Caraway Rye Bread: deli-cious.

Vermont is a lovely place to live.

After all, it’s home to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream; nothing like being right next to the source of Cherry Garcia, Phish Food, and all those other crazily delicious flavors.

Cabot Creamery, the cooperative that supplies so many of us around the country with cheese, butter, sour cream, and yogurt, is just one of the many dairies in the state serving up everything the local cows (and goats, and sheep) can offer.

And there are only about half a million people in the entire state – so the mountains, wide open green spaces, and winding country roads certainly aren’t crowded.

There’s one major problem with Vermont, though – at least the little corner of it where we live.

Delis. Specifically, lack thereof.

I spent my early years just outside New York City. Later on, outside Hartford, CT; then just south of Boston. I’d always been fairly close to a big(gish) city, and many of the urban enticements stretched out into the suburbs where I lived.

Including delicatessens – a.k.a. THE DELI.

Bagels and lox, of course. Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda, that oddly compelling fizzy celery drink. Half-sours. Chopped liver. Smoked whitefish.

And let’s not ignore breakfast: matzoh brei, and latkes, plus blintzes oozing creamy farmer’s cheese and drowning in strawberries.

Am I boring you? If so, bounce right on off this page. Because today’s post focuses on one of the shining stars in the deli’s firmament – the sandwich. And the key ingredient you need to make any deli sandwich:

Rye bread.

Specifically, a light-colored, moist, soft rye, one studded with caraway seeds. Close-grained and tender, yet sturdy enough to hold up to the heaviest onslaught of fillings, it’s as ubiquitous at the urban deli as a hamburger is at Mickey D’s.

“I’ll have a corned beef on…” white? Perish the thought. That overstuffed corned beef sandwich HAS to be on rye. Ditto pastrami. And liverwurst, with its big slab of onion and schmear of hot/sweet mustard.

Rye all the way, baby.

Hey, I like all kinds of bread. Whole wheat raisin bread or pumpernickel for my breakfast toast. Ciabatta for garlic bread. Plain white pain de mie for French toast.

But when I’m treating myself to a deli sandwich, it HAS to be on light rye.

Which brings me back to why I make this tasty bread on a regular basis –

There are NO DELIS in Vermont.

Well, OK, I’m probably exaggerating. But there are no good city-style delis anywhere within a reasonable radius of King Arthur’s home here in Norwich.

One makes do with what one has, right? Liverwurst I can buy. Even Dr. Brown’s.

But rye bread?

Strictly DIY, baby.

Are you with me? Let’s make Caraway Rye Bread.

Let me state right up front: this recipe forced me to break our usual King Arthur Flour test kitchen rule: “Three strikes and you’re out.”

When developing/amending recipes, if we don’t nail it after three tries, it’s history; move on. Like any business, we need to stack time and money against results.

But this recipe… well, it already existed. And all I wanted to do was make it a bit friendlier. Many customers commented that the dough was REALLY sticky; and that the loaf tended to flatten out once it was taken out of the oven.

See that loaf above? It was nice and tall in the oven, and gradually settled as it sat.

Hmmm, I thought to myself. Too much liquid.

So I cut back on the liquid. And the loaf still settled.

OK, maybe change the ratio of all-purpose and rye flours a bit, get some more gluten into the structure.

Yes! That worked beautifully. The recipe made two smallish loaves, and they settled just a tad. I DID slash them too deeply, and they ended up with major dents in their top crust – but lesson learned, rye bread doesn’t have the oven-spring white bread does.

I could have stopped with those two pretty-good loaves. But how about making one big, impressive loaf, instead of two smaller ones? Perfect for a really king-sized deli sandwich.

Tried that; result above. The dough looked great; it was wonderfully tall in the oven; but in the end, it… settled. Still tasty; and still great for sandwiches – so long as you don’t mind your sliced bread in rather irregularly shaped ovals.

Bottom line: make two smaller loaves. Use a light touch when slashing.

And have the corned beef and half-sours ready…

I’m using whole-grain rye flour (e.g., pumpernickel) in this recipe. And since whole grain flours usually take a bit more time to absorb liquid than all-purpose flour, I’m going to start by combining pumpernickel, water, and a few other ingredients first.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

1 cup lukewarm water*
1 cup white rye, medium rye, or pumpernickel flour
4 teaspoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

*Or substitute dill or sour pickle juice, which adds another layer of flavor. Depending on the saltiness of the juice, you’ll want to cut back the salt in the recipe to 3/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon.

Mix to form a soft batter. Let the batter rest for 20 minutes; giving the rye flour a chance to absorb some of the liquid will make it easier to knead the dough without adding too much additional flour (which would make the bread dry). As you see in the photo above, the batter will become a bit puffy.

After 20 minutes, add the following:

1/2 cup sour cream (low-fat is fine; please don’t use nonfat)
1 to 2 tablespoons caraway seeds, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/3 cups (9 7/8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or First Clear Flour
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten or King Arthur Rye Bread Improver, optional, for best rise*

*If you don’t use either the gluten or Improver, increase the all-purpose flour to 2 1/2 cups.

Mix and knead the dough together until it’s fairly smooth. The nature of rye dough is to be sticky, so don’t be tempted to add too much flour.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl or large (8-cup) measure, cover, and let it rise until noticeably puffy, 60 to 90 minutes.

Gently deflate the dough, knead it briefly, and shape it into two smooth oval or round loaves; or one long oval loaf. (As I said, you may find the larger loaf sinks a bit. But if you’re OK with that, go for it; it does make larger slices).

Place the loaf or loaves on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Cover the loaves, and let them rise until they’re noticeably puffy, about 90 minutes.

Towards the end of the rise, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Just before they go into the oven, spritz the loaves with water, and slash them about 1/2″ deep. The oval loaves look good with one long, vertical slash; the rounds, with two or three shorter slashes across the top.

