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Need a recipe for Rye bread using sourdough - No Yeast No Wheat

breadmaking's picture

Need a recipe for Rye bread using sourdough - No Yeast No Wheat

Wondering if i could please have a recipe for Rye bread - just using Rye flour with Sour Dough Starter - no yeast - No Wheat.

Actually my dr. has asked to have Pumpernickel bread, but cannot find the flour, so i will settle with Rye bread.

Does one need a rye starter to make the bread. As i have a gluten free starter with me.

Which bread has low carbs

thank you for your help


Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Try this one, very simple:

You don't need a rye starter, but if you start consistently baking rye bread, just switch your starter to feeding whole rye. I like feeding it rye anyway, it's much more tolerant to long fridge storage and breaks between feedings.

Low carbs is not about any "normal" bread though...

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Or this, with all easy to find ingredients:

JeremyCherfas's picture

Here's my adaptation of a 100% rye bread by David Kaminer. It does also contain sunflower seeds and caraway seeds, but to my mind those improve matters.

Good luck.

breadmaking's picture

IIya and Jeremy truly grateful for the links attached. I will watch the youtube and follow through

Thank you again Stay Safe


Tal's picture

This is a very good recipe of Rey bread:


Dan_In_Sydney's picture


First, no bread is really low carb, however, as a general rule, the more seeds, nuts and grain pieces are included, the lower the carbohydrate percentage will be. That is because those ingredients tend to contain higher percentages of fat and protein, reducing the percentage of carbohydrates and thus lowering the carbs in a slice.

So, if the aim is lower carbohydrate intake, adding seeds and nuts in will reduce the carbs in any given weight of bread, though total calorie intake may increase due to the additional fats present.

Just for example, 100g of sunflower seeds has 20g of carbs compared to 70g for 100g of dark rye flour. However, it has 580 calories compared to 325 calories for the flour.

Many 'low carb' breads are thus higher in calories than 'normal' bread, so it might be worth clarifying what, specifically, your doctor is aiming for.

On to Pumpernickel, there are multiple benefits to this style of bread and, while most will be present in 'normal' 100% rye sourdough bread, that may be to a lesser extent.

There are two (main) things that make Pumpernickel bread:

  1. Use of Pumpernickel flour, which is the (coarsely) crushed WHOLE rye grain/berry.
  2. Method of cooking, where it is cooked in small, sealed containers for long periods of time at low temperatures.

Flour type

Off the bat, rye tends to be higher in fibre than wheat, meaning that, all else being equal, rye bread is more filling than wheat bread. This has obvious benefits.

Second thing to note is that rye has a lower gycemic index than wheat. I'll leave you to research GI if you're not familiar with it but suffice it to say that lower GI tends to be better where general health (rather than specific athletic needs) are concerned. It is probably of most concern with dealing with diabetes.

Rye bread is simply bread made with rye flour. What is important to understand, however, is that rye berries have the same components as wheat berries - the bran, endosperm and germ. What is generally sold as 'light' or plain rye flour is made just like white wheat flour - the endosperm only. 'Dark' rye flour may contain the germ and/or a portion of the bran added back in and may even be the entire grain (ground,) making it a proper 100% wholemeal flour. Other 'dark ryes' may be standard light rye with added colourings, some of which are undesirable in this context (like molasses).

What you will want to look for is wholemeal rye flour, which, at least in Australia, can also go my the name of 'rye meal'.

'Rye meal' - especially when labelled with that name - can be sold finely ground like regular flour or more coarsely ground. Pumpernickel flour is really just coarsely ground rye meal so you might also try looking around for that.

Here is an example (from Australia):

Compared to this (also from Australia) which is wholemeal rye flour but much more finely ground:

In general, regardless of the grind or composition, rye flour will tend to have slightly lower carbohydrate percentage than an equivalent type of wheat flour but not really anything sufficient to classify it as 'low' carb.

As above, however, what it does have is a higher fibre content and lower GI, both of which are, generally speaking, good for health and, combined, will (again, generally) mean provide sustained energy and a longer feeling of 'fullness'.

Pumpernickel flour and baking method

While all rye bread will be denser than wheat bread, bread made with 'Pumpernickel' flour will be especially so, due to the coarse grind.

Additionally, traditional Pumpernickel bread is baked in a sealed tin which accentuates this and is thus very filling.

