This easy, flavourful sourdough bauernbrot is made with a mix of rye and bread flour. A dream to shape and perfect for sandwiches! The addition of rye makes for an excellent flavour, but keeping white bread flour makes for a good crumb due to the higher gluten content, and doesn't overwhelm the way dark rye bread can if you're not used to it.
This loaf has a relatively small crumb and it's not meant to be really open and airy. That means it's perfect for sandwiches of all kinds, because your toppings won't fall through. Try our 100% whole wheat sourdough bread and sprouted grain sourdough too if you like a heartier bread.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Rye flour: depending on how wholesome of a loaf you want, you can use different types of rye flour. This will also depend on what's available to you. I use sifted (light) rye, but whole grain will work just as well and will add a more noticeable rye taste.
- Water: if you want to, it is possible to use milk in place of water here. It will make the dough slightly softer, but doesn't make such a difference. If you have leftover whey, it's a very good sub for water.
- Bread flour: if bread flour isn't available, plain white can be used in a pinch. We have several other sourdough recipes using white flour which are specifically developed with that in mind, so we would recommend going for one of those instead.
- Starter: this should be 100% hydration starter at its peak, and can be made with rye, white, or any type of flour that contains gluten.
Step 1: add the starter and water to a large mixing bowl and combine.
Step 2: stir in the flour to form a shaggy dough. The dough will seem dry.
Step 3: do three rounds of stretches and folds.
Step 4: form the dough into a smooth ball.
Step 5: transfer the dough to a lined proving basket.
Step 6: let it rise for a few hours at room temperature.
Step 7: transfer the dough to the fridge, covered well, to rise overnight.
Step 8: turn out onto parchment and bake in a pre-heated Dutch oven.
- Start with the basics: if you're unfamiliar with the terms used, see these posts on how to stretch and fold sourdough and how to shape sourdough boules.
- Make it without a banneton: it is possible to place the shaped bread into a bowl lined with a tea towel if you don't have a proving basket. A smaller bowl (not a mixing bowl, but more medium-sized) is best.
- Cool fully: any recipe with rye flour really benefits from a full cooling down period before slicing. All sourdough should, ideally, cool before being sliced. This loaf will be gummy if sliced when warm.
This is a low hydration dough and is easier to work with for beginners. If you're used to higher hydration, it may seem too stiff, but it isn't. After the autolyse it softens up a bit and once the stretches and folds are complete, it will be soft and smooth like any other dough. The dough is shaggy and very sticky when first mixed due to the rye flour.
This is a classic recipe in German-speaking countries. I (Alex, northern Germany) always make it with water, but in the southern regions you may find bauernbrot (farmer's bread) more often made with milk. This makes for a softer loaf and you can use milk if you want to.
The pot doesn't need to be preheated for this recipe to be successful. Heating in advance will result in a slightly greater oven spring, but if you're not so confident placing the dough into a very hot pot, then put the bread in cold. The loaf pictured was baked in a cold pot and it makes virtually no difference for this recipe.
How to Store
Storage: keep the bread in a large paper bag, cloth bag or linen/cotton tea towel, or in a bread bin. It will keep at room temperature for several days.
Freezing: transfer fully cooled bread or individual slices to an airtight container and freeze for up to a month. Slices can be thawed directly in the toaster.
What is Bauernbrot made of?
It should be made with just rye flour, bread flour, starter or yeast, salt, and water or milk. Some people add brotgewurz or caraway but not everyone likes the spices.
Is Bauernbrot healthy?
Since it usually contains part whole grains - rye - it can be a healthier option than plain white bread as it will contain more fibre and some nutrients.
Why is German bread so good?
German bread recipes use a variety of grains rather than only wheat flour – rye, spelt, emmer, and more. The recipes are also very highly regulated so you can trust that the bread from any German bakery is going to be comparable to any other, and always taste like it should.
If you make this German Sourdough Bread recipe or any other sourdough bread recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
Sourdough Bauernbrot (German Farmer's Bread)
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Tea towel
- Banneton proving basket
- Dutch oven
- Parchment paper
- Wire rack
- A digital kitchen scale
- 350 grams water at room temperature
- 100 grams active sourdough starter 100% hydration
- 400 grams bread flour
- 150 grams rye flour
- 10 grams sea salt
- Add the water and starter to a mixing bowl and mix until fully combined.
- Add the bread flour, rye flour, and salt to the bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until a shaggy dough forms.
- Cover the dough with a tea towel and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Once a half hour has passed, do three rounds of stretches and folds over the course of an hour, one round every 20 minutes. The dough will be sticky but will come together as the folds are completed.
- Shape the dough into a boule and sprinkle the top with flour. Place it, seam-side up, in a proving basket (banneton) lined with a tea towel.
- Cover the dough and set it aside to rise at room temperature for three hours.
- The dough should look slightly puffy but not doubled in size. Cover with a plate and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C). The pot (dutch oven) can be heated with the oven but this is optional (see notes below).
- Once the oven is hot, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Carefully tip it out onto a piece of parchment paper and score the top.
- Reduce the oven heat to 450°F (230°C).
- Carefully remove the pot from the oven if you chose to preheat it. Place the dough into the pot and bake for 20 minutes with the lid on.
- Remove the lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown.
- Carefully lift the bread out of the pot (use the parchment paper as handles) and cool fully on a wire rack before slicing. Store leftover bread in the same pot you baked it in, or wrapped in a tea towel and stored in the oven.