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Vintage Rye Bread Recipe

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  • 2 1/2 Cups (lukewarm) Water
  • 1 Package Yeast
  • 2 Cups Course Rye Meal
  • 4 Cups Bread Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons, melted Shortening

Rye Bread

A vintage rye bread recipe perfect for a slice of Swiss cheese and some German mustard.

6 - 8 hours


This classic rye bread recipe is a bit of a project but well worth the effort!

Rye Bread Ingredients

This is my grandma’s vintage, German Rye Bread Recipe and it’s definitely a project that is well worth the effort! Grandma got this recipe from her friend Mary Petersen and it was a staple of her kitchen ever since. Bread making is not the easiest thing so I have noted this recipe as being “hard,” but with following instructions carefully, anyone should be able to make a great loaf of bread. And you HAVE to try a slice the day it’s baked with some good ground mustard and a slice of Swiss cheese – the best!

One of the biggest challenges you’ll have is to find the Coarse Rye Meal – I bought some here ( and what I got was definitely COARSE as you can see the kernels of rye in the photo above. I tried baking the bread according to the recipe with the rye “as-is” and that didn’t work. After that, I then learned that “Coarse Rye Meal” has two different meanings and what I ordered wasn’t what I needed.

After consulting with Grandma (she confirmed it wasn’t) we decided to try processing the course rye meal that I had in the food processor. That worked a bit, but didn’t quite break up the kernels enough. Next, I then tried pulsing them in a spice grinder (or a coffee grinder) and that worked pretty well! I still think it’d be better to find the right grind. After researching a bit, I found a lot of information on grinds of rye on this page: and I think what you’re looking for is something close to the bottom right of the top photo (fine rye meal). Good luck! LOL

As always, I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it as much as I do. If you do give it a shot, please share your picture with me on Instagram (@bdhbakes) or let us know in the comments below!

Rye Bread Recipe 1

Rye Bread Recipe 2


  • Dissolve Yeast 

    Dissolve the package of yeast in the 2 1/2 Cups lukewarm water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until the mixture is frothy.

    Rye Bread Yeast Mixture
  • Combine Dry Ingredients 

    Add Rye, Flour and salt and whisk to combine.

    Rye Bread Course Rye
    Rye Bread Dry Ingredients
  • Add Wet Ingredients 

    Add the Molasses, Shortening and Yeast mixture.

    Rye Bread Add Molasses
    Rye Bread Add Water
  • Stir to Combine 

    Mix all ingredients well and let sit for 5 minutes.

    Rye Bread Mix Well
  • First Knead  

    After the five minute rest, knead the bread for 12 minutes. Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp towel and allow to double in size.

    Rye Bread Put In Bowl
    Rye Bread Cover
    Rye Bread Risen Dough
  • Second Knead & Rise 

    Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and tip it out onto your work area. Knead again for 5 minutes and put it back into the greased bowl. Cover once more and allow to double in size again.

    Rye Bread Second Knead
    Rye Bread Kneaded
    Rye Bread Second Rise
  • Prep Pans 

    While the dough is rising, get out your bread pans and spray with cooking spray. If you have parchment paper on hand, cut a strip and line the bottom of the pans so that edges of the parchment paper comes up and over the sides. This creates an easy to use "handle" to help pull the loaves out of the tins later.

    Rye Bread Prepared Tins
  • Shape Dough 

    Once the dough has doubled in size after its second rise, tip it out once again onto your workspace. Shape the dough into two even size loaves and put in the baking pans. Cover and allow to rise again. Preheat the oven to 350º.

    Rye Bread Shape
    Rye Bread Risen in Pans
  • Bake 

    Once the dough has doubled in size in the bread pans it is ready to bake. Bake the pans in the preheated over for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the heat down on the over to 325º and cook for another 30 minutes. Bread should read about 195º - 210º on an instant read thermometer. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans. Cool completely on a wire rack.

    Rye Bread Final Rise
    Rye Bread Baked



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