This bread is more than just bread. Inspired by German-style wholemeal Vollkornbrot, our Super Seedy Sourdough Rye Bread has got it all: Super tasty, full of seeds, richly moist, nutritious... and all that without any kneading! If you are looking for an easy recipe for the most wholesome loaf of bread, you have found it right here!
If you found your way to this post, you’ve probably made bread at home before. But this wholesome loaf is no ordinary bread.
In Germany and Austria, this type of bread is quite common and is known as Vollkornbrot. It’s a wholemeal bread full of seeds and grains - a bit dense but rich, moist and oh-so full of flavour!
It is rye (although you can swap it for other wholemeal flours) and it is sourdough, both of which make for rich and aromatic bread.
Together with all the seeds and grains, as well as the way this bread is baked, you get a super nutritious and tasty loaf with great texture, that also keeps fresh inside for a week or longer.
Baking this bread is as easy as making cake, if not easier. Mix ingredients, put it all in a tin, bake.
So without being a master baker or surrendering your day’s schedule to a messy kitchen, you can bake your own amazing loaf of super tasty, super seedy sourdough rye bread!
What makes this bread so awesome:
- Very, very nutritious
- It’s sourdough
- Wholesome ingredients
- Easy to make - no kneading!
- Goes with anything - savoury and sweet
- Stays fresh for a week - if it lasts that long!
Sounds too good to be true? Let me break it down for you ...
The ingredients for this yummy loaf are totally wholesome. More than half of the dry ingredients are seeds or grains! They produce a great texture and combine into the super awesome flavour of this seeded wholemeal sourdough bread.
Plus, pretty much all of them can be swapped out easily to fit with what you’ve got in the pantry. Here’s what we put in our loaf:
- Dark rye flour
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Flaxseed (also known as linseed)
- Rye flakes
- Maple syrup
- Dried cranberries
- Water and salt
- Sourdough starter
Swapping out ingredients
As mentioned above, all of the ingredients (except water and salt) can easily be replaced.
Wholemeal flour: With so many other ingredients contributing to the flavour of this bread, you can swap out the dark rye flour for other wholemeal flours. Using wholewheat or spelt wholemeal flour will still give you an awesome, tasty loaf.
Interesting to note, it doesn’t matter which type of flour, even white flour, you previously fed your sourdough when you set up your starter. But more on that in a bit!
With the whole ingredients, the seeds and flakes, you can basically completely mix things up. It’s easy to swap out one thing for more of the others.
The recipe is flexible enough to leave out some one or two of these ingredients entirely without ruining the bread. However, for best results, try to stay close to the recipe's overall proportions. Here are some ideas for how to do that:
Seeds: Other seeds that go nicely in bread are poppy and chia seeds. Sesame seeds provide a flavourful twist, while hemp seeds would also work well.
Flakes and grains: You can replace the rye flakes with more oats, or more seeds. Any types of oats are good to use, including porridge oats, as they are roughly ground anyway.
For a complete swap, you can also use wheat bran, bran flakes or sticks, and flakes made from other cereals and grains such as barley, spelt, quinoa, buckwheat or millet.
Certain whole grains such as quinoa or millet might also offer a bit of crunch to the final bread.
Dried fruit: We love cranberries for their sour notes as well as their sweet fruity aroma. You can use pretty much any dried fruit, like raisins, currants, apricots, dates, etc.
Syrup: Instead of maple, you can use agave syrup, date syrup, golden syrup and so on. Traditional German recipes may use malt syrup or honey, so our vegan honey made with dandelions is a good choice, too.
Sourdough is easy
This bread feels like a bit of a cheat. Just because it is so tasty (I can’t say it enough), but so much easier than any other sourdough I’ve made.
You don’t have to learn any fancy techniques or knead the dough until your arms fall off. The method used in this recipe is virtually foolproof!
The only slightly tricky bit about this bread is that ideally you’ll need some sourdough starter. Don’t let this scare you off! After starting using sourdough, I found how easy it is once you got one or two things figured out.
If you haven’t already got a sourdough starter going, it’s easy to start one. There are resources on it all over the internet, and it doesn’t have to involve more than mixing flour and water, and adding more of the same every day for up to a week.
