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Treacle rye bread

Updated: Thu, 24 November, 2022

Lumpy and knobbly, painted black with treacle, studded with sultanas and encrusted with barley, oats and seeds, this is a very easy and a very endearing loaf of bread.

treacle rye bread

Rye here, rye now

Rye breads are lovely, they keep well and slice even better. Their only fault is that you can’t slice them warm.

You get this lovely loaf out of the oven, looking brilliant as they tend to crack less than their wheat brothers, tempting like anything - but no, you gotta wait! Quite like a Victorian fiancée: wait till the wedding night.

Fortunately, with the rye bread it’s only a day’s wait.

It's fully worth the wait though. Did I mention rye bread is an angel to slice thinly? And it’s by no means just lox or pastrami you want to have with it: try simply butter and honey. Try anything, in fact.

linseed and rye rustic bread

New Year's Day loaf

This loaf isn’t gluten free but can easily be if you swap the white bread flour for white spelt, in which case possibly replace dark rye with light, so the texture isn’t too ‘short’. Alternatively, use a gluten free bread flour mix.

Either way, it is a feast not only for the taste buds but for the gut too, with the wholegrains and the seeds in the content.

linseed and pumpkin

This bread was the first thing Nigel Slater baked in the New Year 2017, and I soon followed suit.

I did add the shaping stage though since Nigel’s nonchalant ‘transfer it to the (…) baking stone (…), reshaping it into a round loaf as you go’ sounded slightly alarming. Shaping will also make it look neater though alas! not as rustic.

rye bread with sultanas and seeds

How to make the treacle rye dough?

This is the bread dough that is made like cake batter. You can use your standing mixer with a dough hook attachment if you like, but it’s not really needed. A wooden spoon will suffice since, as Nigel admits, the dough it too sticky to work with your hands.

The flour mix is half and half, dark rye flour and strong white bread flour. It is ideal to ensure the loaf has the rye-ish darkness and lovely stodginess in it, bit isn’t quite like a lump of mudcake.

The barley flakes rolled oats and the multitude of seeds make for a beautiful texture – it’s pretty too, not just good for the gut.

The mix of flours, flakes and salt in a bowl, the treacle dissolved in warm water with added yeast in another, you simply mix the wet ingredients into the dry ones, like in a cake.

Adding all the seeds makes the stirring/working the dough a bit harder but just do your best – Nigel thinks this is virtually a no knead bread, so there.

treacle bread dough

Proving, baking, eating

After an hour in a warm place, the dough will significantly expand. I do believe it needs to be shaped now, just roughly, and placed in a floured basket for half an hour.

As I said above – the ‘shaping as you go’ does sound like a recipe for a disaster. If you shape it and then turn it out onto a baking stone or a heavy baking sheet, it will be less lumpy and easier to slice too.

I agree with Nigel though that it ‘keeps like an old friend’. Store it in a linen or cotton bread bag – I recommend – or a plastic bag for a week and it will just need to be sliced a little thinner as days go by.

Possibly lightly toasted in the end of days, thickly buttered each day, it is a real delight.

treacle bread

More rye recipes

Not just bread: Mokonuts’ cranberry, chocolate and rye cookies are a revelation. If you thought you knew all there was to know about cookies – you were wrong.

Scalded rye and honey loaf with a hint of cinnamon. Scalding flour works as dough enhancer, softening the crumb and prolonging the life of a loaf.

Rye crispbread, Swedish knäckebröd style thins, full of flavour and quite easy to make. Inspired by Nigel Slater’s recipe, mine is twice baked to make it crunchy but not burnt.

More seeded baking recipes

Seed crackers are a crunchy, cracking snack; mixed seeds baked to a crispy sheet, then broken into shards to crumble over your salad or to pair with a chunk of cheese for a moreish bite.

Soft and airy but full of wholemeal goodness, brown seeded bread rolls with molasses make me ponder on the dinner rolls conundrum: is one ever enough?

Light seeded rye bread, easy to bake in an afternoon, best on the next day and fantastically good for gut health. It goes with cream cheese or fish pate, or just a lick of butter and honey.

nigel slaters treacle rye bread

treacle rye bread

Servings: makes 1 loafTime: 2 hours 40 minutes


  • 200g dark rye flour
  • 200g strong white bread flour
  • 50g barley flakes
  • 40g jumbo rolled oats
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 350ml warm water
  • 15g fresh (or 1 tsp instant) yeast
  • 35g pumpkin seeds
  • 25g sunflower seeds
  • 30g golden linseed
  • 60g sultanas
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds


1. Mix the flours, the barley flakes and oats with the salt in a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer.

2. In a jug, dissolve the treacle in the warm water and stir in the yeast. Pour that mixture into the flours and add the seeds and sultanas.

3. Mix to a sticky dough using a wooden spoon or the standing mixer with a dough hook attachment. The dough will be very sticky and lumpy, like making mud cakes.

4. Mix or knead for about 5 minutes until it comes together and feels a little less sticky. Leave it in the bowl in a warm place to prove for about an hour. During that time it should double in volume. 

5. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Flour your hands and a proving basket, banneton or a bowl lined with a linen cloth.

6. Shape the dough gently to a ball and drop it, seam side up, into the proving basket. Dust the surface with more flour, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to prove for 30 minutes.

7. Place a baking stone or a heavy baking sheet in the oven preheated to 220C/425F/gas 8. Let it heat up for at least 20 minutes.

8. Turn the dough out onto the stone/sheet in one swift move, slash across the top with a sharp knife and bake for 35-40 minutes until the crust is darkened and crisp.

9. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. Like most rye breads, this one gets tastier on the following day.

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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