Dark danish rye bread

Dark danish rye bread

The Green Kitchen
Johanna Frenkel

We knew from the minute we started testing recipes for this book that we wanted to include Danish rye bread. Like all Danish families, we often have a dark loaf at home. We have experimented with at least 10 different ways of doing this quicker, but it always affects the quality and flavour. Baking Danish rye bread is, and will always be, a 24-hour project. But it is worth it. It is full of flavour, has a fantastic thick but moist texture, and keeps you nourished for hours. Top it with our crunchy curried egg salad and you have yourself a classic Danish smørrebrød.


Quantity Ingredient
190g whole rye grains
60g sunflower seeds
500ml boiling water
250ml plain yoghurt, at room temperature
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
125g dried cranberries, for flavouring (optional)
5 tablespoons carob powder, (or cacao powder)
4 teaspoons fast-action dried yeast
400g whole rye flour
150g whole spelt flour
60g light spelt flour


  1. Place the rye grains and sunflower seeds in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes, then add the yoghurt, honey, sea salt, fennel seeds, cranberries and carob powder and stir with a wooden spoon. Use your finger to test the temperature of the mixture – it should be just warm.
  2. Stir in the yeast. Then add rye flour and stir until you have a smooth batter. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave for 1 hour at room temperature, until the dough is slightly bubbly. Gradually add in enough of the spelt flour to form a dough. Turn out onto a floured work surface. Knead for about 5 minutes, adding the remaining spelt flour until it is firmer, but still slightly sticky and quite heavy. Form it into a ball and return to the bowl. Slap some water on the top with your hands. Cover with clingfilm and chill for 8–10 hours, or overnight.
  3. Place the dough into a 1 kg oiled loaf tin and press down with your fists to get rid of any air pockets. The dough should be quite sticky. Brush the top with water and dust it with rye flour. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise slightly for 2 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake the loaf on the lowest shelf for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and leave the loaf in the oven for a further 15 minutes. Remove from the tin and leave to cool on an wire rack for at least 4 hours. This is important to allow the bread to set, which makes it easier to cut. Keep for about one week.
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