Light Caraway Rye

This delicious bread makes perfect pastrami sandwiches. Or use it to sop up your favorite beefy stew.

Serves: 16Hands-on: 40 minutesTotal: 4 hoursDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 16


  • 6 cups water
  • 1¾ tsp. active dry yeast (1 package)
  • 4½ cups rye flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1¾ tsp. active dry yeast (1 package)
  • 1½ cups light rye flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. caraway seeds, toasted and ground
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • ¼ cup cornmeal


  • Make the starter: In a glass or ceramic bowl, combine 2½ cups water, yeast, 1 cup rye flour, and bread flour. Stir to combine, cover with cheesecloth, and set aside at room temperature for 7 days. Stir the starter once a day for 8 days. On Day 8, remove 1 cup of starter; replace it with ½ cup rye flour and ½ cup water. Stir to combine, then set aside at room temperature for 24 hours. Repeat each day for the next 6 days. The starter is now ready to use.
  • Make the bread: In a large bowl, combine water, sugar, and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup starter and rye flour; stir to combine. Add salt, caraway seeds, and enough bread flour to create a firm dough. Add flour only to reduce stickiness. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 8–10 minutes. Return to bowl, dust the top with flour, and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment, and sprinkle with cornmeal. Turn risen dough onto a floured surface, divide into 2 equal portions, and shape into round loaves. Place onto prepared pan, seam-side down. Dust with flour, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and set aside to proof for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Using a serrated knife, slash two or three diagonal lines into the surface of the risen loaves, about ½" deep. Place a pan of cold water at the bottom of the oven to create steam. Bake loaves until golden brown and hollow sounding, about 30–40 minutes. Remove to a rack and cool completely.
  • Always replace the starter you use with an equal amount of rye flour and water. Refrigerate when not in use, and repeat the process for 5–8 days before using again.