Easy Rye Sourdough

with cracked rye and seeds

We recently had a team baking day with our Head Baker Chris Holister, who guided us all through a huge variety of breads at our test kitchen in Frampton on Severn. One of my favourites for flavour, which was also very quick and easy to make, was this delicious rye sourdough. It’s not much of a looker, but it packs a huge punch in the flavour department, and works incredibly well with cheese and chutney (look out for our autumn chutney recipe, which I will be sharing soon!). On top of that, it requires very little input and can be pulled together with ease, which makes it very appealing for those days when you don’t have time for a longer process, and is suitable for all levels of experience.

I rushed home after the course to take a snap of my loaf in the failing light so that I could get it up on the blog for you all in time for Sourdough September, and I hope you enjoy this recipe of Chris’s as much as we all did!

The recipe uses medium rye flour (we used our Shipton Mill organic medium rye, and our organic cracked rye).

You will need a 600g non-stick loaf tin.

Makes one 500g loaf

If you’re interested, you can find information on our baking courses here.


  • 255g rye leaven (see below)
  • 45g mixed seeds (sunflower, linseed, pumpkin)
  • 64g cracked rye
  • 155g medium rye flour
  • 8g sea salt
  • 195g water
  • olive oil, to grease
  • 110g water
  • 110g medium rye flour
  • 35g mature rye starter


Make your rye leaven the day before you want to bake. Mix 110g of water with 110g rye flour and 35g of mature rye starter in a bowl, cover, and leave to rest at room temperature. The next day the leaven will be bubbling and smelling  yeasty.

The night before you want to bake, weigh your seeds and cracked rye into a bowl, cover with boiling water, and leave overnight to soak.

The next day, drain the seeds and cracked rye, and combine all your ingredients, including your rye leaven, in a mixing bowl with your 195g of water. Mix gently until smooth.

Lightly grease your loaf tin with olive oil. Wet your hands with cold water – this will make the dough easier to handle. It will be quite sticky, but don’t worry, it is meant to be like this. Shape your dough into a rough rectangle, and place it in the tin. Flatten the top with a dough scraper, and dust with flour if you would like a more decorative topping, or you can leave it plain. Cover, and prove in a warm place free from draughts (in the colder months the airing cupboard works well) for one and a half hours.

Preheat your oven to 230°C. If your oven doesn’t have a steam function, place an oven-proof dish with roughly 12 ice cubes in the base of the oven to create steam. Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, and then quickly remove the ice cubes. Bake for a further 30-40 minutes. Rye bread takes a bit longer to bake than some other grains. When the loaf is cooked through, turn it out of the tin and leave it to cool on a wire rack. Rye bread tends to slice better the day after baking.