Sourdough Starter and Sourdough Rye Bread

Total Time
3hrs 20mins
Prep 2 hrs 45 mins
Cook 35 mins

A very satisfying and tasty country bread from Eastern Europe, this is not difficult to make. The starter has to be left to ferment for a couple of days, so it does require a little advance planning. This makes 2 large loaves. Enjoy! Adapted from Classic Home Cooking. Prep time does not include time to make the starter or sponge, but does include rising time.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Make the starter:.
  2. Put the flour into a large bowl and stir in yeast. Make a well, pour in the water and mix.
  3. Cover tightly and leave at room temperature for 2 days. Or you could leave the starter in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  4. Make the sponge:.
  5. Put the rye flour into a large bowl, add 2 cups of sourdough starter and the water, and stir to mix. Cover tightly and leave at room temperature for 8 hours or chill in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  6. Make the bread:.
  7. Put the flour into a bowl, add the sponge mixture , yeast, measured water, caraway seeds(if using), and salt, and mix to a soft and slightly sticky dough.
  8. Turn the dough into a large ungreased bowl, sprinkle the top with flour, cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours, until doubled in size.
  9. Lightly sprinkle 2 baking sheets with cornmeal. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and punch down with your fist. Knead for 3-4 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Halve the dough and form each half into a round. Score the tops with a sharp knife.
  10. Place on the baking sheets, cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes or until they have doubled in size.
  11. Place loaves in a 425*F. oven. Fill a roasting pan with boiling water and place at the bottom of the oven. Bake the loaves for about 35 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Tap the bottoms to see if the loaves are cooked; they should sound hollow. Leave to cool on wire racks. Enjoy!
Most Helpful

This is a excellent recipe for sour dough starter. I used it to make ciabatta bread and sour dough pancakes so far. Both turned out great. The most important thing to remember(which I had forgotten) is to let the starter come to room temperature before incorperating into a recipe. Thanks Sharon for this great recipe!

mermaid1957 May 30, 2010

I made bread the way I always do; by feel and resistance, and I didn't measure out flour; but I did add one fourth of a cup of instant coffee into the sponge prior to making the bread, and then added all white flour after I made the sponge as directed, and it was fabulous bread. That was four weeks ago, and I'm still feeding my starter and baking bread. Excellent recipe!

Pamela Joyce Ochsner November 06, 2008

This recipe was impossible the way it was written, there is no way that the three cups of water was enough for the amount of dough this made. However, once I added another couple of cups of warm water, this turned out the most perfect NY rye bread I have ever made. My girlfriend thought I had bought an artisan loaf at the store. Flavor was excellent, and the texture was perfect. Made it again with 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat flour and it was, of course, heartier, but still excellent in texture and flavor. I will make this again and again. The time involved is really worth it!

Northwest Suechef April 11, 2007