Danish Rye Bread

If you ask a Dane to talk about traditional Danish food, he/she will for sure mention rugbrød (rye bread). When I ask Danes what they miss the most when they are not in Denmark they usually say rugbrød.  Rugbrød is a Danish food stable. I would venture to say that most Danes will eat rye bread for lunch every day.  As a Dane, I too love rugbrød with all of its wonderful toppings.  Freshly made rye bread from a Danish bakery is the best. So I thought I would make my own Danish rye bread using my new grain mill, the WonderMill.

The first time you make this bread it is more involved because you have to make the sourdough starter. After the first time you make it you can just set aside some of the dough and use it as a starter the next time.


Sourdough Starter (scroll down for rye bread recipe)


9 Tbsp water
4 Tbsp rye flour
5 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp honey


First grind your rye berries and wheat berries with your grain mill (I use my WonderMill).

Day 1

Mix 6 Tbsp water, 3 Tbsp rye flour, 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour, and 1 tsp honey together in a mason jar. Put the lid on the jar and leave it in a warm place.

Day 3

Add 3 Tbsp water, 1 Tbsp rye flour, and 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour to the jar with the sourdough mixture from day 1 and mix.  Put the lid back on and let it sit in a warm place for another 2-3 days until the sourdough starter is finished.  It is finished when the starter is bobbling and smells fermented.

Again, this sourdough starter recipe is not required after the first time.


Danish Rye Bread (Rugbrød)



Sourdough starter
500g whole wheat flour
1000g rye flour
3 Tbsp salt
300g rye berries
200g sunflower seeds
200g barley
150g ground flaxseed
150g steel cut oats
8 cups water

The advantage of using grams instead of cups is that when you measure your wheat/rye berries in grams it produces the exact amount of grams of flour you need. When you measure wheat/rye berries in cups then you will end up with more flour than needed. Either way will work though. Most food scales also measure in grams and make it easy to figure out if you don’t normally use grams.

This recipe yields 4 loaves of rye bread, but I usually halve the recipe and make 2 loaves at a time. This assumes a 8.5″x4.5″ loaf pan. The bread freezes well especially if you slice it before you freeze it.



Day 1

In a pot or bowl add 150g rye grains, 100g sunflower seeds, 100g barley, and 75g steel cut oats. Cover the grain mixture with about 2 cups of boiling water. Cover the pot/bowl and let it sit for 24 hours.

Day 2

Dissolve the sourdough starter in 4 cups of lukewarm water. Then add 500g freshly ground whole wheat flour, 500g freshly ground rye flour, 75g freshly ground flaxseed and 3 Tbsp salt. Finally, add the grain mixture from day 1.  Mix it all together and let it sit covered for 24 hours.

At the same time repeat day 1 in a separate bowl/pot to make a new grain mixture.


Day 3

Add the two mixtures from day 2 together. Then add 500g freshly ground rye flour and 75g freshly ground flaxseed.

IMPORTANT NOTE: From this mixture remove the amount of sourdough starter you began the recipe with and put it in a ziplock bag or a small container with a lid. Keep it in the fridge until the next time you make rye bread. This way you don’t have to make the sourdough starter from scratch again.

Spray your loaf pans with oil. Divide the dough into the pans. Cover them and let them rise for 3-4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 395F and bake for 1.5 hours. Once they are done, remove them from the pans and let them cool on a rack.

And then you have super healthy Danish rye bread.

This may seem like a complicated and long process, but it doesn’t take as much time as it may seem especially after the first time of having to make the sourdough starter.  Day 1 and 2 of the rye bread recipe doesn’t take very long – you are only adding ingredients together. And day 3 takes as long as it would take you to bake other breads.  It is well worth the trouble to have yummy Danish rye bread as tasty and nutritious as from a Danish baker.

Top the rye bread with whatever topping you like. YUM.



About one and one eighth danish

My name is Signe and I am a Danish thirtysomething woman and pastor’s wife now living in Arizona. I’ve recently begun blogging about our life and lessons learned along the way.  Part of this journey has involved our growing desire to be healthy, which has led us to be more intentional about the products we use and the food that we eat – all while staying on a budget. I love to travel and explore the world around me, while trying to combine my Danish upbringing and identity with the culture I am now part of. I enjoy spending time with people and especially my family wherever they may be around the world and of course my wonderful and amazing husband.   My blog is called one and one eighth danish which can be found at ourcarlsonlife.blogspot.com

Grain Mill Wagon Experience: I really enjoyed being part of the Grain Mill Wagon Challenge. I had been wanting to mill my own flour for a while and the WonderMill allowed me to get started on baking nutrition packed breads and desserts. It was fun getting to revive old recipes and make them better. It was easy to substitute the fresh whole wheat flour in my original recipes and it didn’t change the taste much and they are now full of bran and nutrition. I was surprised at how easy and quick it was to mill my own grains. I have also found that milling my own flour (especially if making gluten free breads etc) is cheaper than buying the pre-ground specialty flours. The Grain Mill Wagon Challenge has given me a renewed excitement to bake and I feel good about eating and serving what I have made.

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2 Responses to Danish Rye Bread

  1. Luke says:

    Hi there
    Thanks for the recipe. Could you tell me how much starter to use for this recipe if I already have a starter going? Thanks!

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