Because of this, a loaf of real Pumpernickel will generally be sold as a very dense 'brick' or 'log', pre-cut into very thin slices. This part is actually important as it means that a slice and therefore 'serving' of traditional Pumpernickel bread will be smaller than a serving of normal bread.

Finally, REAL Pumpernickel bread will contain absolutely no additions beyond rye, water and salt, meaning no molasses or sugar or honey for colour and flavour, all of which would decrease the benefits somewhat.


All up, (true) Pumpernickel bread is a combination of factors resulting in the following properties:

  • Low GI
  • High fibre
  • Dense and filling
  • Sold (usually) pre-cut in small slices

For me, the last one actually works against me as I love rye and especially the interesting taste of Pumperknickel so, when I have it in the house, I find myself grabbing a slice for a snack before, between, after and even during meals so I end up consuming more carbs than if I had white bread around!

breadmaking's picture

Dan_In_Sydney, thank you very much for your detailed explanation regarding bread made with both flours.

We do have rye bread but much yeast is added. The pumpernickel bread called black bread is the same.

I would have loved to make my own and did a lot of trial and errors and alot of wastage. Made some from the links provided but still no luck - will keep trying until i can as it is a health concern

Stay safe and thank you


Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

If you report back with the issues you encountered I am sure you will get plenty of help.

Dan_In_Sydney's picture

Personally, I rather enjoy dense bread like rye. I usually slice mine thin but that nutty, rich taste always has me back for another not long after and soon enough I end up with a nice thick slice just to get the full effect of that feeling pressing your teeth through it.

Additionally, my partner doesn't enjoy rye bread at all - anything above about 10% is not recieved well - so I find that 100% rye breads are actually the least stressful for me to make becuase:

  • I just bake them in a tin for easier slicing and because they'll just spread out otherwise.
  • No kneading - just mixing.
  • No shaping - make it into a rough loaf shape if you can, otherwise just kind of pour it in.
  • I don't have to worry over much about how much it rises as, first, I know it won't rise that much and, second, I love the dense crumb.
  • It can handle a lot of baking - put the oven on lowish and go care about something else for an hour or two.

And, really, those are my suggestions.

I has been a little while since I made one and I tend not to follow recipes (I make my own up and see what happens) but the gist is:

  • Go for about 30-40% levain to total dough.
  • Make your levain the night before at around 120% hydration.
  • Aim for a total hydration around 85-90%
  • Mix well, proof in the pan somewhere warm until it rises to about 1.5 - 1.75x (i.e. not double) - probably about 3-4 hours, depending on temp.
  • Bake it either moderate - 210c - for and hour and a half or low and slow - 120-130c for up to 4-5 hours.
  • Take it out, leave it until completely cool and then wrap it up in a towel and leave it until at least lunch the next day.

As always, it's done when the centre reaches ~95c. I tend to bake a little hotter and for less time (i.e on the 60-90min side) so I can get it all done in one day and also because I don't have a pullman loaf pan, which is what you might ideally use for the longer, low-temp bakes.

Beyond that, you can use warmish water in the dough, too. Why? because colder ferments tend to generate more acetic acid (vinegar) and, while some people like that, I find that 100% rye bread has all the depth of flavour I need without needing to introduce any sourness or acidity. It's also why I have used a liquid levain, made fresh, rather than a mature rye starter at 100% - for me, I just don't want the sourness and acidity competing with the rye flavours, but that's me.


  1. Make your levain overnight (~300g total for an 850g loaf)
  2. Mix up your final dough the next morning.
  3. Pour into a tin and leave it somewhere warm until after lunch.
  4. Bake it
  5. Cool it on a rack, uncovered until after dinner.
  6. Wrap it up in a towel before you go to bed.
  7. Enjoy it the next day for lunch.



Benito's picture

Hi I just posted a nice simple recipe I baked as my first 100% bread. Here is the link to my blog post I've posted photos of the bread and crumb.  No yeast or wheat was harmed in the production of that bread.


breadmaking's picture

Thank you all Tal, Benito, Dan_in_Sydney, IIya for your kind help in sharing the links and explanation. 

With much trial and error managed to get a nice starter going, now the bread making has become an issue. I do not mind dense bread, and did try My German Recipes Rye bread, however the taste was extremely sour.

As i have had to discard many of my breads, therefore i try not to use much seeds in my bread, as all will go to waste.