You know how deep I slashed this loaf? Too deep. Do as I say, not as I do!

Bake the loaves for 35 to 40 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 205°F to 210°F. The single, larger loaf will bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it lightly with foil after 25 minutes of baking.

Remove the loaves from the oven, and transfer them to a rack.

This bread actually does have fairly good oven-spring, as you can see. Looks-wise, I prefer the single vertical slash – how about you?

Yup, right on the money. I love my Thermapen; totally takes the guesswork out of “is the bread done?” Some of you can tell by the “hollow thump” test, but I was never very good at that.

While still warm, brush the loaves with melted butter, if desired; this will keep the crust soft…

…and add flavor, plus a bit of satiny shine.

It’s best to let the bread cool completely before slicing, lest you squash it down (which makes the texture gummy). If you truly can’t wait, cut off just the tiniest “sample nub” from one end.

I couldn’t resist enjoying the first piece with a bit of sweet butter… but corned beef, here I come!

Please read, bake, and review our recipe for Caraway Rye Bread.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. Julie_Mitchell

    *drools* Oh my goodness! I have never wanted to reach through my computer screen to grab a loaf of bread more than with that one with the vertical slash. I love bread and carbs. My mom thinks it’s the Mennonite blood in me and I tend to agree. I think I may have to test this recipe at my parents’ house. They love it when I come home and bake for them (my mom likes having me in the kitchen, chatting and working together or have her supervise me if I’m unsure about something and she wants me to try the recipe on my own). Not to mention that we love corned beef a lot! *drools again*

    What a lovely comment, Julie – I love to be in the kitchen with my mom, too. Talk about quality time… enjoy! PJH

    1. Bobinsfo

      I just made this bread…er tried to. Taste was there…texture was NOT! I used all the KA ingredients, and it came out very dense, almost no rise at all. Should I have added the “rye bread improver” to the first mix of sugar, rye/pumpernickel flour etc? should I have proofed the yeast? I want to make this again soon, what do I need to do?

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      It’s hard to say exactly what went wrong with your bread, but it sounds to me like it might be a yeast issue. This bread should rise well even without the addition of the rye bread improver. For further help troubleshooting this or any recipe, please give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-2253. Barb@KAF

    3. PJ Hamel, post author

      Bob, there’s actually no need to proof active dry yeast anymore – unless you’re worried about it being too old, or perhaps not working for one reason or another. Beyond that, it’s fine to just add it to the bowl along with the rest of your dry ingredients. That said – this could definitely have been a case of your yeast not working well, which happens most often with the packets of yeast you buy from the grocery store (rather than buying a jar or vacuum-pack of yeast). So, before you use that particular yeast again (if it was a packet, and you have any remaining packets), do proof it. It also sounds like perhaps your dough was too dry; it needs to be quite sticky – see how it clings to the side of the mixing bowl just a bit? As Barb said, please feel free to call our hotline for further info. Good luck – PJH

  2. JuliaJ

    In the double photo with the unbaked loaves, what is the tan stuff on the parchment in the top photo? I didn’t notice it in the following close-ups, just curious if you sprinkled something on the parchment before putting the loaves down.

    Will have to give this recipe a try (though will skip the caraway seeds, I don’t mind the flavor but never liked the burst of caraway flavor when biting into one–some bakeries grind the caraway seeds for that reason).
    It looks to me like those are marks made by loaves that had been baked previously on that paper. Did you know that parchment sheets are reusable a few times? Once they start turning brown on the edges and become brittle, they should be discarded. ~Amy

    Yes, that’s right – it was a second go-around for that particular piece of parchment… PJH

  3. Cindy Leigh

    Beautiful, PJ! I, too, love this type of rye. When we were kids we used to get a type of soft rye that had dill and onion flakes in it. It was amazing.

    I see you have great memories of rye bread just like I do, Cindy – PJH

  4. Rocky-cat

    Your bread looks lovely, but there are 2 major no-no’s in there. No sour cream in a deli bread. And no butter, either. Dairy in bread destined for a corned beef or tongue sandwich? Never! We might have to revoke your knish rights.

    In all seriousness, though, I use the deli rye recipe from Artisan Bread in 5, with one important addition. I add about 2 tsp.(give or take) of your Deli Rye Flavoring per half batch of bread. It makes a delicious difference. Also, I use the cornstarch wash recommended in the recipe. It gives an authentic deli “sheen” to the bread and helps the seeds adhere to the outside.

    Any time my husband cures a tongue or I make chopped liver, I bake up a few loaves or rye bread. It just isn’t the same otherwise.

    Alas, my knish rights were revoked long ago… I never do manage to get the Passover baking rules exactly right! So, let’s just agree that this isn’t an “authentic” Jewish rye recipe; simply one that tastes good. 🙂 PJH

    1. Geri S.

      You really don’t know your passover rules if you are baking any bread with yeast. /The milk and meat ban is year round. Good bread though even if it isn’t Jewish.

    2. Carrie

      Hi, I would like to know how to get caraway seeds to stick to the outside of the bread? I do a spray of water before they go into the oven, and then usually the egg wash just before they are done( and add the seeds at that point). Any suggestions?

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      Try brushing your dough with egg wash before you sprinkle the seeds on top. This should act like an edible glue (and will also help your loaf brown up nicely too). Spraying water on the dough once it’s in the oven will create a crispy crust. Do this only if you like a thick, chewy crust. I hope that helps! Kye@KAF

  5. JuliaJ

    Re: parchment
    Paper burns at about 450 degrees F (remember the old sci-fi novel “Fahrenheit 451”?). So when I bake breads at 425 F, the parchment is browning and brittle afterwards so I toss it. But I do re-use parchment for multiple batches of (the same) cookies, which usually bake at 350-375 F, and then toss the parchment when done as it usually has absorbed some of the butter from the cookies. I do have a Silpat but still can’t do without baking parchment in the kitchen!

