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How to Make Rye Bread

How to describe the unique flavour or rye bread? It’s earthy and malty with distinctly sharp notes. Rye bread’s complex flavour combinations might seem hard to make but, believe it or not, any home baker can make it happen. 

This article, packed with tips and tricks, will help you whip up a homemade loaf of crusty, delicious rye. All you need is a recipe and your KitchenAid® Stand Mixer equipped with the right accessories.


You might think of rye bread as the bookends to your favourite deli sandwich, but it’s so much more!

Essentially, rye bread is a yeasted loaf that comes together thanks to the marriage of rye grain flour and all-purpose flour or bread flour. It can be made with a wide range of rye flours plus various additives that can make a loaf lighter or darker. 

What’s important to note is that rye flour features a bolder flavour and a higher fibre content than most bread flour. Lastly, remember, that the more rye you use, the denser your bread will turn out.

A person in a purple checkered shirt and apron slices rye bread on a counter. On the same cutting board as the bread is a stick of butter in a clear container.


The flavour of rye bread really stands out from other popular bread types. Its earthy flavour has depth and some might taste a bittersweet nuttiness. 

The key is caraway seeds, which lend a sharpness that hints at licorice, mixed with rye flour that tempers it with a malty base. The great thing is that you can fine-tune this flavour simply by adjusting the number of caraway seeds you use. Other ways to adjust the flavour are by trying out different rye flours or testing various rye to bread flour ratios.

If you want to achieve more colour on a loaf and a smoky flavour profile, try substituting molasses for sugar. The trick is that the correct ingredients typically come down to your tastes, and there are several methods you can use to tailor a recipe to create the type of rye bread you want.


 A man slices a rye bread on a cutting board on a counter. On the counter is a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, a stick of butter and a jar of honey. In the background is another rye bread on a cutting board, two cutting boards leaning against the wall and a dish cloth.

The three basic types of rye bread are:

  • Light
  • Medium
  • Dark

There’s also pumpernickel, a rye bread that utilizes whole rye grain flour, the strongest and densest of all the types. You can also make marbled rye, a perfect combo of light and dark rye bread. The difference mostly comes down to the type of rye flour used for baking


American rye bread is usually made with a mixture of wheat and rye flour.

Let’s take a closer look at the different rye bread varieties!

 a rye bread on a cutting board with two slices removed and in front.

Light Rye Bread:
This type of rye bread uses flour derived from the starchy endosperm of the rye grain. There is no husk or bran, which gives light rye flour a subtler—and slightly sweet taste—not to mention that lighter colour and texture that many rye bread fans crave. As for taste, light rye bread is pretty close to wheat bread.

Dark Rye Bread:
This type uses flour with whole rye grain kernels. Dark rye bread has, you guessed it, the darkest colour, strongest flavour and densest texture. It’s not nearly as strong or thick as pumpernickel, but dark rye bread shares some similar characteristics to rye, notably those malty and earthy flavours. You’ll notice that many dark rye bread recipes require ingredients like molasses, cocoa powder or even instant coffee to add colour or provide greater depth.

Medium Rye Bread:
This one combines two flours, medium rye bread flour with mostly endosperm and a bit of husk and bran. If you go for marbled rye, you can expect a similar taste as it’s a mix of light and dark.


According to the USDA FoodData Central, rye bread has more fibre than a typical serving of wheat or white bread. Furthermore, it also has a higher content of certain vitamins and minerals like magnesium than white bread.

Sure, there’s nutrition, which is always good, but rye bread offers a few other benefits, including its ability  easily transform with the simple addition or omission of certain other ingredients. 

Rye typically pairs well with sweet ingredients, like fruit, but it can also work with savoury food like leeks.

 someone in a polka dot apron uses a measuring spoon to pour a dry ingredient into a bowl.


A recipe for basic rye bread lets you play with flavour combinations and have some real fun in the kitchen. 

If you have a sweet tooth, try chocolate and dried fruit, nuts and seeds for that crunchy texture. Of course, you can always enjoy a rustic loaf with just some creamy butter.

Check out these common ingredients. This way, you’ll know what to have on hand so that you’re not scrambling when that rye craving hits.


  • Butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Yeast
  • Sugar
  • Egg
  • Salt
  • Milk
  • Rye Flour
  • Caraway seeds (optional)
  • Vegetable oil

Luckily, most of these are already kitchen staples and easy to store.


If you want to make your version of rye bread, these kitchen tools will be your best friends


  • Spoon or mixing accessory
  • Mixing bowl
  • Bakeware
  • Measuring cups or scale
  • Proofing bowl with cover
  • Parchment paper
On a counter is a pink KitchenAid Stand Mixer with dough in its bowl. Also on the counter are measuring cups, including one with flour and one with water, a container of oil, a container of flour and a plant. Some flour dusts the counter.


Simplify the entire process (and make it a bit less messy too) with a stand mixer and certain accessories. Review these tools from KitchenAid brand that are designed to help you bake like a pro.

Stand Mixer:
A stand mixer with a dough hook is a must. It delivers quick, efficient and thorough kneading, especially when compared to doing it by hand. Select from tilt-head stand mixers or bowl-lift models, both of which are designed to produce multiple batches. Learn more about making bread with a stand mixer.

