We can all thank my uncle Guy for this Danish rye bread recipe.  This bread is full of flavour, easy to tweak, and stays fresh for about a week (unlike your bog-standard stale bloomer). I bake this weekly because it's delicious and easy to fit in around my science degree schedule.

The first stage of preparation describes how to reactivate the sourdough starter, ready for raising the dough (find your starter recipe here). The second stage just involves adding a little more flour, and the all-important black treacle (or molasses) that counterbalances the bitterness of rye flour, and gives the bread its signature dark colour.

The key to this recipe is giving the starter enough time for the yeast to produce carbon dioxide - essential to creating airy, well-risen bread. This process takes longer in sourdough than in generic fast-action yeast (the key is in the name), but also benefits the loaf - making it more interesting in texture and flavour. So please, DON'T RUSH! 

Even if you leave the dough for too long in the second stage, and it collapses in a little (I have been guilty of this), you'll still get a great tasting loaf.

Danish Rye Bread

  • Prep Time:1 day
  • Cook Time:1 hr 15 mins
  • Total Time:1 day 1 hr 15 mins
  • Servings:10
  • Medium


  • 350 ml tepid water
  • 2 heaped tbsp rye starter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 275g brown rye flour
  • 1 tbsp black treacle molasses in the US
  • 75g wholemeal flour
  • optional seeds your choosing
  • a handful oats to top
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  • Step 1

    The evening before you want to bake your bread, combine the water, starter and salt in a bowl - whisk or stir for about 30 seconds, until the starter has broken up and the salt is dissolved.

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  • Step 2

    Mix in the rye flour, cover the bowl with clingfilm or a large plastic bag, and leave overnight.

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  • Step 3

    The next morning you should have a bubbly looking mix that has expanded a little - you have successfully reactivated your starter!

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  • Step 4

    Stir the black treacle into this mixture.

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  • Step 5

    Next, add the 75g of wholemeal flour and any seeds of your choosing.

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  • Step 6

    Grease a high walled 9 inch loaf tin with oil of your choosing. Pour your dough mix in, and level off the top with the back of a spoon, before scattering over the oats.

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  • Step 7

    Cover with clingfilm or a plastic bag, and leave for 5-8 hours, until it has risen about 5cm. The timing here will be different depending on how warm your environment is.

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  • Step 8

    Preheat the oven to about 190C/375F/Gas mark 4, and bake your loaf for about an hour and a quarter.

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  • Step 9

    Remove the loaf from the oven, turn it out of the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. Alternatively, cut off one end impatiently and eat it with lots of salty butter (like me).

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