100 Percent Rye Bread

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100 Percent Rye Bread

After falling in love with rye breads I became fascinated with developing a bread containing 100 percent rye. I knew that taking all of the wheat flour out of a bread recipe would wreak havoc on the end result and a high-rising crusty bread would not be obtainable. This is because wheat flour is unique in that it contains two proteins in the wheat endosperm called glutenin and gliadin. When these proteins hydrate and undergo friction, they unravel like balls of yarn, bind together into sticky strands and form a structure building network. This elastic web of protein holds in air bubbles during leavening and acts as a structure builder after the bread cools, resulting in a high-rising, fluffy, springy loaf.

The magic of pentosans

Rye flour does contain tiny amounts of gluten and gliadin but not enough to form a considerable amount of gluten in baking applications. Rye flour contains about the same amount of protein as wheat flour but the proteins have no effect on leavening. Rye flour has something else that assists leavening and structure: vegetable gums called pentosans. Pentosans absorb about 16 times their weight in water despite being about only 2 to 3 percent of the rye berry by weight. This gummyness doesn't build structure and trap air bubbles as effectively as gluten but it's still enough to make a favorable loaf. Since the bread is made from all rye flour it has a considerably complex flavor that is not obtainable with a wheat flour-based bread.

Contributing extra darkness and flavor to the rye bread

Dark rye flour doesn't contribute to the darkness of this bread. Molasses and espresso powder instead make for a dark brown loaf while enhancing rye flavors. I've also included a touch of sugar to take some of the bitterness off the rye and caraway seeds that contribute a subtle spicy cool finish. The cream of tartar is added to increase acidity. The acidity helps round out the flavor giving the loaf a very subtle tart finish that enhances flavor. The higher acid content also deactivates the amylose enzymes from breaking out too much sugars from the starch which would make the bread excessively gummy.

This loaf is considerably denser and flavorful than breads made with wheat flour. It will proof like a wheat bread into a beautiful dome but then shrink down almost to its original size when baked which is normal in this particular recipe.

Find more Rye recipes on Veganbaking.net.

100 Percent Rye Bread Recipe

1 ¾ cups + 3 Tablespoons warm water
2 ¼ teaspoons, or one ¼ ounce package active dry yeast

4 cups dark rye flour
1 ¾ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)

3 Tablespoons molasses
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
½ teaspoon espresso powder

1) Activate the yeast

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the warm water and yeast. Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes so the yeast activates.

2) Whisk together the dry ingredients

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the dark rye flour, salt and cream of tartar until well incorporated.

3) Whisk together the flavor building ingredients

In another medium mixing bowl, whisk together the molasses, sugar, caraway seeds, espresso powder and stir until just combined. Whisk in the warm water and yeast mixture from Step 1.

4) Mix the dough

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl containing the wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon in one circular direction for 1 minute. Now stir in the opposite direction for 1 minute.

5) Coat the rye dough with oil

Add about 1 Tablespoon olive oil to another medium mixing bowl and spread it around the inside with your fingers. Use a spatula to scrape the dough into the oily bowl. With dampened fingers, form the dough into a ball and rotate it around in the inside of the bowl so it's coated in oil.

Form the dough into a ball

6) Let the dough rise

Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and let it rise in a warm place until it's doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours. Alternatively, place in the refrigerator for about 12 to 24 hours. Remember that we want our dough to double in size regardless of whether it spends a full 24 hours in the refrigerator or rises at room temperature. Feel free to let it rise in the refrigerator for some of the time and outside of the refrigerator the rest of the time.

Let the rye dough rise until it's doubled in size

7) Let the dough rise once more

Degass the dough by pressing on it with dampened hands several times until no more gas comes out of the dough. Form the dough into a ball again and let it rise until it's doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours. If you did your last rise in the refrigerator, do this rise at room temperature and allow 4 hours of rise time.

8) Proof the dough

The dough can now be proofed by gently forming it into a lightly oiled loaf pan and allowed to sit covered with a plastic bag until it reaches about 80% to 90% of it's intended size, which should be about 40 minutes. The proofing stage is where the dough takes most of it's shape. It's important to leave room under the plastic bag so the dough can rise sufficiently.

9) Bake the rye bread to perfection

Preheat your oven to 375F (191C). Remove the plastic bag so the dough can rest for about 10 minutes while your oven is preheating. During the baking process, the dough will rise another 10% to 20% of it's intended size in the process known as 'oven spring'. Bake until the internal temperature of the bread measured with an instant-read thermometer registers 200-210F (93-99C). Rotate the loaf 180 degrees in the oven halfway through the baking duration for even baking. If you don't have a thermometer, this is about 40 to 45 minutes or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when the loaf pan is tapped with a blunt object like a rolling pin.

10) Let the bread cool completely

Since this rye bread isn't bound together with gluten we need to wait until it cools completely before removing it from the loaf pan so the vegetable gums can solidify. For best results when slicing this bread, use a designated serrated bread knife and clean the gummy dough off the blade after every three slices. This bread is best stored covered in a cool dark place or pre-sliced and stored in a plastic freezer bag in the freezer. This recipe makes one loaf of 100 Percent Rye Bread.