    1. Aly

      for a period of time there was a parchment backed with foil available fro Reynolds, loved it as it did not curl during baking and was reusable. Might want to see if it still out there.

  6. milkwithknives

    Goodness, is it bad that I really love the first photo of the settled loaf the best? The interior just looks soo soft.

    This looks like a good weekend project but I have a couple of quick questions if you don’t mind. Is there any reason not to bake these on a pizza stone and would it change the baking time at all? Also, I don’t have any caraway (not a big fan) and have used fennel seeds in its place before, but have you ever tried using dill seeds in rye bread? I have some in the pantry and it just occurred to me they might have a similar flavor but not be quite such a punch in the face. Thanks.
    Hey there! I’ve done the dill seeds in rye before, I’m not a caraway fan either. I like the way it turns out. I like mustard seeds too, for a nice pop. The pizza stone, well pre-heated would be just fine. Your baking time will be shorter and the crust a bit thicker but still a very nice bread overall. ~ MaryJane

    1. Gail McGaffigan

      Pepperidge Farm actually makes a dill rye bread (or, at least, they used to – haven’t seen it at their shop lately).

  7. Quinn

    I have never wanted a sandwich – and a sour pickle!! – more in my entire life. And well done, persevering on the settling issue 🙂
    I think there are sour pickles in your near future, eh? ~ MaryJane

  8. elark1

    pj : it is not just passover restriction to not allow meat with dairy. it is the overall kosher rule not to ever mix meat with dairy. thus if you make a meat sandwich your bread must not have any dairy (sour cream, butter, etc) in it. so the overall rule is no mixing of meat and dairy.

    Thanks so much for helping us learn, we always appreciate constructive feedback from our fellow bakers. ~ MaryJane

  9. kaf-sub-valleyview55

    I see so many things on this site that I would like to try…. It would be extremely helpful if Nutritional Info could be included.

    It would indeed – and it’s a goal of ours, but thus far unrealized. Currently a lot of work to get it done, and not enough hands on deck; but one of these days… in the meantime, there are some pretty good do-it-yourself sites online for recipes’ nutritional analysis. PJH

  10. ramcclain

    Here’s another try with a question; apparently other did no post.

    Is there any reason this bread cannot be made in a loaf pan(s)? Was just thinking size would be more uniform.

    Can’t wait to try this!
    We think this works best on the sheet pan. You could try two small loaf pans, but they might end up sinking. ~ MaryJane

  11. "daisy in nj"

    Just took these out of the oven an hour ago. I still don’t know how you knew I was planning to bake rye bread today! 🙂 What a great recipe, one I’ll definitely turn to again. Really surprising rise for rye. Loaves turned out wonderful. Husband had wanted takeout pizza for dinner, but hopefully will be happy with homemade Reubens. Thanks as always!
    What time is dinner? We’ll be there! ~ MaryJane

  12. waikikirie

    Think I’ll give this a go tomorrow. I know my hubby will be happy. It will be a practice run before St Patrick’s Day and the corn beef…..Yummy!!! Thanks PJ

    That’s exactly why I published this blog post today – so we could all get in practice for the leftover corned beef on St. Pat’s Day! Enjoy – PJH

  13. rmoody

    Daisy, I was thinking the same thing – are they now reading minds? Just came in from the grocery store with dark rye and regular rye flours in hand. Have corned beef, swiss, saur kraut ready to go.

    Not reading minds – just thinking ahead about St. Patrick’s Day corned beef dinner leftovers. Hmmm, what to do with corned beef? 🙂 PJH

  14. 4paws2go

    I’m lucky to be living in ‘deli-land’ south…so I can get really good rye breads, all different types.. But, I did use to enjoy baking my own rye breads, several years ago. Especially!!, after taking your classes! I really like nigella/charnuska/’black onion seeds’, in rye…that nice little ‘peppery’ bite!

    Re parchment…when I first started using parchment sheets, years ago, for things like cookies/biscotti, my MIL thought I was being horribly extravagant, until I showed her that the individual sheets could be used, for several bakes, especially with moderate baking temps, and nothing ‘too’ buttery. Then, she became a convert!

    Thanks, again, for an interesting post.


    Laura, I need to pick up some of those nigella seeds next time I’m at my favorite coop store – you’re right, they add a nice flavor touch indeed. Thanks for helping us convince bakers about parchment, too! PJH

  15. moosechievous

    Can this bread/dough be made in bread machine with same success?

    The dough definitely can; not sure about baking it in the machine, as I haven’t tried it, but give it a try if your machine is large enough capacity – let us know how it goes, OK? PJH

  16. lillabit2001

    I moved to Wyoming about two years ago. It too has a population of only a half million people, but you could fit over 10 Vermonts into the state. Talk about a lack of big cities with good delis! I grew up in Milwaukee, WI, and I really miss the yummy rye breads, deli meats and sausage that were available there. I’ve been longing for some liverwurst–I think it’s time for a trip “back East!” Thanks for the rye recipe–just in time for me to make it this weekend. If only I had some liverwurst to put on a slice . . . or some great pastrami (visions of thick sandwiches dancing in her head). Guess I’ll have to settle for what’s available here (antelope?) to put on my fresh rye.

  17. goyaboy

    Just wondering something here. As I was reading your post and you spoke about using pickle juice. Do you mean the juice of pickles or the brine they sit in? I ask because the brine is made with vinegar which would relax the gluten. Which could be a reason for the settling of the finish dough.

