Rye Bread Recipe

4.67 from 6 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This is a classic homemade Rye Bread recipe that is rustic, flavorful, and made with caraway seeds. Rye bread makes the best toast and great sandwiches too!

If you are making the effort to bake homemade bread I love when the recipe yields 2 loaves-and this one does! You don’t need a bread pan to make this recipe. Simply shape the dough into a ball and you will end up with a perfectly round loaf when you are finished. 

beautiful perfectly round baked bread loaf and then some slices that are buttered
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

A sandwich made on rye bread feels extra fancy and delicious compared to a piece of regular store-bought bread. The Reuben sandwich just wouldn’t be the same without rye bread and it’s a great option for things like my cucumber sandwich and chicken salad, too!

Caraway seeds are a popular seed that is often used in rye bread recipes. This seed is what gives rye bread its unique flavor. Caraway seeds aid in the flavor of rye bread but also offer benefits for the digestive system as well. 

beautiful perfectly round baked rye bread loaf on a cooling rack.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Texture: Rye bread typically has a dense and hearty texture, which some people prefer over lighter, fluffier bread varieties.
  • Flavor: Rye bread has a distinctive and robust flavor that many people find appealing. It can range from mildly sweet to slightly tangy, depending on the type of rye flour used and the fermentation process.
  • Nutritional Benefits: Rye bread is often considered a healthier option compared to white bread because it contains more dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Rye is a good source of fiber which can help maintain a feeling of fullness.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Active Dry Yeast: The essential leavening agent that activates fermentation, giving the bread its airy texture.
  • Warm Milk: Adds moisture and richness to the dough, creating a soft and tender crumb.
  • Molasses: Imparts a subtle sweetness and a deep, caramelized flavor to the bread, complementing the earthiness of rye.
  • Melted Butter: Enhances the bread’s richness and adds a hint of buttery goodness.
  • Caraway Seeds: Infuse the bread with a distinct, slightly nutty flavor and a pleasant aroma.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Provides structure and helps the bread rise, creating a light and airy texture.
  • Dark Rye Flour: The star of the show, lending rye bread its signature flavor and dense, hearty texture.

See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities 

perfect slices of buttered rye bread
  1. Sourdough Starter: Instead of using commercial yeast, some bakers prefer to make rye bread with a sourdough starter. This natural fermentation method gives the bread a distinct tangy flavor and can be a great option for those who enjoy sourdough bread.
  2. Honey or Maple Syrup: If you don’t have molasses or prefer a different sweetener, you can substitute honey or maple syrup for a unique flavor twist.
  3. Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil: While melted butter is traditional, you can use olive oil or vegetable oil for a different taste and texture. Olive oil can add a fruity note to the bread.
  4. Seeds and Nuts: In addition to caraway seeds, you can experiment with other seeds like fennel, anise, or sesame seeds. Adding chopped nuts, such as walnuts or sunflower seeds, can also provide extra texture and flavor.

How To Make Rye Bread

  1. Activate yeast by dissolving it in warm water and let it sit for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Combine milk, molasses, melted butter, salt, caraway seeds, and all-purpose flour to form a smooth mixture.
  3. Gradually add rye flour until the dough is manageable, then knead it for about 10 minutes until smooth.
  4. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour in a greased bowl, covered.
  5. After rising, punch down the dough, divide it into two pieces, and shape each into a round loaf.
  6. Place the loaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet, let them rise for an hour, then bake at 425°F for 25-30 minutes until the top is deep brown. Cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does rye bread need kneading?

Rye bread is really low in gluten so kneading isn’t necessary. The dough won’t be as supple as other wheat breads you have made. Rye bread dough is very sticky to work with. I suggest dipping your hands in water so the dough won’t stick to your hands when working with it.

How do you eat rye bread?

Rye bread is good for all occasions. It makes the most delicious toast and sandwiches. It is good with a cream cheese spread, butter, jam, or slap some deli meat and cheese in between 2 slices to create the yummiest lunch. My favorite little sandwich to make with rye bread is cucumber sandwiches!

Is it OK to freeze rye bread?

Rye bread freezes beautifully. You can freeze rye bread either in slices or whole. Wrap the loaf (or slices) in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag for optimal freshness. When properly stored the loaf will be good in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

beautiful perfectly round baked rye bread loaf cut into slices on a plaid dish towel.

