Light Rye Bread


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes



Appears in

Bourke Street Bakery

By Paul Allam and David McGuinness

Published 2009

  • About

Light rye bread is a really healthy, flavoursome loaf that keeps well for at least a week after baking. This recipe uses 72 per cent rye flour, so the remaining white flour has the ability to be developed but the rye flour does not. The mixing times are shorter than other yeasted breads to reflect this.


  • 260 g ( oz) white starter
  • 40 g ( oz) rye starter
  • 145 g ( oz) organic plain flour
  • 375 g (13 oz) organic rye flour
  • 10 g (¼ oz) fresh yeast
  • 12 g ( oz/ tablespoons) sea salt
  • 300 ml (10½ fl oz) water


To mix the light rye dough by hand, put the white and rye starters in a large mixing bowl with the white and rye flours, yeast, sea salt and water. Mix together with a large spoon until the mixture comes together to form a dough, about 10 minutes. Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead into a ball with your hands for about 15 minutes, or until smooth but slightly sticky.

If you are using an electric mixer, put the white and rye starters in the bowl of the electric mixer with the dough hook attachment. Add the white and rye flours, yeast, sea salt and water. Mix on slow speed for 7 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then continue mixing on high speed for 3 minutes, or until smooth.

Lightly grease a container with oil spray and sit the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at ambient room temperature (approximately 20°C/68°F) for 1 hour to bulk prove.

To knock back the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and press out into a rectangle, about 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick. Use your hands to fold one-third back onto itself, then repeat with the remaining third. Turn the dough 90 degrees and fold it over again into thirds. Place the dough back into the oiled container and continue to bulk prove for a further 1 hour.

Use a blunt knife or divider to divide the dough into two even-sized portions, about 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) each. Working with one portion of dough at a time, continue to shape the loaves as for a batard.

Preheat the oven to its highest temperature. Place the loaves on a baking tray and dust lightly with rye flour. Score the loaves; with a high percentage of rye flour this loaf can be scored before the final prove. Scoring the loaf at this stage will not restrict its ability to prove up, but rather allow it to grow and fill the void left by your deft cuts. Set aside in a warm place (25°C/77°F) to prove for 40 minutes.

Place the loaves in the oven and spray the oven with water. Reduce the temperature to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7). Bake the loaves for 30 minutes, then turn the trays around and bake for a further 10–15 minutes, or until a deep brown — you should also hear a dull hollow sound when you tap the base of the loaves.