    Really good insight – and yes, I used the brine. It could indeed be exacerbating the “sinkage,” but the first couple of times I made the dough with plain water, and it still flattened out. I do find the smaller loaves settle less, so I think I’ll stick to the small loaves. Thanks for connecting here – PJH

  18. puss58

    I tried to make rye bread today using pickle juice. I think the salt in the juice killed the yeast because I got an anemic rise. I followed the recipe, just subbing the juice and it did not work. Any suggestions?

    I’m thinking maybe you didn’t cut back on the salt in the recipe enough to offset the salt in the pickle juice. Or maybe you kneaded in too much flour, and the dough was dry? Or your yeast wasn’t fresh enough? Any of these could contribute to an anemic rise… Call our baker’s hotline if you’d like to chat about this further, OK? 800-827-6836. PJH

  19. ironic

    Hi PJ – I’m thinking of adding half a cup of sourdough starter for the same amount of regular flour and water. Probably to the rye flour in the beginning. We will see how it does.

    It sounds like you’re on your way to a great rye bread! You’d want to swap out 1/2 cup water and 3/4 cup of flour for the addition of starter to the recipe. Keep everything else the same and keep an eye on the dough: it should be plenty sticky and tacky while coming together! Kim@KAF

  20. ironic

    I am going to try to make this today with added sourdough starter substituted for some of the regular flour and liquid. Probably between half and a whole cup. Should add some flavor.
    Cool idea. Let us know how it goes. ~MaryJane

  21. ironic

    Ended up making the rye bread today. Added 1 cup of unfed sourdough starter. Actually took out 4 oz of water and 4 oz of bread flour. I made a batch that was 1 1/2 times the recipe, as I was trying for two slightly larger loaves. Used KA Bread flour instead of the all purpose or first clear. Used 1 1/2 cups of rye flour etc. all done by weight. Ended up with total dough weight of 43 oz, which made 2 each 21.5 oz pre-baked loaves. Came out very tasty, but flattened a little more than I would have liked. I think part of the problem was the 2nd rise when formed into loaves. Let them go for the 90 minutes, and they spread a little too much. Excellent taste and texture, very light and chewy. Next time I will not let them rise as long as loaves, maybe 60 minutes, and may try them in a bread pan to keep them more upright. Other than shape, very happy with the results. Will keep at this as a simpler version of the Marylin’s sourdough rye you have elsewhere.
    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, it is great to see different versions. ~ MaryJane

  22. Sara

    Love this bread …one comment if using the deli rye flavor…….do not breath it in deeply straight from the pouch as it warns….but too late for me ….knocked my socks off! But the stuff is wonderful and use it in all rye breads it does make the difference…More down state (I am in upstate NY) taste !
    Take it from me, don’t store it in the same cabinet as your chocolate and caramel blocks either. Rye caramel is blech! ~ MaryJane

  23. sallybr

    I am VERY tempted to try it this weekend! I have a love hate relationship with rye. Love because I love its taste, and a rye-caraway bread sounds like heaven to me!

    hate, well, you know why – I’ve had my share of hockey pucks and became a little afraid of rye breads, but you do have enough white flour in it to scare my inner ghosts away (I hope)

    will report back!
    Can’t wait to hear how it goes! ~ MaryJane

  24. porterrm

    I topped the loaf with KAF “everything bread and bagel topping.” I left out the caraway seeds. I followed the recipe apart from those changes including adding the gluten. I was disappointed that the bread height was not what I wanted. I made a single large loaf and now understand that was likely my problem. Next time will try two small loaves. The flavor and texture were great so I will be making this bread again.

    Glad you enjoyed the flavor, now on to higher loaves! ~MaryJane

  25. twin2

    I just had to laugh when I read this. I grew up in Chicago, lived in Germany for years, and just love a good rye bread. I almost always make my own now because I’m a Winter Texan, living in the Rio Grand Valley. Believe me when I say there aren’t any deli’s around here like you are talking about! I ordered a Patty Melt sandwich at a local restaurant and it came on Texas Toast. It was good, just left me puzzled about the rye bread factor. When I am in Michigan I can get fairly nice rye bread at the grocery store, but the homemade is the best. At least up there I can buy rye flour at the local grocery. Here they don’t have it at all. We all have to learn to appreciate local color and regional differences. I have never had so much great Mexican food in my life, or better oranges and ruby red grapefruit.

  26. Abi

    It looks good, I’m irish too, and i won’t be eating corned beef this year, worn out with it, going for chicken but keeping the potatoes and the cabbage (collards this year ).However, is there a way to make this bread without the sour cream ? I prefer my rye without dairy. Also do you have a recipe for raisin pumpernickel rye ? I’d love that. Thanks ! Happy St. Patrick’s day to you.

    We have many sandwich rye breads on the website – we hope you’ll try one of them for your March baking celebration! Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

  27. Peggasus

    Hi, I am making this right now, I also don’t get very good rye here in East Central Illinois. There are only two of us at home now, would it be better to make a half recipe or can half the dough be frozen before the second rise. I really don’t like freezing already-made bread. Par baking maybe? Thanks!
    Given the choices, par-baking is a great way to go, and what you’ll find most often in production kitchens. ~ MaryJane

  28. Peggasus

    Thank you SO much for your very prompt response, MaryJane, that’s what I’ll do! Hey, I have to make that corned beef and then Reubens for my husband next week, it will work out great. I love you guys!
    That sounds fantastic. I haven’t had a good Reuben in awhile. Thanks for the dinner idea for tomorrow. 🙂 ~ MaryJane

  29. MGW960W

    I’m wondering why you didn’t add a little Vital Wheat Gluten to help with the rise? I usually use it in rye bread. Thanks.

