Danish Rye Bread

As you make this bread the first time, be sure to save some of the starter—you’ll find yourself craving it once the loaf is gone, and having starter on hand will reduce the preparation time so significantly that you won’t think twice about starting a new batch.

Serves: 12Hands-on: 30 minutesTotal: 5 daysDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 12


  • 1 1⁄4 cup buttermilk
  • 4 1⁄2 cups rye flour, divided
  • 3 tsp. plus 1 Tbsp. sea salt, divided
  • 1 bottle (12 oz.) light ale, room temperature
  • 1 1⁄2 cups warm water (105°F to 110 °F)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3⁄4 lb. cracked rye grain
  • 1 cup warm water


  • For the bread starter, stir together the buttermilk, 1 1⁄2 cups rye flour, and 1 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over the top of the starter. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and allow to sit in a warm space (at least 78°F) for 4 days.
  • To prepare the bread dough, place the starter in the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with the paddle attachment. Stir in the ale, 1 1⁄2 cups finger-warm water, honey, 1 tablespoon salt, 3 cups rye flour, and all-purpose flour, beating at medium speed until combined (about 5 minutes).
  • Remove 1⁄4 cup of the dough to use as a starter for your next batch. Place in a container, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, cover, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
  • Add the cracked rye and remaining cup of warm water to the batter, stirring to combine. Transfer to a nonstick pullman pan, cover with a kitchen towel, and allow to rise in a warm place for 6 hours or until the dough has risen to the top of the pan.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the bread for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn out the loaf onto a rack, and allow to cool completely.