I love the rye bread from the store, which is quite expensive and baked in a very limited quantity, many other ingredients are added to it. 

Rye having low GI suits me well and only a few ingredients to make a homemade bread, that is if i can accomplish making it.

I love and was a fairly good baker but making with sourdough without commercial yeast is a big challenge.  Just mix and the yeast would do the rest for me but now it is difficult, not sure how it would turn out.

Thank you again for all your kind help

Dan_In_Sydney's picture

There are a couple of things you can try to reduce the sour flavour.

The first thing to note is that rye flour and wholegrain/wholemeal flour will both tend to produce a more sour flavour. Wholemeal rye flour gets a double hit of that.

This is one reason I mentioned that I try to reduce the sourness and acidity as a 100% rye bread will always tend towards those flavours so there's no need to accentuate them.

Expanding on my previous comment, here are some ways to try and reduce the the sourness:

  • Keep your starter at room temperature (~20-25c is ideal).
  • Feed your starter twice per day - before it has started to collapse.
  • Keep the feed ratios a little lower (1:2:2), which should help having it ready for a second feed in the evening.
  • Make a rather liquid levain - you can go to 150% or even 200%.
  • When building the levain, again, start before your sourdough starter has started to collapse.
  • Use the levain before it, too, has peaked.
  • Use a high percentage of levain and fement at a moderate temperature (again, ~25c is good).

The idea behind all these steps is to prevent the bacteria (responsible for both lactic and acetic acid creation) from multiplying too much.

Time and temperature are your two tools here so what you are aiming for is a temperature at which the yeast will multiply quickly, for the starter, the levain and the final dough. This means that that stage is ready sooner rather than later, reducing the time available for the bacteria to multiply.

The high percentage of starter may seem counter-productive as that will be a repository of sourness but the higher the percentage of active yeast going into the bread, the shorter the ferment and thus the less sour the bread should be.

And, as a bit of a 'cheat' - but perhaps a necessary one - you can always add a little baking soda/bi-carbonate of soda (not baking powder). The reasoning here is that baking SODA is highly alkaline and that will neutralise some of the acid in the dough.

I would suggest starting with 1/2tsp for a standard loaf-tin worth of dough. Maybe up to 1tsp but see if you can adjust the sourness by managing the starter and levain.

Note that there are other ways to reduce sourness by increasing the sweetness of the dough naturally. The simplest is to just add some diastic malt into the flour and give the flour and water (without the levain) an autolyse for an hour or so. This will not only boost the amylase enzyme count but also give them a head start converting the starches into sugars.

This will help boost the fermentation speed (further reducing the time the bacteria have available to multiple) but the goal is to end up with left over sugars at bake time that the yeast has not yet had time to digest. This is 'residual sugar' and, in bread, contributes to a sweeter taste and also allows for (more) caramelisation to occur on the crust during the bake. (This is not dissimilar to wines where fermentation has been deliberated stopped before all the sugars have been converted into alcohol, making for a sweeter wine.)

This is certainly one way to counter-act sourness in a loaf but is likely not ideal in your situation as the mechanism necessarily generates an excess of simple sugars, rather than the slightly more complex carbohydrates, which one presumes would raise the GI - rather the opposite to what you are aiming for.

Dan_In_Sydney's picture

Last thing - if you ARE going to store your starter in the fridge, which would be sensible as it's easier to bake 2 loaves as they keep and freeze very well, then put your starter into the very coldest part of your fridge. If you have one of those fridges with different zones then place it there. If not, try where the air outlets are. That's usually at the back of the fridge but, all else being equal, the back is better anyway, just simply due to the insulative effects of other food when you open the door.

The idea here is that, while yeast will seriously slow down - to the point of near dormancy - once it gets below ~10c, the bacteria has a wider tolerance and continue to be active - and therefore producing sour flavours - right down to ~5C.

Both the yeast and the bacteria will be essentially inactive at or below 4c/40F, which is why that's the recomended temperature for a refrigerator to best preserve food!

Unfortunately, this doesn't work quite so well for retarding your dough overnight as the significantly greater mass of the dough means it will retain sufficient heat for bacterial action (and fermentation) to continue for quite some time in the fridge.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Extremely sour... Sorry to hear that. Did you change anything at all in the recipe? E.g. did you add the salt to the preferment?

I haven't actually tried it before, but comments are very positive. I might try it for myself. It shouldn't be very sour.