Once you have a starter established, you can keep in the fridge for a few weeks easily. It will still happily grow if you feed it every two weeks. I’ve even gone on holiday for two months and on my return found my sourdough starter still alive in the fridge.
I usually feed my sourdough starter on the day before baking and let it ripen overnight. But you can also get the starter going in the morning and bake bread in the evening. You can fit it into your schedule, and a few hours more or less don’t often make much difference.
You can even use a white sourdough starter to start off a wholemeal sourdough, and a wheat starter to make rye or spelt sourdough. This also works any other way round.
And as a great way to use up surplus sourdough starter, we now turn it into sourdough discard crackers. These are so much better than regular crackers, and so easy too!
Read on to find out how the sourdough starter is prepared, as well as tips to help you make this sourdough rye bread! You'll find the full recipe at the end of the post, but we encourage you to read through this section for extra helpful hints.
Instructions and tips
No kneading, no shaping, no ridiculous resting times! The method is so straightforward, it’s almost foolproof! And you don’t need to make a big mess of your kitchen either.
Let me show you just how easy it is to make this bread:
Step 1 - Prepare the sourdough starter. Combine the ‘old’ starter with the rye flour and water in a large bowl and rest covered at room temperature for 12-24 hours or simply overnight.
I like to prepare the starter on the day before I bake. I dissolve some 'old' sourdough starter, which I kept aside in the fridge from the previous time, in lukewarm or hand warm water and mix it with rye flour in a large bowl or mason jar.
The container should only be half full maximum, leaving room to allow the starter to expand. If you find after mixing the sourdough starter that the bowl or jar is more than half full, it’s safer to transfer the starter to a larger vessel.
Cover the container loosely, leave it out on the kitchen worktop and then forget about it until the next day. On baking day, after 12 to 24 hours of ripening, the sourdough preferment is ready to use. It should have bubbled up, either expanded in volume or already sunk down again.
The window of time to use the ripe sourdough starter in this recipe is wide and flexible. So you can easily fit it into your schedule.
And if you forgot to make your starter the previous day, you can set it up in the morning and in most cases should be able to bake in the evening.
Step 2 - Roughly grind the seeds and flakes and combine with the other ingredients and the ripened sourdough starter to make a sticky dough.
Mixing the dough
Grinding the seeds just a bit smaller in a spice grinder, bullet blender or food processor makes the bread a bit easier to cut and hold together well. Breaking the seeds up a bit also helps make the nutrients more available to the body.
If you don’t have a grinder, you can use a mortar and pestle, or chop up large seeds like pumpkin seeds with a knife.
Don’t grind them very fine. A few seconds in the blender will easily do. That leaves some bite to them and gives the bread a great texture.
Similar goes for the cranberries. I chop them with a knife rather than a blender, as they are too sticky. They are a bit chunky if you leave them unchopped. I like them a bit more distributed in small bits.
Now it's just a matter of mixing it all together until you have a moist and uniform mixture.
Don't worry about kneading for gluten build up or getting it smooth and non-sticky. Rye flour doesn’t work the same as wheat flour, and more than half of the ingredients are seeds and flakes anyway!
Step 3 - Transfer the mixture into a lined loaf tin and even out the surface with a spatula. Sprinkle on some extra seeds to cover the top and let the bread rest for 1 hour.
Resting in the tin
I leave the mixture to rest for 10 minutes to allow the dry ingredients to soak up the moisture. Then I transfer it into a lined loaf tin.
We have a non-stick reusable baking sheet that is cut to fit neatly into a standard loaf tin. Of course, you can use regular baking parchment.
In the tin, I distribute the dough evenly with a spoon or spatula and make the surface smooth and slightly domed.
I like to cover the surface of the bread with extra seeds. It looks good, and they taste awesome when they get toasted in the oven!
The bread needs to rest for about an hour to rise slightly out of its tin. It will only rise a tiny little bit, about a centimeter, so don’t expect it to double in size like other recipes would call for. An hour of resting should be fine.
Careful not to rest it too long at this stage, or the bread can get a caved area underneath the top crust, which makes it tricky to slice. So to be safe it's better to be on the less risen side.
