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Rye Sourdough Bread Recipe & Sourdough FAQ

sourdough bread

Hey there!

First of all, I hope you’re all staying at home and well, unless you have a job that is vital in today’s situation. Secondly, let’s start with something fun now: Sourdough baking!

I started to make sourdough at the beginning of last year. I’ve had a few trial and errors before succeeding, however, by now I have surely mastered the art of baking a beautiful loaf of sourdough.

On my Instagram I collected a bunch of frequently asked questions for this post which I am going to answer now. Further down, you’ll find my basic sourdough recipe. If any more questions arise, I will add them to the FAQ later on.



How do I make a starter?

So if you’d like to bake a sourdough right now and you do not have starter, I’d recommend going to your local bakery and asking them if they could give you some starter. They will very likely do that for free. However, if you want to start from scratch, check out Fooby‘s guide.

How long will it take for the starter to be ripe if I start from scratch?

I’d about 10 days. Some guides say it takes only 7 but I suggest going with more just to make sure it is really ready. It might also not grow for a few days and then start growing again at the beginning. That’s normal.

Can I use a different kind of flour than suggested in the recipe?

Yes you can, however, if you are using spelt you will need to adjust the amount of water, as spelt flour doesn’t absorb as much water. Also if you are baking sourdough for the first time, I’d highly recommend sticking to the recipe and when you feel like you have mastered sourdough baking, start experimenting. You’ll get a feel of how the dough should feel.

Can I use gluten-free flour?

I have no idea, to be honest. I’ve never tried it and also I am not gluten intolerant, hence I probably also won’t try it. Sorry.

Can I add nuts or seeds to the dough?

Yes, if you decide to add anything add them after the first 30 minutes rest, this way your add-ins will get incorporated to the dough through the folding process.

Where can I get a proofing basket in Zurich?

I got mine at Globus, but Sibler sells them too.

How do I shape a sourdough loaf?

Check out these videos:

Where do I bake my sourdough in? Can I also just bake it on a regular baking sheet?

I use a dutch oven (this one: and since I have one I have never tried it without, however, I’ve read that you can also bake it without a dutch oven by placing a ovensafe dish with water in the oven while baking. After 20 minutes take out the water and reduce heat to 230°C (source: Annabelle )

Is it normal that my starter smells bad?

Yes, my starter always smells really bad, sometimes it almost smells like nail varninsh remover. That’s normatl, however, if there’s any mould throw it out and start over.

At what temperature should I grow my starter?

Room temperature is fine. Usually the starter needs to be refed more frequently in summer as the heat makes it grow faster.

How do you transfer the dough from the proofing basket into the Dutch oven?

Just flip it right into the Dutch oven, if you added enough flour to the basket it should come out just fine.

Do you use any fancy settings on your oven?

No. I have a rather old kitchen, so I just use top and bottom heat and my bread always turns out great.


Rye Sourdough Bread
Prep time
24 hours
Cook time
45 mins
Total time
24 hours 45 mins
Author: Fanny Frey
Serves: 1 loaf

Levain: 30g starter 50g white flour 50g whole grain rye flour 100g water Main Dough: 325g water, lukewarm 250g whole grain rye flour 250g white flour 15g salt 25g water, lukewarm flour for dusting Utensils: dough scraper proofing basket (or bowl) kitchen machine ( I use my Kenwood) clean dish towel Dutch oven wax wrap (or aluminium foil)


Dough: : Mix all the ingredients for the Levain in a small bowl. Cover with wax wrap and let sit overnight. * Add levain in a large mixing bowl and add water. Quickly mix the water with the levain. Add flour and knead for one minute on low. Cover with wax wrap for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes mix salt and the remaining water and add to the dough. Knead on low for 5 minutes. Cover with wax wrap. Folding: : After 30 minutes fold the dough with a dough scraper form each side to its opposite. Cover for another 30 minutes, fold again. Repeat this process 5 times in total. Meanwhil flour proofing basket (if you like, place a towel in the proofing basket and flour the towel. ) Shaping and Proofing: Place the dough on a floured surface. Flatten slightly and fold opposite ends into the middle. Tuck together and turn upside down so it can rest seam-side-down for 5 minutes. Place shaped loaf seam-side-up in the proofing basket. Cover with a dish towel and let proof overnight in the fridge or 2-3 hours at room temperature. Baking: Place Dutch oven in the oven and preheat at 280°C. When the oven is hot turn temperature down to 250°C. Remove Dutch oven from oven and place your risen loaf directly from the proofing basket into the Dutch oven. Cover with the lid. Bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove lid and bake for another 25. Let the bread cool on a cooling rack and enjoy! Sourdough stays fresh for about a week. *to check if the Levain is ripe, add a teaspoon into water, if it floats it is ready.


my sourdough schedule (german)



Sources I used while learning to bake sourdough:

The Kitchn
Bon Appétit
Anna Pearson for Annabelle
Joshua Weisman

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