). It’s important to use a high gluten bread flour, since the amount of rye in this dough, may impede the gluten development just by pure dilution. Using lots of rye is imperative to the taste though.

walnut rye sourdough bread on a wooden board

The inoculation is 20%, which should work fine in most cases. If you are somewhere warm, you may want to lower it, or if you just want to do a long and slow fermentation. The salt content is 2%, which is normal. If you are not afraid of salt, you can easily go for 2.5% for a more tasty loaf of bread.

The amount of barley malt syrup is 2.4%, which might not seem like a lot, but this is powerful stuff and will overpower the taste if you add too much.

WeightIngredientBaker's Percentage
430gbread flour69.4%
190gwhole-grain rye flour30.6%
120gstarter (100% hydration)19.4%
15gbarley malt syrup2.4%

If you want to play around with the formula, change quantity, hydration, or inoculation, you can do so here in my Bread Calculator.

walnut sourdough bread on a wooden board

I don’t have/can’t get barley malt syrup. What I can substitute with?

If you are not able to get barley malt syrup, you can create a pretty good taste substitute.

Combine 125g/1 cup of dark ale and 125g/1 scant cup of dark brown sugar in a pot. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer uncovered until you have a very thick syrup. This can be used in place of barley malt syrup.

Stored in the fridge, it stays good indefinitely.

The conclusion of this walnut rye sourdough bread recipe

So when this bread comes out of the oven, you cannot help but smile. The smell of the rye and barley malt syrup is unmistakable. You just want to cut into it, while it’s still warm.

When you do cut into the bread, the walnuts are scattered throughout the soft and moist crumb. When you smell it you cannot help but salivate. This is an awesome bread.

The crust is crispy, the crumb is soft. The taste is a wonderful combination of artisan sourdough bread and Danish rye bread. The delicious walnuts are just the cherry on the top.

It can be eaten with anything you’d put on Danish rye bread: butter, cheese, meats, smoked salmon, or pickled herring.

It’s wonderful Give it a try.

the crust in the walnut rye sourdough bread recipe

Please share this recipe for walnut rye sourdough bread

This is my recipe for walnut rye sourdough bread. If you like the recipe please consider sharing it with like-minded bread lovers on social media.

If you make it and post it on Instagram, please tag me as @foodgeek.dk so I can see it. That would make me very happy.

Ad links! Links for equipment and ingredients in this recipe are affiliate links, which means I will get a commission if you purchase the product!

Walnut Rye Sourdough Bread

Course: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Danish
Keyword: danish rye bread, rye sourdough bread, valnøddebrød, walnut bread, walnut rye sourdough bread, walnut sourdough bread
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes
Proofing: 10 hours
Total: 12 hours
Servings: 2 walnut rye breads
Calories: 1676kcal
Author: Sune Trudslev
Nutrition Facts
Walnut Rye Sourdough Bread
Amount Per Serving (1 walnut rye bread)
Calories 1676 Calories from Fat 486
% Daily Value*
Fat 54g83%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Polyunsaturated Fat 38g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Sodium 2346mg102%
Carbohydrates 255g85%
Fiber 22g92%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 49g98%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
My walnut rye sourdough bread is a bread inspired by a classic Danish walnut bread, but the addition of rye flour complements the natural sourness of sourdough bread. The addition of walnuts is the cherry on the top.
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  • 430 g high gluten bread flour
  • 190 g whole-grain rye flour
  • 480 g water
  • 120 g starter fed and grown to its peak
  • 12 g salt
  • 15 g barley malt syrup
  • 150 g walnuts


Mix the dough

  • To a medium bow add: 430g bread flour, 190g rye flour and 12g salt. Mix it to distribute it evenly.
  • Then add: 120g sourdough starter, 15g barley malt syrup, and 480g water.
  • You may not want to add all of the water at once if your bread flour isn’t super absorbent. If you start at 416g for 70% hydration and add another 32g for 75%. The dough should not be too slack.
  • Mix for a little bit. Add 150g of whole walnuts. If you like walnuts, you can use up to 300g.
  • Mix until you've hydrated all flour, and let the dough rest for an hour.

Bulk fermentation

  • Then do three sets of stretch and folds spaced out by 30 minutes.
  • After the third set, you can check the gluten development, but it'll probably fail because of the high amount of gluten. The rest of the bulk should fix this if you've used high-gluten bread flour.
  • Put the dough in a container with straight sides, and level the top of the dough.
  • Then mark the top of the dough and where it will have grown 50%.
  • Then put the dough somewhere warm. I use my Brød and Taylor proofer set to 30°C/86°F.

Division & Shaping

  • Then when the dough has grown to 50%, divide the dough into two equally sized pieces.
  • Pre-share the dough pieces into a loose ball. Let the dough rest on the counter for 20 minutes.
  • The final shape of both doughs, and put them in bannetons.
  • For how to shape, watch the video. I've linked the correct sized bannetons in the equipment section.
  • Then put both doughs in the fridge and let them retard for at least 8 hours, but up to 48 hours.


  • When it’s time to bake, heat your oven to 260°C/500°F with a dutch oven inside. I use a Challenger Bread Pan linked in the equipment section.
  • After an hour of heating, grab one of the doughs from the fridge and dust the bottom with rice flour to make it slide off the peel easily.
  • Flip it onto the peel and dust the top with rice flour for an exciting look. Then score the dough.
  • Put the dough inside the dutch oven and the lid on the dutch oven.
  • Immediately turn the heat down to 230°C/450*F and bake for 20 minutes. Then take the lid off the dutch oven and bake for another 25 minutes.
  • Take it out of the oven when the bread is wonderfully browned and finished and let it cool on a wire rack.
  • Reheat to 260°C/500°F and then bake the other bread the same way.


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  1. Renee Reply

    This looks and sounds delicious. Is there a substitute ingredient for malted barley syrup?

    • You can make a taste equivalent by mixing:

      1 cup/125g dark ale
      1 scant cup/125g dark brown sugar

      Put it in a pot, bring it to the boil, let it simmer without a lid for 30-40 minutes until a thick syrup forms. Kept in the fridge, this should stay good for years 🙂

  2. in2insight Reply

    Looks awesome. Question, if using whole spelt flour instead of regular one, should I increase the water? Thanks!

    • You will probably have a hard time baking a bread with 70% spelt flour and 30% rye flour. The gluten in spelt is not as strong. If you want to go that route make a stiffer dough, and knead it instead 🙂

  3. Tam Lee Reply

    I made it and it’s very tasty. However it didn’t rise very high, is that normal? I did add 1/2 tsp of diastatic malt powder and also used your oven off method. Would that have made the difference?

    • Do you mean oven spring? How was the gluten development? Have you used the oven off method successfully before? 🙂

  4. This is a delicious bread. I bake them yesterday. My fermentation took 8 hrs, so I left it on my counter and got up early , which turned out to be perfect timing. My question is, could I add caraway seeds or more of something to increase the rye flavor? It’s very faint. What would you suggest? Thanks so much!

    • Caraway seeds or barley malt syrup will accentuate the rye flavor 🙂