Dark rye bread is a very important part of the Danish kitchen. We call it rugbrød and have used it for making open-face sandwiches for more than 150 years. Now, thanks to the New Nordisk Kitchen movement in Denmark, it has become a trendy and exciting ingredient.in more ways than ever. This bread can be toasted and served as an accompaniment to main dishes and soups, cut into croutons and baked in the oven and served in salads. It can be cut into chips, brushed with oil or bacon fat with a pinch of sea salt, baked in the oven and served as a snack. It can be used in desserts. There will be more abour these recipes later.

It may be difficult to find in the market and should not be confused with German Pumernickel which is darker in color and stronger in taste.  It is however, not difficult to bake Danish rye bead in your own home. It does take a lot of planning because it should be made over serveral days.


If you are lucky enough to live near a Whole Food Store, Danish rye flour can be bought there. If not, you can order it from Bob’s Red Mill www.bobsredmill.com and they will send it with UPS. Trader Joes and other local health food stores may have it.


Rye bread made with only rye flour will not form gluten. Gluten is the elastic in bread that gives light and airy bread. This bread will be very compact, and that is how it should be. If you think the bread should be lighter, add some wheat flour.

This bread is made with Danish products and the results may not be the same elsewhere. Just keep trying with a little more or less flour. This bread is a must for danish cooking and tastes wonderful. So keep trying until you get it just right.


Always take a lump of each time you make this bread and put it in a clean container, cover with a lid or plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. This way you will always have a starter for the next bread you make. The starter will stay fresh for 3 weeks. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Be sure to take it out one or two days ahead of time and thaw it up in the refrigerator. After the starter is thawed, it should be left at least one day, before being used.


Danish Dark Rye Bread

sourdough starter:

½ cup water

½ oz. approx. (one package) of acitve dry yeast

1½ cups rye flour

1 cup plain yoghurt or buttermilk

1 tsp. salt


sourdough starter

1½ pints water

1 3/4 lb. rye flour

1 tbsp. salt

melted butter

To make the sourdough starter, heat the water to 110°F and remove from heat. Sprinkle yeast over water, stir and let stir for 10 minutes. Add yoghurt or buttermilk, flour and salt in a bowl. Stir until ingredients are incorporated. It will resemble mud. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for three days.

To make the rye bread, dilute sourdough starter with water. Add rye flour and salt. Cover with a dish towel and let dough rest in a warm place until the next day.

The next day, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Remove approx. 1 cup dough as a starter for the next bread.

To bake the bread, brush a 2 quart loaf tin with melted butter. Place dough in tin, cover with a clean dish towel and let rise 4 hours in a warm place. Place bread in a cold oven. Set the temerature to 350°F and bake for 1½ to 2 hours.

When done, wrap bread in a clean dish towel and cool on a baking rack. It is best, not to cut the bread until the next day.




  1. April Carter says:

    I just got back from Denmark and wanted to make this yummy bread. But how much flour do I put into the sourdough starter. It doesn’t say ? Please help …thank you

    • Lynn Andersen says:

      Hi April, Sorry I took so long to answer your mail. I just back from visiting the States. The amount missing in the sourdough starter is 1½ cups or 12 oz. rye flour. Thanks for calling my attention to my mistake.

  2. Pepi says:

    mamma che fame! (I had to say it in Italian because it betetr transmits immediacy :D)Do you know that one of the most known and oldest typical recipes of my hometown is meatballs just like these? The only difference is that women use to put them in tomato sauce “ragout” and put them on pasta on Sunday lunches. With tons of grated parmesan cheese on top! 🙂

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