Marilyn's Whole Wheat and Rye Sourdough Bread

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Marilyn's Whole Wheat and Rye Sourdough Bread

star rating (36) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

This recipe comes to us from Marilyn Mulgrew of Rochester, New York. It makes beautifully decorated loaves, and is also terrific for rolls. If you're a liverwurst-and-onions aficionado, try it on one of these rolls, slathered with hot-sweet mustard. Heaven! Thanks, Marilyn.

1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) lukewarm milk
2 cups (16 1/2 ounces) sourdough starter, fed or unfed*
1/4 cup (1 7/8 ounces) packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon whole anise seeds
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) white rye flour
1 cup (4 ounces) King Arthur Premium Whole Wheat Flour
3 1/2 to 4 cups (14 3/4 to 17 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

*If you feed your starter first, the dough will rise a bit more quickly.

Combine the yeast, milk, the sourdough starter, sugar, salt, cardamom, and seeds. Stir in the rye flour and beat until the batter is smooth. Add the whole wheat flour, then the unbleached all-purpose flour, a cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has formed a shaggy mass, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter.

Knead the dough and add just as much flour as you need to keep the dough from sticking to the counter. The dough should be a little tacky, but not sticky. Place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise until it has doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Gently deflate the dough and place it on a lightly floured counter. Shape as desired; you can make one huge loaf, three normal loaves, four mini loaves, or about 24 rolls. You can also reserve a small amount of dough and roll it into long, thin strips that can be snipped with scissors to form a stalk of wheat to decorate the top of each loaf.

Cover the loaves and let them rise for about 45 to 60 minutes, or until they're puffy. Bake them in a preheated 400°F oven for about 25 minutes, or until the bread is nicely browned and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. Remove from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Tip: Need some sourdough starter to get started? See our step-by-step directions for creating your own sourdough starter from scratch. Or, if you’re looking for a head-start, check out our classic fresh sourdough starter, a simpler path to fresh, ready-to-use sourdough starter.


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  • star rating 04/27/2015
  • member-kdcbelle1 from KAF Community
  • Very nice bread. The recipe make a lot of dough, I made 3 standard size loafs. My dough was a little sticky, not too sure if it's supposed to be that way but the taste and rise were great. I only had dark rye flour so that's what I used along with the seeds and cardamom recommended. I don't think I'd change a thing next time. I made the dough in my 2lb. bread maker, keeping an eye on it as it rose, it filled the bucket to the top after the final rise. If you decide to make it that way, be sure to watch it closely so it doesn't rise over and out of the bucket.
  • star rating 03/14/2015
  • Billie from Calgary, Canada
  • Reliable recipe with great texture and flavour.
  • star rating 03/10/2015
  • Donna from Mississippi
  • I wanted a sourdough recipe with more whole grain than the Rustic Loaves (the bread to which I compare all others), but with a soft crust. I had some rye flour that needed to be used. Everyone in my household dislikes rye bread that is strong tasting (caraway seed). After reading the reviews and tasting the seeds, I decided to make it without any of the seeds just to see what the white, wheat, and rye flours would taste like by themselves. Oh my goodness! So easy! So delicious! It will be wonderful for sandwiches and toast, and with that amount of brown sugar, I can see that it would make wonderful dinner rolls too. The bread is about the color of supermarket whole wheat loaves. The crust browned beautifully. I used my KA starter, feeding it about four to five hours before I mixed up the bread. It rose beautifully and quickly. Wonderful recipe. I might even add some seeds or dried fruit to it next time. (Though probably not the caraway, cardamon, or anise. Just a preference thing.) The one thing it lacked is a sour taste. To get that, I may try mixing it like the Assertive Rustic loaf next time, leaving the dough in the refrigerator overnight and cutting back the sugar a bit.
  • star rating 03/10/2015
  • mrmoran from KAF Community
  • Wow -- This is superb. Followed the recipe, using fed sourdough starter. The recipe produced three HUGE, beautifully-textured, delicious loaves. For me, the seed-and-cardamom combination was what distinguished this recipe. In a word... fantastic.
  • star rating 12/05/2014
  • Jill from Blairstown, NJ
  • I made three free form loaves with this recipe, placed them on a half sheet pan. As I expected, they spread out more than they rised. I guess I need to try using loaf pans next time. Even though the bread was not tall, it tasted delicious. I feel as though I am cheating when a sourdough recipe calls for commercial yeast. But I am definitely going to make this recipe again.
  • star rating 08/02/2014
  • TK from Maryland
  • Made this bread today, it is darn near perfect! My husband does not like sourdough so he was very happy that the sour flavor was not strong. The rye flavor was not overwhelming either, very well balanced. I like to bake fresh bread every week this recipe will be going into the rotation. Thank you for a great recipe!!
  • star rating 07/24/2014
  • Stay at home mom from Vancouver Island
  • Yum! 2 large loaves of delicious bread. Can't wait to make it again. I used my KitchenAid mixer. Super easy, husband and kid approved. Makes a nice toast but is also great sandwich bread too.
  • star rating 07/21/2014
  • Karen from dayton, oh
  • Bread has a smooth texture and interesting nutty flavor. I used my Kitchenaid- easy. Best eaten within a day or two. Good alternative recipe for sourdough and rye!
  • star rating 05/17/2014
  • Katie from Richmond
  • This bread is amazing!! I used my fed starter and everything else listed in the recipe, except the anise due to personal preference, and the bread turned out perfectly. It's very flavorful and light, and my entire family loved it. Thanks for sharing
  • star rating 05/10/2014
  • Amy from Williamstown, MA
  • I've made it twice in two 4.5 x 8.5" pans. I have left out the caraway, and I positively LOVE the flavors produced by the anise & cardamom. Middle-eastern flavor. Great with hummus.
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