Bread Bowl with Baking Lid:
The KitchenAid® Bread Bowl works perfectly with select KitchenAid® Tilt-Head Stand Mixers, letting you mix, knead, proof and even bake in the same bowl.

Sifter + Scale Attachment:
This stand mixer attachment is a marvel. It weighs and then adds dry ingredients to a mixer bowl, so you can bake with precision using the right amount of ingredients.


 Inside the bowl of a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, water is being added to dry ingredients

To make rye bread, combine yeast, sugar, eggs, melted butter and milk. The sugar activates the yeast, meaning you should let the mixture sit for a few minutes. During this time, the yeast will have a chance to bloom. Next, add the remaining ingredients before mixing and then kneading your dough.

Yeasted loaves of bread, like homemade rye bread, must be proofed for at least an hour. The next step is to carefully and gently knead it one more time, shaping it before you put it on your bakeware and then bake based on what your recipe recommends. If you’re attempting a non-traditional loaf, refer to your recipe instructions for when to add your special ingredients. 

Take a look at this overview of a chocolate cherry rye bread recipe that is sure to please your dinner guests. This recipe uses a KitchenAid® Stand Mixer and the Bread Bowl accessory.


Before your start making your rye bread, get your equipment and ingredients ready to go. You should fill the KitchenAid® Bread Bowl accessory with hot water, then empty it and make sure it’s dry. This can help create the warm environment needed to encourage the yeast to achieve that desirable bloom.


Now it’s time to add all the ingredients, minus the cherries and chocolate, and whisk it to combine.

Ready for the easy part? Set your stand mixer to speed 2 and then stand back as the mixer does the heavy lifting. After only 30 seconds, you can add the dried cherries and chocolate. You need to continue kneading. Once the dough starts slapping the side of the bowl, you can move on to the next step.


Take the Bread Bowl accessory out of the stand mixer and cover it with the baking lid. Keep your dough in a warm place while it rises and let it proof for about 1 ½ -2 hours.


Knead the dough on a floured surface as gently as you can. Once you’re done, shape it into a mound. Put the mound into the Bread Bowl and cover it with the lid. 

You need to proof it once more for 30 minutes before you bake it. We suggest preheating your oven according to the recipe settin


Turn over the bowl so that the loaf is on the baking lid and then bake. Remember to precisely follow the instructions provided in the recipe you’re using.


 On a counter, someone unveils a rye bread. Next to the bread is a cutting board with a knife on top.

Don’t be intimidated to make rye bread at home. To make a loaf your family will love, just use these tips and tricks:

  • Always weigh your flour: Weighing will always be more accurate than measuring volume. 
  • Careful not to over-knead: We can’t stress this enough, you must knead based on the kneading time in the recipe. If you’re adjusting a recipe for stand mixer use, you should knead the dough for 1-3 minutes or until the dough starts to pull off the sides of the bowl. 
  • Never overhandle the dough: If you knead or handle the dough too much, it can turn tough and result in a denser bread. You should try using the KitchenAid® Bread Bowl with Baking Lid to mix, knead, proof and bake in the same bowl and avoid having to transfer and handle the dough too many times.
  • If you want sweet, don’t use caraway seeds: Caraway seeds might be found in a typical rye bread recipe, but if you’re going for sweetness you want to avoid it as it will overpower most of the other flavours.
  • Always line the bakeware with parchment paper: You should use parchment paper to line your bakeware. This will prevent sticking and makes cleanup easier.
  • Wait to slice until the bread slightly cools: Let your bread cool so that it firms up. You want it to set before slicing it.


There’s nothing like rye bread fresh out of the oven. You want to dig in right away and enjoy your bread the same day you bake it. 

If you can’t immediately enjoy your rye bread for some reason, make sure you store it at room temperature in a paper bag or a bread box for a few days. If you wait to slice it, or are making rye bread a few days in advance of an event, you can freeze it by placing it in an airtight container. Heat it in the oven or a toaster to restore that rye bread goodness.


 Someone scrapes dough out of a stand mixer bowl. Next to them is a pink KitchenAid Stand Mixer and a plant.

Rye flour is the secret to adding fibre and unique flavour notes to a bunch of recipes. Use dark rye flour for that pumpernickel bread recipe. Another option is to exchange light or medium rye flour in certain bread recipes like sourdough bread or honey wheat bread with oats. Or you can put a sweet twist on rye bread with a batch of decadent rye chocolate brownies or fluffy lemon ricotta rye pancakes. If you’re using rye in sweet creations, remember to opt for light rye flour or fine ground dark varieties that can incorporate more thoroughly into delicate batters.


The KitchenAid® Bread Bowl with Baking Lid is the perfect companion for the KitchenAid® Stand Mixer to make homemade bread. It allows you to mix, knead, proof and bake in one bowl. It’s efficient and convenient!

This inventive accessory has a lid that traps steam when baking, creating the ideal environment found in a traditional steam oven. The ceramic bowl design is adept at retaining and delivering even heat during the baking process, resulting in a crispy crust. 

Explore your inner baker by making rye bread at home. With your newfound skills, you can make artisan-level bread like brioche, cranberry oat walnut and more. 

Shop for essential bread-making tools from KitchenAid and browse all available stand mixer attachments.