Plenty of of other rye recipes to explore of course.

breadmaking's picture

Thank you Dan_in_Sydney and IIya

Appreciate all your help, and explanation. The difference i noticed from your reply i did make My German bread recipe, it was easy to understand and follow but i did add some baking powder hoping it may help in giving the bread abit of lightness and increase in height.

I did add black strap molasses - yes i did see the reviews of bakers regarding the recipe and all seem to have much success.

Will keep trying and thankyou very much for all the support

Thank you - stay safe

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Baking powder?.. That's not something to be used in bread like this! First try the recipe exactly as described, and then see how it works for you. If you want more height bake it in a bread pan instead of free-standing.

100% whole rye bread is bound to have a little acidity, and it's necessary to make good crumb (i.e. without acid the bread would be gummy and sticky). But it shouldn't be very sour.

Good luck, hope it works for you!

Dan_In_Sydney's picture

Two comments.

Baking powder is not baking soda

I'm sure you know that - just pointing out that baking powder is - by design - neutral. Well, that's not actually the case. Baking powder is, in general terms, a combination of bicarbonate of soda and some acidic powder. When it mixes with water, the alkaline bicarb and the acidic other ingredient will activate and then neutralise each other to produce carbon dioxide.

Bicarbonate of soda is common to both baking power (where it is mixed with an acid, as above) and baking soda, where it is the sole ingredient. It is alkaline and will react with any acidic solution, producing carbon dioxide.

This is why you can't let something with baking soda rest - you have to bake it quickly or the bicarb will be spent and the carbon dioxide will have been and gone.

Baking powder provides its own acid and, once the acidic portion hydrates, it activates and is available to react with the alkaline bicarb soda, neutralising it and generating carbon dioxide during that reaction.

Importantly, when you add add baking powerder, the bicarbonate of soda isn't picky and it will react with whatever acids are about - not just the one it came bundled with. What that means is that the bicarb coda contained in baking powder will do one of the following:

  • Neutralise 100% with the packaged acid, leaving the dough pH unaffected.
  • Neutralise 100% with the dough acid, leaving the packaged acid unaffected.
  • Neutralise partially with both, leaving some of the packaged acid behind.

Whatever the case, the resultt is - at best - zero effect on the pH of the dough and so no reduction in the acidity you are looking to tame.

It's also not overly likely that baking powder will actually contribute anything much to the leavening power of the dough, though it conceivably could.

The reason for specifying baking soda is that it is just the alkaline compound so it will neutralise some of the acid in the dough without adding any acidification of its own. The addition of baking soda/bicarb (by itself) is not to leaven or lighten the bread; it is purely to go some small way to neutralising the acids present in your dough.

Blackstrap molasses

I like blackstrap molasses (in moderation) and you may, too, but it's not an overly sweey flavour and, moreover, most people would say that it is a little bitter. I think it has a deeply mineral taste but I couldn't quite tell you what I mean by that!

Either way, it is not going to add much sweetness to counteract or offset an acidic loaf and will instead lend its own flavour profile and richness. As with my personal preference for trying to keep rye bread less acidic and sour, I think rye, by itself, has sufficient depth and complexity of flavour without another strong flavour in blackstrap molasses adding to it.

I've actually never seen a 100% rye bread with blackstrap molasses that doesn't also have some other, sweetening agent in it - like sugar or honey.

Where I have seen a 100% rye with ONLY molasses and no other sweetener, it hasn't been blackstrap molasses. Conversely, where I have seen rye bread that have only blackstrap without any 'proper' sweeteners, it has not been 100% rye and is instead a 50-50 or even lower.

I think the idea with those is that going for 50-50 with normal wheat flour allow you to get a bit of rise out of it but, seeing as you have lost the robust flavour of a 100% rye bread, ingredients like blackstrap molasses are there to 'fill-in' for it so you get the rise of white flour and get that taste from the combination of rye and blackstrap. (Likewise coffee and unsweetened cocoa powder.)

This is, of course, personal preference entirely but I would not being adding (only) blackstrap to a 100% rye bread unless you were really wanting to double-down on those flavours.

In other words, both rye and blackstrap are strong flavours and will reinforce rather than mellow each other.



breadmaking's picture

Thank you very much IIya and Dan_in_Sydney for all your encouragement and helping me sort out how to make this bread.

I will follow the recipe as is minus baking powder and molases will give this a try.

Thank you again