Russian Rye Bread: Rizhsky Khleb

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Russian Rye Bread: Rizhsky Khleb

star rating (20) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

The following recipe marks King Arthur's very first venture onto the Internet -- we obtained it from a Russian student at Moscow State University, via the 'net, back in late 1995. Since then, we’ve learned its inspiration came from a wonderful book on Russian cooking, “Please to the Table: the Russian Cookbook”, by Anya Von Bremzen.

1 1/4 cups lukewarm water (105°F to 115°F)
2 tablespoons barley malt extract or dark honey
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 cups medium rye flour or pumpernickel
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Manual/Mixer Method: Pour the warm water into a mixing bowl and add a teaspoon of the malt extract or honey. Stir in the yeast and rye flour. Let this sponge work for at least 20 minutes, until it's expanded and bubbly.

Add the remaining barley malt extract or honey, the salt, caraway seeds, butter, and enough of the unbleached flour to create a dough that begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. At this point, cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap, and let it stand for about 5 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured or lightly oiled work surface, and knead until it's smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding only enough flour (or oil on your hands and the work surface) to keep the dough from sticking unbearably. (Rye doughs will always be a bit sticky, so resist the urge to keep adding flour to eliminate this inherent stickiness; adding too much flour will make a heavy, dense, dry loaf.) Halfway through, give the dough a rest while you clean out and butter your mixing bowl.

Shape the dough into a ball, place it in the buttered bowl, turning to coat, and cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for about 1 1/2 hours, or until it's just about doubled in bulk.

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the dough ingredients into the bucket of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer, program the machine for manual or dough, and press Start. About 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, examine the dough; it should be smooth (though still sticky), not "gnarly." Adjust the dough's consistency with additional unbleached flour or water, as necessary. Allow the machine to complete its cycle, leaving it in the machine till it's just about doubled in bulk.

Punch the dough down, and divide it in half. Shape each half into an oval, place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about 30 minutes.

Bake the bread in a preheated 375°F oven for about 45 minutes, or until the crust is dark brown, and the interior temperature of the loaves measures 190°F to 200°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack. Yield: 2 loaves.


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  • star rating 04/23/2015
  • member-pls14 from KAF Community
  • Perfect light rye! This recipe is easy, great flavor, smooth, moist crumb, chewy crust. The dough was not unmanageably sticky. No problems there. The only change I made was to grind the caraway seed and used only about a teaspoon for flavor. Thank you!
  • star rating 02/15/2015
  • member-kdcbelle1 from KAF Community
  • Made this yesterday in my bread machine but started it as if making the manual/mixer method, then proceeded with the directions according to my bread machine. I used KA pumpernickel flour instead of the rye, dark honey in place of the malt, 1 TBL Vital Wheat Gluten, and about 1 tsp of KA Deli Rye Flavor. The dough was quite thick and heavy, I needed to add 2-3 TBL more water to get it to the right consistency. It rose beautifully. Made 2 loaves, sprinkled one with coarse sea salt, the other with KA Everything Bagel Topping. We're having it this morning and it's wonderful. The deli rye flavor give it a nice taste but I wouldn't use more than 1-1 1/2 tsp, and the full amount of caraway seeds which didn't seem like too much. Will definitely be making this again.
  • star rating 07/31/2014
  • ClydesBonnie from Massachusetts
  • Easy to prepare. I substituted 1 TBSP light honey and 1 TBSP molasass since I hard no dark honey or barley malt. Because I had both coarse ground rye flour and King Arrthur Medium rye flour in the house I used 3/4 cup of each. When cut the texture of my bread was identical to the image shown. Great taste and makes 2 nice size boules....perfect for keeping one and giving the other.
  • star rating 02/19/2014
  • JMomHum from IL
  • This recipe delivers a crust that is crunch, with an interior that is soft....AMAZING and totally wonderful. My only suggestion is to cut the amount of caraway seeds in half. Thank you King Arthur!!
  • star rating 01/29/2014
  • Sherry from Ct
  • Yum!!! Just finished our bread and starting a new batch. Used regular honey, increased salt, I use maldens, to three teaspoons. The kneading by hand is very important, even with a kitchen aide mixer. I plan to make one large loaf this time.
  • star rating 01/04/2014
  • Sophie from Missoula, MT
  • Great bread! Soft and with good texture. My dog liked it too (sigh--should keep new baked bread out of reach). I didn't have any honey, so I used molasses, and that was okay. I think the honey would be better. Didn't need so much white flour, but I think it could have used more salt. Maybe that was the molasses.
  • star rating 08/18/2013
  • Ponchik from NJ
  • Great recipe, like from my childhood, I added more water
  • star rating 08/11/2013
  • Rivka from NY
  • This was my second attempt at rye bread, the first being the sandwich rye which I loved. Because I needed this to be kosher and not dairy, I substituted oil for the butter. I used molasses since that's what I had on hand instead of the malt. I used the clear first flour and medium rye flour along with a teaspoon of deli rye flavor. I didn't hand knead but let my Kitchenaid do the work. I was concerned because after putting in only 2 1/2 cups of the clear first flour my dough wasn't very sticky at all and I was concerned I used too much and would have a heavy loaf. The end result was amazing! Wonderful rye aroma, tender crumb...I toasted up some slices and buttered them and topped with my peach homemade jam...awesome. A big thanks to the bakers at KA who gave me the OK for substitutions and always give me the confidence to be adventurous.
  • star rating 09/27/2012
  • nan from cincy from KAF Community
  • I made this using bread flour with some vital wheat gluten (because I was out of all purpose), KAF pumpernickel, rye bread improver and deli rye flavor. Added some home made caramel color to make it darker. After second rising I brushed the loaves with water and sprinkled a good amount of Kosher salt on top and sides. It was fantastic with a salty crispy crust. Making it again today.
  • 01/14/2012
  • Bakers Fancy from KAF Community
  • @benny. It sounds like you have a great recipe for Russian Rye Bread from your comment. Would you mind sharing it? I would love to try it also!
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