    Actually, I did – there’s vital wheat gluten listed in the recipe. And it does help; just trying to find that “sweet spot,” I think, between a dough that’s moist enough to rise well, yet “solid” enough that it can still hold its structure once it’s risen. Practice makes perfect! 🙂 PJH

  30. fizkowie1


    I frequently make a sourdough rye and I roll out my dough and then reroll to form the loaf – never had a problem with height. Also, if you have any ethnic E. European stores around, you can buy “ground caraway” powder which adds a nice touch but without the “bite” of actually getting a seed.

  31. dap6046

    I tried this recipe this weekend-twice:) I did not add the vital wheat gluten the first batch and when I slashed the tops of the loaves, both deflated. Uh oh, so I tried the recipe again with the vital wheat gluten, thinking that may have caused it. I was in a bread coma watching it rise higher then the last try, thinking I was in the clear, then the slashing-they deflated once again. Sad but true! I have the sharpest knives in town and only went in slightly the second time. Please, I need some expert guidance. The deflated loaves are delicious, but wouldn’t hold any fillings-I would really appreciate your help.

    This sounds like the perfect opportunity to problem solve with one of our bakers at our new toll free baker’s hotline (855-371-bake (2253). We’re here from 8 AM to 9 PM on weekdays and from 9 AM to 5 PM on weekends. Looking forward to your call! Irene @ KAF

  32. dap6046

    I would like to say this is a great tasting bread! I tried the recipe with and without the vital wheat gluten and each time I ran into deflated loaves once I slashed them prior to going into the oven. My knife was razor sharp and all 4 loaves deflated. Although they baked into thin loaves, and would not be a candidate for sandwiches, the bread was still delicious with butter! Thanks for great tasting recipe, I just need guidance with the “slashing”., what could I have done to avoid this? Hope to hear from you soon!

    It’s possible that your loaves proofed too long before baking: when you went to slash them, they clearly deflated. I recommend allowing the dough to just barely double before you slash them. You can also try reducing the amount of liquid in the recipe by 2 Tbs to see if that gives you a better shape and structure! Kim@KAF

  33. "Sarah d"

    I had the same problem with my loaves collapsing a little after the slash, but otherwise was very happy with the rises I got. Usually my bread doesn’t rise very well, and this was the first recipe I’ve tried using vital wheat gluten- it made a huge difference!!! Bread is cooling now, waiting to make Reuben sandwiches for dinner tonight!
    Sorry, did the rumbly in my tumbly disturb you? Dinner sounds great! ~ MaryJane

  34. jean18724

    This is the second loaf I’ve made in the past few weeks and this one was even better than the first. Added about 1/4 cup additional flour during knead and shaping into loaf. Made one large lovely loaf. Excellent for the grilled Ruebens we had for St. Patrick’s Day dinner. And, just as good toasted this morning with sour cherry preserves. Rye bread has always been a struggle for me and this is a great recipe. Thanks again.
    Wow, I’ve never heard of rye and sour cherry, but I love love sour cherry, so thanks for the tip! ~ MaryJane

  35. ironic

    PJ & Mary Jane – Tried this a few weeks ago with sourdough, and after ordering first clear and rye improver from KA, made it again with the following: Doubled the recipe, as I wanted two larger sandwich loaves. Used 1 cup of sourdough starter (8 oz), substituted for 4 oz of flour and 4 oz of water. From the older KA recipe for Steph’s rye, got the idea to make a small sponge, but did it by feeding the starter with 1 cup of the rye flour and 1 cup of water (with a pinch of yeast) and letting that sit over night. Next day added the other cup of rye flour and rest of water, and let sit 20 minutes as per recipe, and then added other ingredients for dough. Used all first clear flour and the rye improver. Ended up with 57 oz of dough. Split into two loaves, and used 4 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ pans. Very tasty, soft and beautifully shaped.
    Next time, I think I will make the sponge with the sourdough and all of the water and all of the rye flour for overnight. I may also use KA bread flour half and half with the first clear (cost per loaf would be less). I think the sponge really improves the quality.

    Fantastic ideas! I would certainly try the all-starter method (no yeast) and see how that improves the taste and texture. The sponge definitely improves the taste of the bread, but it does often need to be worked with in about 8-12 hours depending on how much food the starter has (8 oz of starter–approx. 1 heaping cup–will go through 2 cups flour, 1 cup water in 12 hours, just so you know! After that 12 hours, it will need to be fed again). Best of luck! Kim@KAF

  36. Peggy

    OMG !! I finally got it! I’ve made this bread about six or seven times. It always tastes good but would go flat. I added a little extra flour and worked it by hand after taking it out of the kitchenaid. The ball then looked like your picture. I was able to slit it successfully. It did the oven spring. I can’t wait to make again. BTW I used the First Clear flour and pumpernickel as suggested in the recipe.

  37. Dan

    Well I made this bread for the third time here in Hawaii. Can’t seem to find a great rye here in Oahu. The first two did like others and deflated so I cut back on the first rise and decreased the water slightly. Much better on the third try. Due to the ambient temp being higher here I might cut back a little longer on the first rise. Things grow fast here! Looks good! I might use a Dutch oven next time and increase the recipe size slightly for a large loaf.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Keep fooling around with it till you get a loaf that’s just right for YOU, Dan. That’s what I love about yeast baking – it’s so flexible, so open to variations. And unfailingly delicious, no matter what “mistakes” you make. Enjoy – PJH

    2. richie

      tip on Oahu — Fendu Boulangerie behind Safeway on Monana rd in Monana valley — a bread a day –as home made as it can get ..

