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Light Rye Sourdough Boule With Caraway Seeds

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Rye can be a tricky and sticky flour to work with.

Here I’ve paired traditional rye flour and classic caraway with protein-rich bread flour and a little whole wheat to give you a light and lofty loaf that is exceptionally easy to work with. If you are new to working with rye flour and you want to make the perfect light rye sourdough boule, then this is the place to start!

A collage of loaves of bread with text overlay.

Caraway, a Classic Bread Spice

Caraway seeds have a sweet and spicy flavor and an interesting cultural and culinary history. They have been used in bread for centuries and as a flavoring for sweet or savory cuisine. To get the most from your caraway seeds make sure to toast them lightly in a hot dry frying pan. Remove the seeds from the pan when they become fragrant and let them cool before adding them to your recipes.

A cut loaf showing the soft and fluffy crumb.

My light rye sourdough boule is a perfect bread for toasting and buttering or holding the irresistible Reuben ingredients — hot corned beef, tangy sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and melty Swiss cheese!

Before you get into this recipe, make sure you are prepared.

Start with my in-depth sourdough guide, Demystifying Sourdough. In this guide you will learn about the history of sourdough, the health benefits of baking with sourdough, popular terminology, my tool recommendations, and how to start your own starter from scratch.

Next, get that starter in tip-top shape by following my feeding directions in How To Feed Your Sourdough Starter for Successful Baking.

And finally, learn how to ferment and shape the perfect sourdough boule by watching the video in my recipe How To Bake the Perfect Sourdough Boule in Your Dutch Oven.

A loaf of sourdough rye bread.

Now the only thing left to do is get the recipe for this delicious light rye sourdough boule!

A finished sourdough boule with text overlay.

A soft a fluffy crumb makes this Light Rye Sourdough a wonderful bread for toasting or sandwiches!

Light Rye Sourdough Boule With Caraway

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This sourdough rye bread is light and fluffy with the classic sourdough tang and chew! 



  1. In a large glass or ceramic bowl mix all the ingredients into a shaggy dough. Let the dough rest for a minute or two.
  2. Start the stretch and fold process using a dough whisk or wet hands. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes between each stretch and fold. 
  3. Stretch the dough at least five times to build up gluten. 
  4. Cover the bowl and let the dough ferment at room temperature (65 to 70℉) overnight (8 to 12 hours) or until at least doubled. I like to let the dough ferment overnight to help break down the whole grain and hard-to-digest proteins.
  5. After the initial fermentation, the dough should be filled with gas and at least doubled if not tripled in the bowl. Using the same stretch and fold technique, deflate the dough in the bowl doing a loose "preshape." Set the dough aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before shaping.
  6. Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out on the flour. Shape the dough into a nice tight boule as demonstrated in this video. Let the dough rest seam side down on the board.
  7. Place the dough seam side up in a floured banneton for the second rise. Cover the dough and let it double. This step can be done either at room temperature for a quicker turn around or the dough can be retarded in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours for future baking.
  8. Once you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 450°F with a covered Dutch oven inside. Alternatively you can bake on a baking stone or in an open cast-iron pan. 
  9. Cut a piece of parchment that will overhang the circumference of the boule. Turn the shaped and proofed dough out onto the parchment. Score the dough and place it in the hot Dutch oven with the lid on.
  10. Bake covered for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking for 15 more minutes. 
  11. Remove the boule from the oven and let it cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing. 

Looking for More Rye Recipes?

Try my Dark Rye Sourdough Bread With Molasses and Caraway!

A basket and platter with two little loaves of dark sourdough rye bread.


Karen Cook

Saturday 3rd of July 2021

Hi Courtney Another delicious recipe! I have made it twice now & I struggled to shape it because my dough was very sticky. Also it was quite flat. However in my 2 yr sourdough ‘journey’ I am perfectly happy with odd shapes as long as it tastes great. Rye flour is tricky but worth persevering with I feel. Thank you so much for all of your recipes. The Dark Rye bread is very popular with my family. Going to try the Kamut loaf next. Best wishes from Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Karen

Butter For All

Monday 5th of July 2021

Hi Karen!

Wonderful, I'm so happy you love the taste! And yes, I agree, rye is super tricky because it's so sticky. Don't be afraid to use a generous amount of flour on your work surface, and try to build as much tension during shaping as possible. I'm wanting to do more videos, so maybe I can demonstrate the shaping process of this dough!

I think you will love the Kamut. That is a VERY easy dough to handle!

Best to you and your family,



Thursday 15th of April 2021

If retarded in the fridge overnight, can the dough go directly into preheated Dutch oven without being brought to room temperature first? Might the cooking time need extended while covered in this instance?

Butter For All

Monday 19th of April 2021

Hi Jan,

If the bread is complete proofed out of the fridge then the baking time adjustment should be negligible. Maybe and extra 5 min at the max.

Hope you enjoy the recipe!

Chuck Panarella

Saturday 23rd of January 2021

The bread tasted really good. The loaf was heavy and the crumb a little dense. When I add dried onion, caraway seeds and dill so I need more water? Thanks, Chuck

Margie Jones Hodges

Tuesday 8th of December 2020

I meant to say, should I have added more water....thanks

Margie Jones Hodges

Tuesday 8th of December 2020

I really wanted this to work, but nothing came together! I weighed everything exactly but after mixing my initial dough it was so heavy and dry. The inital stretch and those that came after were like stretching playdo. I have no idea what went wrong. It did rise and quite a bit, but the baked loaf was dense, no holes. I weighed it, heavy! Should I have added more flour? My starter was in great shape and I also made a basic sourdough loaf after that turned out great. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you

Butter For All

Wednesday 9th of December 2020

Hi Margie!

I'm so sorry to hear it. Rye flour can be so tricky, and with sourdough there is ALWAYS the possibility that you will need to adjust flour or water depending on environmental factors, flour quality, or starter hydration.

If the dough was dry, then definitely follow your instinct and add more water until you get the right "feel". The ingredients add up to 2.6 pounds so I wonder if some water was mistakingly left out? You also want to make sure the bread has doubled on the second rise after shaping, that is the most crucial time to watch it closely so you bake it at the right time. Over or under proofed bread will be more dense.

Thanks for leaving your feedback! I really hope you will try it again!


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