Deli-Style Rye Bread for Beginners Recipe

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There is a relatively new method in baking bread that is becoming very popular. It is called cold fermentation. It allows one to bypass sponges, bigas, etc., as well as kneading. In basically a few minutes you can mix the dough, let it rise, then it goes into refrigeration for three days to develop the flavor. This makes it easy prep for novice bread bakers, and the delicious outcome is simply fantastic.

This bread is great for sandwiches, made into rolls for soup, stews, etc., but it is out of this world served warm with butter.

You will need to find a way to produce some steam in your oven the first 10 minutes of baking, which will produce a crispy crust.

Suggested equipment:

cornmeal or parchment paper
scissors or a very sharp knife
mixing bowls
baking sheet
spray bottle or pan with ice
cover for bowl
pastry brush
cookie or cooling rack

This is a very wet dough. Do not be tempted to add flour. It should be very sticky.

Makes 2 medium hand-crafted loaves, or one loaf pan, plus 6 rolls, or about 16 rolls.

Prep time:
Cook time:


  • 1 1/2 cup warm water (100 degrees or so)
  • 1/3 tbs. instant yeast
  • 1/2 tbs carraway seeds, plus more for the crust
  • 1/2 tbs. salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 2 3/4 cups bread or unbleached flour
  • 1/2 tbs extra virgin olive or other oil


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, add the yeast to the water.
  2. Stir in the flours, seeds, and the salt and mix well for 1 minute.
  3. Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes, stir once again.
  4. Oil the second bowl and scape out the dough using hands wet with water and a spoon. Shape it into a ball and place it in the second bowl. Cover and let rise 2 hours.
  5. Place the covered bowl in the fridge for 2-3 days.
  6. Generously flour a work area. Dip your hands in flour and remove the dough to the work area.
  7. Cut it in half, and using more flour on your hands,shape each half into a round (boule) or oval.
  8. Note: This bread will really expand in the first ten minutes of baking, If you want your loaves or rolls not to touch, make plenty of room between them. Count on the bread swelling 3-4 times its size going into the oven.
  9. Sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom of the baking pan , or use parchment, and heat your oven to 450 degrees for 20 minutes.
  10. Cut a half inch or deeper pattern into the top of the bread, such as a straight one, or three parallel slashes, which will allow the bread to expand properly in the oven.
  11. Mix the egg white with 1 tbs. water, brush it on top of the bread, and sprinkle on more caraway seeds.
  12. If you're going to use a pan underneath the bread on a lower rack and add ice for steam purposes, let the pan heat as the oven does, then just before baking, throw a couple of ice cubes in the pan,
  13. Place the pan in the oven and quickly close the door.
  14. If using spray bottle. wait 2 minutes, then open the door and mist the inside of the oven. Repeat several minutes later.
  15. Bake for 30 minutes, or until nicely browned, turning the pan at least once for even browning.


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  • Robyn Savoie
    Made a batch of this starting on Thursday 1/30/14, baked it today. See pictures above.
    Pros: Flavorful and moist. Chewy golden brown crust. Center came out moist.
    Cons: Center was chewy not soft. Didn't rise to form a good loaf. Dough was gooey start to finish.
    Would I make it again?...Maybe...only if someone has a better outcome with revisions/variation to improve it.
    I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
    1 reply
    • myra byanka
      February 18, 2014
      Hi, thanks for the feedback. I've made this recipe a half dozen times with great results. From looking at your pics, I could see the dough was very moist and would naturally expand too much and flatten out. Working with high moisture cold ferment breads can be tricky. I have learned that flours and types of waters can behave very differently according to weather, etc. If you try it again, use a bit less water, and liberally flour your hands and surfaces when shaping the dough. If you liked the flavor, minor adjustments can produce a better result. Whenever I have a super wet dough I don't think will rise in the oven properly, I just use a bread pan.


    • Robyn Savoie
      January 29, 2014
      I see you use an egg white wash, interested in seeing the end result. Traditional deli style rye use a cornstarch and water mixture. I can't wait to try this.
      • Shalina Silva
        December 6, 2013
        thanks for sharing this. would be helpful.

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