Expert Tips

  • You can use light rye flour if that’s what you have on hand. I like the dark rye as it lends to a little more flavor in my opinion. It’s the whole grain version of light rye (like a whole wheat flour vs. all-purpose) and it adds a lot to the texture of the bread too.
  • Caraway seeds have a very specific flavor and I love them in rye bread. That being said, my kids don’t love them. I’ll often make a batch without them for them. 

What is the Difference Between Light and Dark Rye Bread?

Light rye bread is made with a lower proportion of rye flour and a higher proportion of white or wheat flour. It has a milder flavor and lighter color. Dark rye bread, on the other hand, contains a higher percentage of rye flour, resulting in a denser texture and a stronger, more robust flavor.

Storing Rye Bread

To keep rye bread fresh, store it in a cool, dry place in a paper bag or bread box. Avoid storing it in a plastic bag, as this can make the crust soggy. If you have leftover rye bread, you can freeze it for longer-term storage. Slice it before freezing, and it can be reheated in a toaster or oven.

More Bread Recipes to Consider

Did you try this recipe? Leave a ⭐️ rating below and share it on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest!

beautiful perfectly round baked bread loaf and then some slices that are buttered
4.67 from 6 votes

Rye Bread Recipe

A classic rye bread recipe with caraway seeds that makes two round loaves that are tender but sturdy and make the best toast and sandwiches. 
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 2 Loaves


  • 3 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 2 cups warm milk
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons caraway seed
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3-4 cups dark rye flour


  • In a large mixing bowl dissolve the yeast in warm water and the allow the mixture to sit for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the milk, molasses, butter, salt, caraway seeds and the all purpose flour.
  • Mix very well until smooth and continue to mix for another 2-3 minutes at this stage (this helps to develop the gluten).
  • Add enough rye flour to make dough easy to handle and stir to incorporate as well as you can.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a floured work surface.
  • Knead dough until smooth (about 10 minutes), gradually adding any remaining rye flour.
  • Place the smooth dough in a greased bowl (I just grease the one I mixed it up in).
  • Turn the dough around until greased side is up. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Punch down dough and remove it from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Divide into two even pieces. Form each piece of dough into round loaves.
  • Place the shaped loaves on a parchment lined baking sheet and let rise until double (about 1 hour)
  • Bake at 425 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes or until the top is a deep brown.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 30 minutes before slicing.


  • You can use light rye flour if that’s what you have on hand. I like the dark rye as it lends to a little more flavor in my opinion. It’s the whole grain version of light rye (like a whole wheat flour vs. all-purpose) and it adds a lot to the texture of the bread too.
  • Caraway seeds have a very specific flavor and I love them in rye bread. That being said, my kids don’t love them. I’ll often make a batch without them for them. 
  • Be sure to store the bread in a paper bag or bread box rather than a plastic bag to keep it from getting soggy.
  • Rye bread freezes beautifully! Slice it before freezing so it is easy to pop in the toaster when you are ready to eat it.


Serving: 1 of 18 slices, Calories: 211kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 8mg, Sodium: 416mg, Potassium: 218mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 105IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 57mg, Iron: 2mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Melissa

You May Also Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Loved the fine texture and flavor of this bread.I used almond milk because that’s what I had. I formed the dough into two long loaves but would use bread pans next time. I will make this again.

  2. 4 stars
    My loaves were heavy and dense, the taste is there and I will use the bread, I was just a bit disappointed that there wasn’t too much ‘fluffiness’ or air bubbles to give it a light bread feel. I’m pretty experienced with baking breads so I’m not sure where I went wrong or if it’s supposed to be like that. Just seemed a bit dense. It was my first time using rye flour, maybe next time I’ll mix bread flour with the rye flour and see if that helps. If there’s any suggestions I appreciate it as we love rye.

    1. Did they have enough time to rise? Is your yeast fresh? Adding bread flour will definitely help with structure. The bread has a very tight crumb but I wouldn’t call it dense. Don’t expect any air bubbles or holes but it shouldn’t feel like it’s under cooked…

    1. Why did you have to throw it out? It is that much because the whole grains need some extra help in the rising department.