  38. Leanore

    I have two questions about this recipe which probably show my lack of experience in making bread:

    1. Can I use regular yeast instead of instant yeast? Do I have to make any adjustments in the recipe if I do this?

    2. When you “mix to form a soft batter”, do you mean mix by hand with a spoon, knead, or mix in a Kitchenaid with a dough hook?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Don’t worry about lack of experience, Leanore – that’s what we’re here for, to hold your hand as you figure things out! 🙂 Yes, you can use regular active dry yeast (though we don’t recommend RapidRise). No adjustments in other ingredients needed, and you don’t have to dissolve it first; just understand your bread will be slower to rise, so give it more time. And mixing can be done by hand, or in an electric mixer with the beater, rather than the dough hook. Switch to the dough hook when the directions say to “knead,” rather than “mix” or “stir.” Hope this helps – and remember, you can always call our hotline, 855-371-2253, to speak with one of our baking guides. Cheers – PJH

  39. DotCom

    Will this recipe work in a 13-inch pain de mie, but with the cover off, or do you recommend sticking with free-form? I make the KAF pain de mie recipes often (I have three 13-inch pans) and would like to get a bit further afield than hearty white and honey oat. And, how do you feel about adding ground caraway to deepen the flavor, either in addition to or instead of the seeds?

    1. Amy Trage

      This recipe is too small for the 13 inch pain de mie pan, but could certainly work with the 9″ one. ~Amy

  40. Molly Tominack

    I am afraid to use any seeds at all because of diverticulitis. How much ground caraway is a good substitute for the seed?

  41. Deb

    All I have on hand is ‘dark rye’ (not KA, unfortunately!)… can that be subbed for the ryes you suggest?


    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      You bet, Deb – dark rye and pumpernickel are basically the same, so you can absolutely use 1 cup of it in this recipe. Good luck and enjoy! PJH

  42. Francine Derus

    Hi PJ,
    I wrote to you quite a few years back about this rye bread recipe, it was called Nelson’s Choice back then, but basically the same recipe. We had been searching high and low for what we called Jewish Rye, and finally found it through you and King Arthur’s first clear flour. We sent you a picture of us holding a very large loaf of rye bread and you printed it in your catalog. We felt famous. Just wanted you to know we are still making the bread, but use the bread machine method just for mixing. We never bake bread in the machine but it’s a perfect way to mix the dough of almost any bread. We are getting old and that machine is a work horse around our house, just made sourdough yesterday. I can’t begin to count the amount of rye loaves we’ve made since I first contacted you, we’ve become famous for it in our little town. One friend wants a loaf to take to her brother in another state on a regular basis. It’s so good for toast in the morning, but any sandwich is good on that bread. Especially a patty melt. Oh my gosh I’m making myself hungry for rye bread. It’s Easter Sunday and we will have leftover ham, my mouth is watering. By the way, we like to make one large loaf from your recipe, rather than two smaller ones. We’ve never changed the original recipe, it’s just too too perfect.
    Thank you everybody at King Arthur for making my life much happier through food.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Francine, thanks for getting back in touch – I remember that picture in the catalogue! So glad you’re still happily baking rye bread. And yes, now that you mention a patty melt, I’m wishing I had a loaf handy right now… 🙂 PJH

  43. Candy C.

    We love, love rye bread but living here in the desert southwest it’s impossible to find so I make my own. I have to drive to “the city’ to even buy rye flour. I have noticed that rye bread dough is stickier and does not rise as nicely. I have been trying to use half rye flour – half wheat flour but your post makes me think I should up the ratio of wheat flour a bit. Beautiful loaves!!

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Candy, rye flour dough is always sticky, no matter what! It’s just the nature of the beast. But yeah, if you increase the amount of wheat flour, you’ll probably be more successful, due to its gluten. Good luck – PJH

  44. David Katz

    For an extra flavor layer, and more like Jewish Rye, try adding a scant 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder to the initial mix. Also, for an authentic Jewish Rye glaze and soft, shiny crust, heat 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed in 1/2 cup of water until thickened, and then brush the loaf with the mixture just before slashing, and again, lightly, immediately after it comes out of the oven. Omit the butter at the end.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Thanks so much for the tips, David – I’m definitely going to try both of them next time I bake this bread. 🙂 PJH

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      This should work just fine. The bread may be slightly less tender if you use lower-fat yogurt, but the flavor is similar enough that I don’t think you’ll see any difference in taste. Good luck – PJH

  45. Michelle B

    I have made this recipe many times (maybe 20). It is excellent and always gets raves. It’s great for sandwiches and makes great toast. I am generous with the caraway. Oh, and I almost forgot – I add 1/2 cup of sour dough starter.

  46. EdAF

    What would happen if I used dark rye flour, and KA bread flour in lieu of the medium rye and the all purpose flour. (Those are what I have in the house right now). Also, is there a substitute for the sour cream? My wife is quite lactose intolerant, and I am not sure if she could eat the bread if made with sour cream.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Ed, no guarantees, but I think if you substitute 1/2 cup water for the 1/2 cup sour cream, that’ll both get rid of the lactose, and provide the extra moisture required by bread flour (dark rye vs. other types of rye won’t make a difference one way or the other). Let us know how it turns out, OK? PJH

  47. Sue H.

    How can I adapt this recipe for using my sourdough sponge? Or is there a similar recipe for sourdough rye?

