Danish Rye Bread (Dansk rugbrød)

In the cold Scandinavian climate, a hardy grain like rye is perfect to withstand the unique Danish weather. Rye bread is a staple to the Danish diet and is most commonly seen as the star of the Danish smørrebrød (open-faced sandwich). It’s packed with a variety of seeds, grains, and cracked rye and is a healthy alternative to white bread.

Try this easy Danish rye bread recipe at home to bring the traditions of Scandinavia into your kitchen:

Danish Rye Bread (Dansk rugbrød)


Yields one loaf
51/4 ounces sour dough starter
4 cups water, divided
7 ounces cracked rye kernels
7 ounces whole grain wheat flour
14 ounces dark rye flour, divided
1 tablespoon dark malt flour (optional, but gives the bread an attractive dark color and deep flavor)
13/4 cups mixed seeds (one or more of the following – sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, pumpkins seeds)
Other optional additions include chopped dried apricots, or
dried berries
Vegetable oil, for loaf pan

Day 1

In a large bowl, combine the sour dough starter, 3¼ cups water, rye kernels, whole grain wheat flour, and half of the dark rye flour. Knead to form a smooth dough.

Allow the dough to rise, in a lightly greased, covered bowl, at least 20 hours.

Day 2

After 20 hours, add the remaining dark rye flour and 3/4 cup
water. Remove 5 ounces of the dough and add to your original sourdough starter.

To the remaining dough, add the mixed seeds and any other optional ingredients, if using.

Oil sides of a bread loaf pan, preferably one with tall sides. Add dough to pan. Brush any excess oil on the sides of pan on top of the dough. Poke some holes in the top with a fork and bang against the counter several times so it settles and releases any air bubbles.

Set aside and allow the dough to rise until it is 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the top edge of pan. Note that the time needed for the bread to rise depends on the temperature of your home and how active your sourdough is. Keep a close eye on this process. Estimated times for the dough to rise are 3 to 4 hours (if you leave inside oven with light on) or 4 to 5 hours in an open kitchen.

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat the oven
to 380°F.

Bake for approximately 1 hour. Remove the bread from pan immediately after baking if you want a nice, crispy crust. Otherwise, let the bread completely cool in the pan before removing.

Baker’s notes

This bread holds for approximately 3 days in an air-tight bag. Slice remaining bread and freeze after 3 days. Toast frozen bread.

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