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Deli style rye bread

Updated: Wed, 15 March, 2023

Light rye bread, deli style which means it’s divine for sandwiches and makes wicked toast. All made within a few hours.

deli style rye bread

Why are best ryes sourdough?

Rye breads with a high percentage of rye flour are commonly leavened with a sourdough starter, rather than yeast.

Rye contains far less gluten than wheat and so it refuses to expand as much, the lazy sod that it is. Rye dough will not rise high and proud, forming gluten steeples inside the crust but prefers to sprawl and spread, and just chill while producing lots of sugars.

In order to give it a kick up the backside and make it work to resemble a proper loaf, we usually sour it. It truly does like to ferment a lot, what with all the sugars it produces.

So in order to make one of those proper, East or North European rye breads with a considerable content of rye flour, you need to go for sourdough. I’ve learnt a lot about rye breads from the enlightening rye notes on The Fresh Loaf.

simple rye and wheat bread

Semi-rye, full taste

This bread, however, isn’t full-on rye. I call it rye, deli style, but in fact it only has a relatively small addition of rye flour, for the taste.

And so it rises quite nicely on baker’s yeast and it’s friendlier towards those baking newbies who are a bit scared of sour starters.

It makes the most beautiful cold beef sandwiches and toasts like heaven. And don’t skip the glaze – crusty, salty and glossy.

deli style loaf

Making the dough

This is a one-day bread, mixed, proofed and baked all within a few hours.

You can mix the dough by hand, using a wooden spoon or in a standing mixer, but once you obtain shaggy dough with no dry flour discernible, let it stand for twenty minutes to hydrate.

After that time knead as usual, by hand or machine. It aims to be smooth and elastic, bouncy and springy, and not sticky.

Rising in bulk, in a bowl, should take about one to one and a half hours in a warm corner of the kitchen, to double in size.

rye dough

Shaping the loaf

You can bake this bread in a large loaf tin but it will hold its shape just as well when baked on a tray, lined with parchment in anticipation of the messy glazing post-baking.

If you have your tested loaf shaping method, go for it.

Otherwise a simple way is to fold the flattened dough in half lengthwise, fold over corners like ears, then give it a half-turn and do the same on the other side. When folded in half and sealed, the outside of the dough will be taut and smooth.

The second rise of the shaped loaf should take about forty minutes.

risen loaf

Baking and glazing

This bread bakes in an oven preheated to maximum, then gradually cooling to moderately hot.

Shiny and salty cornflour glaze is the finishing touch: messy to apply but satisfying. And the extra sprinkling of coarse sea salt and caraway seeds is what makes the bread.

An occasional salty crunch stuck to the glossy crust is a quiet, simple pleasure in a buttered slice of freshly baked bread.

deli rye bread

More rye bread recipes

Black treacle rye bread with seeds, sultanas, barley and oats is rustic and easy to make. A gorgeous, knobbly loaf from Nigel Slater's recipe.

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.

Malt vinegar rye bread with coriander and caraway seeds, nearly as exquisitely tasty as rye sourdough which it pretends to be, with a fraction of the toil.

More easy bread recipes

This is an easy recipe for pita bread. It's called pita or pitta, depending on the geolocation. Reasonably healthy, especially if you mix in some wholemeal flour, but of course it all depends on what you fill it with.

Wholemeal seeded bloomer made with a mix of white and whole wheat flour and plenty of seeds. Jim Lahey's no knead bread recipe is adapted here to make a seeded bloomer.

Light granary bread made with half and half malthouse (malted grain) flour and white bread flour. Commonly known as the bread 'with bits', it's as tasty as it's healthy.

deli style rye loaf

Deli style rye bread

Servings: makes 1 loafTime: 4 hours
Rating: (2 reviews)


  • 310g (2 cups) strong bread flour
  • 155g (1 cup) light rye flour
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 10g fresh or 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 300ml (1¼ cup) warm water
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp groundnut or sunflower oil
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 250ml (1 cup) water
  • coarse salt
  • extra pinch of caraway seeds


1. Place the flours, caraway seeds, salt and yeast in a large bowl or in the bowl of a standing mixer. Stir the oil and honey into the water and pour into the flour mix. Mix it into rough dough using the mixer’s dough hook attachment or a large wooden spoon. Leave the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

2. Now knead the dough with the mixer dough hook at medium speed or by hand on a floured surface until it’s smooth and elastic, clears the sides of the bowl or stops sticking to your hands. Leave it in a covered bowl to prove in a warm place for 1-1 ½ hour until doubled in size.

3. Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/gas 8. Line a large baking tray with parchment or foil and sprinkle it lightly with flour.

4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Pat it gently into a 20cm or so square.  Fold the top half to the centre, then fold its corners on top, like ears. Turn the dough round 180 degrees and do the same with the other side. Now fold in half stretching the outer surface and seal the seam. Place the loaf, seam side down, on the prepared tray. Cover with oiled cling film and prove for 30-40 minutes.

5. When it’s appreciably risen, make 3 slashes across the top and transfer into the oven. Immediately turn the heat down to 190C/375F/gas 5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

6. In the meantime make the glaze: in a small pan dissolve the cornflour in the water. Bring it to the boil and simmer until it thickens and becomes clear.

7. Remove the bread from the oven onto a wire rack, with the parchment, so that you don’t make a mess, and immediately brush with the glaze all over the top and sides. Sprinkle with salt crystals and extra caraway. Let it cool completely before slicing.

Originally published: Fri, 7 April, 2017

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Your comments

Anna @ CuisineFiend
You are very right. Often people just lack confidence to adapt recipes to their liking.
2 years ago
Far too many people today believe recipes are ABSOLUTE RULES and do not know they are just guidelines! I do not eat hot spicy foods, so I just omit them, but today, many don't realize it is OK to do that.
2 years ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Cynetta - I completely agree with you about caraway but most people are not that keen!
2 years ago
4 Tbsp of caraway seeds is far more appropriate for this amount of flour and not the measly 2 tsp in the recipe Pretzel salt is an interesting idea I'll try next time I bake rye bread!
2 years ago

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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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