  48. Christine

    I made this recipe earlier in the year and it was simply delicious. One loaf lasted just the 2 of us a long time so I didn’t have to keep making it all the time. But, after telling a neighbor about it (and giving them a taste of a couple of slices) they requested that I sell them a loaf once a week or so. Since there was a lot of work involved in making one loaf at a time I decided to try to double the recipe ( make sourdough and baguette breads weekly also). First step was to use the email/chat function of KAF and I asked if I could do that and still get great results. The answer came back that ‘yes, I could double everything but the yeast.’ (Good to know, otherwise I would have doubled it also, to ruined results). I now make 3 loaves at a time from the doubled recipe using 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 pans. I also use the deli rye flavor and lots of caraway seeds. Yeah! Success!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      That’s so wonderful to hear Christine! Not only did you venture into the realm of 2 loaves, but now even 3 at once, which certainly can be a juggling act at times. Keep us the great work and happy baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  49. Tom


    I’ve been making the sandwich rye bread recipe from your website for quite some time and it calls for baking until the temp is 190. Why the difference in this recipe that calls for 205? I’m doubling the recipe & not free forming, but baking in 10 x 5 pans without addl gluten & getting a relatively good finished loaf rise.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Tom, anything between 190°F and 205° is fine. Some people think whole-grain loaves need to bake to a higher finished temperature, as they’re denser. But personally, I like to underbake a tiny bit, for moistness. So that’s the difference: moist, vs. a bit less so – your choice. Glad you’re having good luck with the recipe; it does rise nicely for rye, doesn’t it? PJH

  50. cyndi

    I tried your recipe. as I have been hunting for a good rye bread recipe. I love how it came out, except I made mine in the one loaf, and it turned out like me…. spreading wide in the middle, instead of being tall. I have that issue with baking bread , and wondered if you can tell me what I do wrong. would it help to bloom the yeast?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sounds like this is a shaping issue, Cyndi! We have about shaping that may help. You can also give out hotline a call to chat about it! Jon@KAF 855 371 2253

  51. Barb

    HI…I being a former Bostonian also miss the real ryes, pumpernickel and wonderful Brookline deli’s. I can no longer have seed, nuts or skins…and the breads just do not taste the same. Any suggestions, P.J.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Barb, our Deli Rye Flavor is just what you need for that signature taste you’re missing. Also, you can buy ground caraway seed, and that will go a long way towards giving your rye breads more flavor. PJH

  52. MIke

    Excellent recipe, very well written and easy to follow along. I’m new to breadmaking. I’ve had wonderful success with sourdough sandwich loaves, but my rye bread attempts can only be characterized and Grade 8 science experiments gone bad. This recipe changed everything. Not only were the results spectacular, but the lessons I learned at your expense are invaluable. This is my GOTO recipe. While I may tweak it for flavour, with dill juice or rye flavouring, the core recipe is awesome. I now have homemade rye bread for life. My thanks.

    1. Susan Reid

      Wow, that’s wonderful! The AHA moment in baking is more than just satisfying; it can, as you say, change the way you eat for life! Congratulations. Susan

  53. Mike

    I would love to see a slight variation of this that makes use of some sourdough starter, just to give the loaves some oomph. If anyone has an idea of how to incorporate a cup of starter into this recipe I’d love to try it.

    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Mike. It’s simple, and a technique you can use for almost any bread. Just swap a cup of starter for 4 ounces of the flour and 4 ounces of the liquid in your recipe. Susan

  54. Karla B

    How about using more whole grain flour in step two of the mixing process? I know rye needs some gluten/rising action, and whole wheat can be problematic that way, but I’d really like to up the whole grain quotient, if possible. Any suggestions?

    Thank you in advance!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Karla-
      I think, as you suggested, that unfortunately if you add more whole grain you are going to end up with a noticeably denser loaf as this particular recipe is already fighting a significant lack of structure from the rye. That said, we always encourage our fellow bakers to experiment and if you find an increase in those whole grains works for you, we would love to hear about it! Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  55. susan

    anyoneanyone who says customer service is dead and non existent in this country, really needs to speak to somebody at hotline. I called but the really odd question about this bread. Josh came on the line, and very sweetly explained that this was something outside his expertise. He got me over to Mary, who didn’t seem too bad and I when I asked her my question. The problem was I started the dough getting the rice flour to absorb the liquid, half pickle juice and half warm water, but it seemed awfully dry. When I added the remaining ingredients it would not even hold a ball it was so dry. I added more want warm water, but then saw that I added too much. In the bull goes more flour. After needing it for several minutes to get the gluten going.,I looked at the dough and thought it was still too wet. I’m inexperienced bread bigger a 15 years but I’m not used to working with lack or sticky dough. I threw aside my instincts and she went ahead and let the dough rise and then shaped it. Two thirds of the way through the final rising of the shape dough I discovered the deal was trying to reach the ends of the earth. It flattened out and spread almost edge to edge of a cookie sheet. Did those smelled wonderful, since I added a substantial amount of onion powder and dill weed. Not wanting to waste it I did not know if I need more flour in, and then shape it or do I need to do both rising again. That’s why I spoke to Josh and then Mary and Mary gave me the thumbs up to go ahead add more flour and then get the final rise going once it was shaped. After Kneaing it by hand, and covering my counters with more sticky Flour and tDough it was shaped And its rising as I type, realizing I did not get all the stuff off of my hands as the other room of my palms are still white. Please express my appreciation to Josh and Mary for their advice. I hope this do it will come out as wonderful as it smells as I already have the fixings for my Rubens ready for dinner. Regardless thank you so much for a wonderful blog!

    1. susan

      Wow! Voice to text got me good! Lol
      I’ve been baking bread for 15 years, kneading mostly by hand. And KA bakers hotline is outstanding!

      BTW. The dough did a sideways spring in the oven and flattened out. The texture was still good and the taste is outstanding. This loaf is now cut into chunks for dill dip. Loaf #2 is underway.

  56. Mike

    I’ve used this exact recipe without adjustments, except skipping the carraway seeds, in a standard dark non-stick 4.5 x 8.5 bread pan with great results. All of the dough in one loaf. Frankly, I get a better rise from this bread that I do with my standard white loaf. This dough makes a nice tall, moist loaf – almost over-sized. I add three slashes without risk of deflation. Absolutely scrumptious for grilled cheese or just tear off chunks with soup. This recipe continues to wow my table. Still haven’t tried incorporating sourdough starter (thanks for the tip Susan), but I’m about to.

