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Traditional Seeded Rye Bread


Makes two loaves.

The recipe comes courtesy of Kolja whose Grandfather owned a Baker’s Shop in Schleswig-Holstein – the northern most part of Germany bordering on Denmark and the North Sea. Seeded Rye Bread formed the typical daily loaf of many in Northern Germany and the neighbouring Nordic/Scandinavian countries since Rye grows so much better in the cooler climates of Northern Europe than high protein wheat, which requires heat and sunshine to grow.

Rye contains next to no gluten so this bread has a long proving time and is not going to rise spectacularly. The low gluten content of rye means that kneading this particular flour is not unlike forming mud-cakes on a swampy river estuary. Kinda fun – but it does not give that satisfying experience one gets from handling high protein wheat flours. It also explains why this recipe calls for “spooning” the mixture into the tins rather than ten minutes of kneading.

The dark colour of this full-bodied, delicious loaf can not be attributed to the rye alone. The addition of molasses and dark abbey beer contribute not only to the colour but also to the depth of flavours.  The soaked rye berries and sunflower seeds lend a satisfying crunch and the deep, complex flavours from the added treacle go brilliantly with ripe cheeses, hams, pickles or spread with quark and a sour-cherry jam.

This bread must be packed with natural nutrients of all sorts since a couple of slices of this with some good cheese leaves the eater full for literally hours on end before there’s a call from the brain for more nutrients. It takes 36 hours from beginning to end to prepare – but only around one hour of your time in total. This bread does get harder as it ages but it does not go stale so can be prepared and baked over the week-end and kept going until mid-week at least. Left overs can be used for making a Kvass.

It really is not a complicated recipe, albeit that it is a lengthy one. Master this and you really will end up feeling like a master in the kitchen.

Grandpa Fred’s seeded rye loaf

Day 1:


2 ½ cups white wheat flour
2 ½ cups whole rye flour
3-4 TSP Salt
2 ½ cups lukewarm water
1 cup of rye sourdough starter


Mix all the ingredients together in a stone bowl and leave to rest for 24 hours.

Day 2:


1 ½ cups whole-rye flour
1 ½ cups wheat flour
1  ½ cups rye flakes
1 cup flax seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 TBS blackstrap molasses (treacle)
3 TBS yoghurt
250 ml dark abbey beer – or add one TBS malt powder and add 250 ml lukewarm water.


Mix the two doughs together and spoon the mixture into two greased bread tins.

Leave to rest for a further 3-4 hours.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees centigrade for one hour.

Remove from the oven and cover the tins with aluminium foil to prevent the surface from burning.

Turn the oven down to 180 degrees centigrade and bake for a further 45 minutes.

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