make your own rye sourdough

Prep Time

5 minutes

Prep Notes

why and what is rye?

While wheat flour predominates in the breads of southern Europe and the UK, rye flour plays a more important role in the breads of northern and eastern Europe. This is due to rye's superior ability to grow in the poorer soils and cooler, wetter climates of those regions.

Rye contains much less gluten than wheat, and the gluten rye contains is of poor quality when it comes to trapping air bubbles. Consequently, breads made with mostly rye flour do not expand as much as those made with mostly wheat flour. The crumb of breads in which rye predominates tends to be dense with smaller holes. On the other hand, rye has more free sugars than wheat, so rye dough ferments faster.

Rye contains a group of important complex sugars called “pentosans.” These are present in other grains, but rye has more of this substance. Pentosans are important to the baker for several reasons. They compete with the proteins that make gluten for water, and water is the substance that leads the proteins to combine to form gluten. This means that rye doughs often require a higher proportion of water than doughs in which wheat predominates. Pentosans break apart easily during mixing, and their fragments result in a stickier dough. Because of this, rye doughs require gentler and, usually, briefer mixing than wheat doughs.

Because it is difficult to separate the germ and bran from the endosperm of rye, rye flour usually retains a large quantity of nutrients, in contrast to refined wheat flour.

Rye fiber is richly endowed with noncellulose polysaccharides, which have exceptionally high water-binding capacity and quickly give a feeling a fullness and satiety.

Bread made from wheat triggers a greater insulin response than rye bread does.

Rye is a very good source of manganese and a good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, copper, pantothenic acid and magnesium. It also contains lignan phytonutrients.


about 50 grams of starter sourdough


rye flour (whole grain, possibly stone ground and local)

lukewarm water (always when it says water)


day 1

  • place 40grams rye flour with 40ml water in a clean glass jar and mix with a clean wooden spoon
  • draw a line to mark the height of the mixture on the jar so you can see any activity easily
  •  loosely close the lit of the jar and store at room temperature (about 20°C) out of direct sunlight for 24 hours

day 2

  • if you are lucky you should see some little bubbles of air in the mixture.
  • add 20ml of water and 20grams of rye flour
  • stir with a clean wooden spoon for 30 seconds
  • draw a new mark line if needed
  • loosely close the lit of the jar and store at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 24 hours.

day 3

  • your mixture should now be getting active. Mine did more than double in size during the last 24 hours
  • if your mixture is not very active yet, throw away half of the mixture and repeat the directions of day 2 again.
  • the smell of your mixture should be a little nicer at this stage.
  • when your mixture is active, throw away two third of the mixture
  • add 30ml of water and 30grams of rye flour
  • stir with a clean wooden spoon for 30 seconds and store at room temperature.

This is called refreshing or feeding your starter. By throwing out half of your mixture and adding new rye flour you give the starter fresh food (the rye flour) to work on, so all your new yeast and bacteria can get ‘stronger’ and multiply again. You also dilute the alcohol and the acid they produce so the yeast and bacteria do not ‘poison’ themselves.

day 4

  • Your starter should now be fully active and strong enough to double or triple in size during a 24 hours time period. We need to refresh it again before we can use this starter because the acid producing bacteria need more time to develop than the yeast. So throw away two third of the mixture and add 30ml of water and 30grams of whole grain rye flour, stir with a clean spoon for 30 seconds and store at room temperature.

day 5

  • your starter should at least double in size consistently after each refreshment to be ready for your first baking project. If your culture does not double in size consistently after day 4 or 5 repeat the directions of day 4 until it does.

  • at this stage your starter should be developing a nice fruity smell during the next few days. You can now let your starter rest for a few days in the fridge in a well closed glass jar. 

I usually make bread or refresh every 4/5 days.


more recipes on how to make bread or more sourdough goods soon..

we enjoy baking that involves the whole family, that is why we mainly do in the weekends.

sourdough baking is slower but worthy in taste,health and economy!