Simple recipe for rye and spelt sourdough bread with caraway seeds

I confess, I am not a fan of caraway seeds.  I think maybe I over loaded on them when I was a child, or maybe I never liked them.  Recently, however, I have used them in cooking (rather than baking) as they are called for in my recipe for cabbage rolls (which I LOVE) and I have come to appreciate that a teeny tiny amount of caraway seeds taste rather delicious.

This is a traditional mixed grain bread recipe off the boat from any of the Northern countries where rye rules and caraway is a frequent and honoured guest.  It’s simple to do and the results are delicious.  Another great recipe from the all new, re-written Home Made Sourdough (UK edition) that comes out sometime soon!  Click here if you need to learn more about making and using a rye starter before you begin.


130 g rye sourdough from the vat in the fridge
125 g dark or light rye flour
275 g whole or white spelt flour (or a mixture)
210 g water
50 g malt syrup (you can use honey, agave, or molasses)
8 g salt
50 g lard (you can use butter)
1/2 tsp caraway seeds (really, no need for more)


Day One

Measure the sourdough starter into a large bowl and return any remaining starter to the refrigerator.

Add 25 g of the rye flour, 25 of the spelt flour and 60 g of the water.  Stir and cover with plastic wrap, and leave on the counter for around 8 hours.

Day Two

Add the remaining ingredients and knead well for 10 minutes.  Cover the bowl with a shower hat and let it rest for 1 hour on the counter.

Generously flour a medium sized (around 800 g) round proofing basket.

Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a floury work surface.  With wet hands and a scraper, gently stretch and fold it and then shape it into a tight ball.

Caraway rye resting

Caraway rye resting

Sprinkle a lot of flour over the dough and pick it up with a scraper and put it floury side down in the basket.  Cover it with a shower hat and let it rest for 3-5 hours.  It’s hard to do the probe test with rye but the dough will have risen a lot and will be soft to touch – your finger tip will easily leave dents in the dough

Preheat the oven to 230 degrees celsius and turn the dough out of the basket onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper.  Put in the dough.  Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 200 degrees celsius and bake for a further 30 minutes.

Remove from the tin and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Inside of caraway rye

Inside of caraway rye

If you would like to start or perfect your sourdough baking, come and take the sourdough class with us!  If you are not yet ready for sourdough and really want to start baking bread come and take one of our other classes!  We look forward to welcoming you.

Rather lovely pattern on outside of caraway rye

Rather lovely pattern on outside of caraway rye


3 Replies to “Simple recipe for rye and spelt sourdough bread with caraway seeds”

  1. I only (so far ..) maintain an all-purpose flour sourdough starter. If I use that, can I follow theater if the recipe as written?

  2. Hi Sarah, this is a rye starter recipe which behaves a little differently from wheat. Actually a lot differently. Howver, if you would like to try this with a wheat starter, (now I am going to kind of make this up but it should work) try this:

    50 g of your starter + 50 g spelt flour + 50 g water. stir, leave on counter overnight covered.
    add the rest of the spelt and rye flour called for and add about 260 g water. you may need more (like quite a bit more – don’t worry if you do) because there is quite a bit of rye. Knead and follow the recipe!

    Let me know how it works out! And while you experiment, you can make a rye starter. I use mine more than the wheat starter, to be honest, because it’s much more active and punchy!

  3. Thank you so much. I look forward to trying this and will let you know how it goes.
    I grew my own sourdough starter 3 years ago with the recipe from Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman and have mostly been using his sourdough bread recipes, modifying my starter/liquid ratio as necessary as I maintain a stiff culture and the book has recipes using stiff or liquid cultures.

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