Get a price on the Loaf Pan I Recommend at Amazon.

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Very nice even without sugar...

I forgot to put the sugar in and used Pomegranate molasses. On my first attempt despite having to guess how much dried yeast to use the dough looked the same as in your pics and the bread came out very nicely. It is quite a bitter rye taste but I liked it. Thank you for the recipe.

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Real Measurements please

Can you post this with real measurements please. I'd like to remake an exact copy of what you have and not guess on what "4 cups" of rye flour is. No self respecting baker uses volume to measure flours.


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Vital Wheat Gluten

What if you added some vital wheat gluten to this recipe. Would that give it the gluten needed to get a more airy/larger loaf? I would think it would keep the rye flavor, without adding much in the way of wheat taste. I have never used vital wheat gluten, so I wouldn't know where to start as far as how much to use or how to use it.

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Rye bread best recipe

This is the best recipe for rye bread. The flavor is just perfect. Thanks .

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Fruit Juice!

I have used this and similar recipes for rye breads and have found that using apple cider works well to acidify the rye dough. I use it straight up instead of the water and it also replaces any extra sugar in the recipe. Oh, except honey. I love honey in baked goods!

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I baked the bread twice. The second time I only used flour, yeast, salt and sugar and the bread tasted even better and rose higher. If you like the taste of rye bread you don't need molasses or espresso powder.

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Well after a few modification, and a terrible sticky dough, certainly not like in the pic this bread turned to be delicious…

I did not have molasses so I used maple syrup, nor caraway replaced with fennel, and i did not want to use coffee so I use Eco coffee replacer.

I bake a lot of bread but this one is really special, off ot the shop to get some molasses!

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I am trying to reduce my sugar intake, would it be okay if I omitted the molasses and sugar? thanks~!

Owner's reply

Hi evie! The sugar and molasses are integral to the taste and texture of this rye bread recipe. The amounts are small enough to where I don't think the sugar is a health issue. 100% rye is considerably more bitter then rye flour and benefits from a small amount of sugar to balance the flavor in my opinion. If you choose to completely forego sugar, I recommend looking into a different recipe, such as a bread recipe that uses regular whole wheat flour. Good luck!

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just an idea

Hey i was just thinking maybe adding bit of potato or corn starch will help preserve the raised shape of the loaf just like gluten free recipe do,its just an idea,im going to try the recipe this week but I'm sure i will love it.

Owner's reply

Thanks for the corn starch idea emil! I haven't tried that yet. Let me know if you get a chance to try it out!

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Thank you so much for this easy and wonderful recipe. I've tried so many recipes for vegan 100% rye bread, but they all have failed me...
Making this I skipped cream of tartar and espresso powder. I also used crushed caraway seeds for more flavor and even put some on top of the bread before baking it, together with some poppy seeds. I didn't have molasses, so I subbed it with sugar beet syrup. The result is still amazing. Thank you!

Owner's reply

Sugar beet syrup sounds amazing Diana! I'll have to check that out. So happy the bread worked out!

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Very good recipe. I forgot to add the expresso powder but the bread was still wonderful. Thank you for sharing this info!

Owner's reply

So glad the rye bread worked out for you Mbaar!

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How long? Where's the yeast??

You don't say when to add the yeast or how long it should be cooked. The cooking time is really confusing.

Owner's reply

Sorry the recipe was confusing Laura! I just clarified it to be more clear on the yeast addition. The baking time is 40 to 45 minutes. Good luck!

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Could you make a rye-bread if I would give you a
rye flour
warm water

The components with what it is orginally made.

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My flatmate is gluten and milk intolerant. I've spent the evening making this bread in the hopes that it will be better than the loaves we get at our local shops in Durban, South Africa. Although it was a long wait, boy was it worth it!! Amazing bread! Soft, moist and tasty - a little butter and who needed desert. I substitued raw coca powder for espresso powder and didn't use the cream of tartar. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

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my first bread eveer!

Wow! So yummy! Can I put extra m's for mmmm?, yummmmy! This is my first experiment in eating wheat-free, and if everything turns out this delicious my new adventure will be a joy. I only have enough money to buy what I thought were necessary ingrediants, so I skipped the caraway seeds, espresso powder, (where would I find espresso powder anyhow?) and cream of tartar and it is still a delight to eat. I also added a tiny bit more molassas because I'm a big fan of it. Its only beed half a day, and already I've eaten and given away almost half of it. I know I will be making more next weekend. Good job posting this recipe! Thanks!

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dude the rye flour i use has little gluten in it so the dough does not come together like wheat flour. just wondering how you got the nice dough in the above pics.

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Good info but missed a vital point: those pentosans are actually encapsulating the gluten thus making them unavailable. With the addition of acid to a recipe, the pentosans 'release' the gluten to form the web of structure for a springy bread.

That's the reason we traditionally eat sour rye loaves.

Owner's reply

Wow, very interesting tidbit Sommer! That totally makes sense. I'll have to experiment with wild yeasting and manually adding acids in future loaves. I'm in love with sour rye loaves but haven't had time to fire up a new wild yeast starter lately.

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