Rich seedy rye kernel bread with sourdough - Scandinavian style - Recipe with pictures

This is not a food blog, but here is anyway a recipe! I started the other day on a very deep philosophical post about creative living and what not, but I lost the inspiration and haven't managed to finish it! So here instead something lighter (but non the less useful!).

I realized that it is difficult to find a recipe in English of the amazing rye bread that every Scandinavian person takes for granted! We eat so much of this amazing loaf in Denmark, that a piece of rye bread with "pålæg" ("put-on" - a word for whatever you can put on top of bread!) is simply called "en mad" = "a food", and it is the standard Danish lunch, every day! 
The famous Danish "Smørrebrød".
It is really the base of the Danish diet, and we don't even realize or appreciate it's awesomeness before we stay for a while outside the great North and experience missing it!

I am currently living in Italy and had to find out how I make rye bread myself, because it's simply too good to live without! The white fluffy buns they have here seems like crappy fast food next to a nice dense piece of slow-food rye bread!
I think I started to get the home baked rye bread recipe down pretty good (in Denmark, I, and most people, just buy the one from the store or the bakery, which is cheap and great, so why not), so I thought I would do my part of spreading this flavour-rich, filling, healthy, low-gluten (rye is almost, but not completely gluten-free), tasty loaf of bread to the non-Scandinavian world!

It is actually quite simple, as soon as you have it going.

Well, there is a few tricky things - first of all you need both rye flour and 'cracked' rye kernels (coarsely ground rye kernels about halved). In Denmark you find the cracked rye kernels in every supermarket, but outside I don't know how easy they are to find. I didn't find them where I live in Italy.

What I do is I buy the full rye kernels (or we are also trying to grow our own rye atm.), and since I am the lucky owner of a Fidibus flour mill, I can grind both the flour and the roughly ground kernels in that or use a Corona Mill. If you don't have either, try chopping them up in a blender or food processor, or even by hand, or just use the full kernels which is also doable, and then buy the flour separately.

the whole rye grains going into the corona mill
Mine look more or less like this, a good mix of some still whole, some a bit dusty and some halved!
Second not-so-tricky part is you need a sourdough. There do exist specific rye bread sourdoughs, but I am just using the wheat sourdough that I use for my normal sourdough bread, and it works great. I also feed it with rye flour once in a while, which is super good for the sourdough. 
If you don't have a sourdough starter, making one is simple and there are lots of information on the matter for example here (or just google 'sourdough starter'!). There are tons of different ways to do it.
(TIP: instead of throwing the excess sourdough away you can make sourdoug pancakes, chapatis or crackers with it! Super yummi!)

Okay, but apart from that (and that is is a slow food two-day process), it's easy! (I hope I didn't loose you already). Basically just mix, wait, mix and bake!

I got my basic recipe from Meyersmad, but have adjusted it a bit to my liking. Most recipes also ask for a little bit of yeast, but I find my sourdough sufficient for the job! Since rye is low in gluten, the bread doesn't raise a lot anyway. It is supposed to be a nice dense piece of bread, that will fill you up after a slice or two! 

Okay, sorry for all the talking, to the recipe!


DAY 1 - You'll need two separate bowls, one for soaking the seeds and one for the dough


4 dl Water
100 g Sunflower seeds
100 g Linen seeds
200 g Cracked rye kernels


2 dl Sourdough
60 ml Water (just a splash, really)
250 g Rye flour

In one bowl mix the seeds and the water - cover to soak for 24 hours in room temperature

In second bowl, mix the sourdough in the water and add the flour and mix well - the mix will seem very dry, but it has to be that way! 
Cover also this bowl and let stand for 24 hours in room temperature. They should not be mixed before the second day!


100 g Rye flour
15 g Salt

Mix the content of the two bowls together, add salt and flour, mix well a couple of minutes and put the whole dough in a bread pan (traditionally a long one), well oily on the sides, and let it raise for 2-3 hours. It should raise about 40%, depending on how vigorous your sourdough is!

Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C (356°F) approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Take the bread out of the pan and let it cool down before cutting.

(The bread tastes amazing fresh and stays fresh for a long time! It is also gorgeous toasted though, but needs a couple more minutes than your normal wheat bread to get nice and crispy!)