Step 4 - Bake the bread at 175C for 90 minutes, covering it with a second loaf tin or foil halfway through. Take the bread out of the loaf tin and let cool down on a cooling rack.
I bake the bread for a total of 90 minutes. We cover the bread in the tin after the first 45 minutes, to keep the seeds on top from burning and the crust from drying too much.
It might feel like forever, but 90 minutes at 175°C is just right for this kind of bread. The slow and gentle baking allows the bread to develop it’s delicate flavor while cooking. It also makes it keep fresh and moist on the inside for weeks!
It is taking a tiny bit of a page from the book of baking the iconic German Pumpernickel bread, which takes this method much, much further.
Pumpernickel actually slowly caramelises at temperatures of 110 - 150°C over the course of up to 20 hours. But then, I couldn’t be bothered to wait quite that long...
After the full 90 minutes, take the bread out of the tin and let it cool down on a cooling rack.
As tempting as it is, leave it to fully cool down before cutting into it. The bread will continue to cook and firm up after it comes out of the oven.
It’s worth the wait. You’d be surprised, but often this bread actually gets even better one or two days after it’s made!
Rye and wholemeal bread keeps for several times longer than white bread. And this one is both! So unlike your everyday white or mixed loaf, you don’t have to worry about eating it up quickly before it goes stale.
It might dry out on the surface where it’s cut, but underneath it stays fresh and keeps all its flavour literally for ages.
Keeping it fresh
This bread should keep fresh for at least a week. You can further prolong its lifespan if you store it well.
The bread stays freshest in a lightly cool, dark and dry place once it’s fully cooled down and steamed off.
The best place to keep this bread fresh is in a bread box or tin. A clay pot is most ideal, but a rare luxury.
If you leave the bread out in the open, then it will dry out a bit quicker. But it’s important that the air can flow a bit around for a bit of ventilation.
You can still store the bread in an airtight container or bag, but wrap it in a tea towel or paper bag. Make sure to air it out at once a day to prevent moisture build up.
And if the bread does go a bit dry or stale, it makes amazingly tasty toast.
Serve it with
This tasty bread goes amazingly with anything that any bread would!
If you want to taste its own pure flavour, I suggest spreading just a little bit of vegan butter on it. Plain bread has never tasted better!
Our super seedy wholemeal bread has a lot of flavour of its own. But it still gladly takes a support role, and just enhances the flavour of whatever you pair it with!
It’s great with sweet things, like vegan butter and jam. But it’s equally awesome in savoury combos, the way it’s often served up in Germany and Austria.
Here are some ideas:
- Topped with spreads like mushroom pate, vegan herb & garlic cheese or vegan pesto.
- As a side to soup - creamy mushroom soup, wild garlic soup, butternut, carrot and ginger soup.
- With hearty salads - kale salad with apple or lentil salad.
- To go with potato goulash, a traditional Austrian stew.
- Or keep it simple with some butter, and a bit of fresh cress or some foraged wild garlic.
I hope you will enjoy this rye sourdough bread as much as I do! It is so rewarding to make your own bread, and even more if it is as wholesome as this one. - Paul
Super Seedy Rye Sourdough Bread
- 225 g dark rye flour
- 300 ml water
- 2 tbsp sourdough starter
- In a big bowl, mix all ingredients for the preferment together. Make sure to have extra space for the sourdough to rise.
- For 12 to 24 hours, or overnight, let the bowl rest in a warm(ish) place.
- When it's bubbly and smells sour-fruity, it is ready to use.
- TIP: alternatively, mix all the preferment ingredients together with the rest of the bread ingredients, and leave the whole mixture to ripen overnight!
Mixing and resting
- Roughly grind all the seeds and flakes using a spice/coffee grinder or food processor. Chop up the cranberries. Leaving some bits allows for great texture!
- Combine all ingredients, including the ripened preferment to make the dough.
- Let rest for 10 minutes, then transfer into a lined loaf tin and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Cover with extra seeds. Leave to rest for 1 hour.
- Bake at 175°C (350°F) for 90 minutes.
- After 45 minutes in the oven, cover with another tin or foil.
- When the full 90 minutes are up, take the bread out of the loaf tin and cool down on a wire cooling rack.