  57. Mike

    Just circling back to mention using sourdough starter with this recipe yields a truly amazing loaf of bread. I added 1 cup of unfed, very ripe starter, reduced the water to half a cup, and reduced the white flour to 1 1/4 cups. Terrific results.

  58. Steve

    What a great bread, so happy with this recipe! My wife and I love rye bread with caraway seeds and buy it every week…not anymore! We are just going into Autumn here in Australia and this makes it easier to bake–not so hot. We are going to try other recipes from your site. This recipe was easy to make, and I do enjoy baking and cooking. Thanks again.


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Doesn’t it feel great to finally master a bread recipe Steve? We hope you keep baking caraway bread through the fall and into the winter to keep both you, your wife, and your kitchen warm. Happy baking! –Kye@KAF

  59. David G Epstein

    Tasted and looked great, and god texture; ohowever, on the second rise seemed to flatten out. Didn’t reach a good sandwich height. I’m wondering if blasting it in a really hot oven for the first 10 minutes would help. Or whether I should just have let it rise more–or put it in a loaf pan.

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      David, maybe it would help to manage your expectations; you can see from the photos, this loaf isn’t a high-riser, when baked without a pan. When you cut it, the slices will be oval in shape. I don’t think blasting it will help it’s just the nature of this rather moist loaf to collapse on itself a bit. Try baking it in a pan, as you say, for a more structured rise and taller shape. Good luck – PJH

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You can certainly add either fed or unfed starter to this recipe. Just make sure to replace 4 ounces of flour and 4 ounces of water with 8 ounces of starter. Jon@KAF

  60. Danielle Durand

    I love rye bread, and this one is really good. However, I made it at least six times, but it does not rise much than at the most 2 inches… I make the dough in my bread machine… and when I take it out, it is close to the lid… Do I leave it too long? I use dark rye flour as well… other than that, it is delicious, and my husband and I eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner… Any idea why it does this? I do everything else as directed in the recipe… I wish I knew why…

  61. GG44

    Made/makes only one largish (not really large) loaf with the following changes: ground seeds and added to dough; at second rising, put dough on a removable bottom tart pan with a 9″ brot basket form on top (bought from KAF a long time ago, and heavily floured wheat and rice to keep from sticking) to let the dough fill the basket from the inside out; and, sprayed dough with water and sprinkled with Kosher salt and more caraway before putting in oven. Because the form was over the dough, and not the customary way, couldn’t see how it was rising and misjudged the proofing time so the top deflated a little when baked. Had steam first and last 10 minutes to get a chewy crust. Only ferment and don’t pickle, so the juice wouldn’t apply as the salt content is too high. Losing my sense of taste a little bit, but thought the bread a little bland so will add more caraway, ground and seeds, the next time and will definitely use a pizza tile to bake on which was skipped this first time. Used first clear (also KAF) instead of ap flour, which would be a “must”. The recipe is quick, but next time will let it proof overnight in the fridge.

  62. Marcia Wilheim

    Have KA rye flour on hand, but fearful to try this recipe due to our 7000′ altitude.
    Any suggestions for just this recipe? I do have several high altitude recipes for regular white as well as no-knead white, but would really like to have a “deli rye w/seeds” HA recipe, as that bread is almost non-existent in this little mountain village. Thanks.

  63. Salli

    Just finished making this rye bread and it came out so delicious! I made it exactly according to the recipe, made two smaller loaves, and I couldn’t wait for it to cool completely before I sliced off that sample nub! It is every bit as good as I hoped it would be. The only issue that I have with homemade bread is that it gets so dried out after the first day. Is there any way to help it remain moist until you finish the loaf?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Salli, you can help your loaf retain a better texture if you do not cut into it until is has cooled completely. We know it is hard to resist the temptation, but you will be rewarded with a loaf that has a pleasant texture the whole way through. For increased moistness throughout the life of your bread, try adding 1 tablespoon of potato flour per cup of wheat flour in your recipe–the starch in potatoes attracts and holds water, and helps to increase the moisture content in baked goods. Alternately, you can try adding granular lecithin, which is a soy-based product that helps extend the shelf life of your bread. For best results, keep your homemade bread and baked goods in a bread keeper. We have an adjustable version on our website, which allows you to control how much air (and therefore how crusty) you want your bread to be. I hope this helps! Kye@KAF

  64. Kathleenbean

    I made this recipe the other day. I wish I had read the blog first, I subbed about 1/4 of pickle juice for the water. Next time I will use all pickle juice. The recipe came out very well. I did make one large loaf, and yes, it settled once out of the oven. Still delicious and still and impressive loaf. Thanks for the recipe!

  65. Jo Cunningham

    My effort (2 small ovals) is in the oven now. I can already tell it’ll be better by far than my last rye bread attempt, not from your recipe. I presume I’ll get better at making it but I love your recipe with all of it’s explanatory detail and the photos.

    Thank you, and Happy Holidays!

  66. Sue

    I am a novice bread maker and want to make a rye bread for use in a Rueben casserole for superbowl. I have a question about this recipe. Can I make this in a single 9 5/8 x 5 1/2 in loaf pan?

  67. Judy Caudill

    I made this bread yesterday in a 13 inch pain de me pan without the lid. It did’nt rise more in the oven but it was already 3 inches tall. It was very good with pastrami today and I will definately make it again. How important is the sour cream? Can I substitute it with something else? I thought maybe it was added to give the bread a more tart taste.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Judy, the sour cream adds richness and tenderness, as well as supplying a little tartness to this bread, which is traditional with rye breads. Plain Greek yogurt would be a good substitute. Barb@KAF

  68. Judy Caudill

    I forgot to mention that this recipe deserves a 5 star rating for taste and for it’s easy preparation.


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