Aromatic Black Rye Bread

Aromatic Black Rye Bread

This is my second time with this recipe;  this time I added 100g of levain (starter) and doubled the amounts of anise, caraway, fennel, and cardamom (to stand up to the cocoa).  Even though it does have black cocoa and molasses in the dough, this is not a sweet rye.  It does go wonderfully well with cream cheese (vegan or regular), or with a soft cheese like Brie or Camembert.

These are the Key Steps for any No-Time Rye Bread:

  • Preheat the Dutch oven. Just like with no-knead breads, this bread bakes in a preheated Dutch oven (or, in my case, a Le Creuset enameled cast-iron casserole with lid) for a thin, crackly crust.  If you heat the pan while you heat the oven, it will be hot enough to give the dough a good oven spring — which results in a loftier loaf.  Rye doesn’t rise as much as white, but still gives a good result.

  • Preheat the dough. Make sure to grease both the rising bowl and the Dutch oven or Le Creuset casserole;  I use Pam spray.  Once you’ve finished the final rise, don’t poke at the dough.  Use oven gloves to take the casserole out of the oven, invert the bowl over the casserole and nudge the dough until it falls into the casserole.  Make sure to score the top with a sharp knife.  Bake, covered, for 25 minutes, then uncover and bake for 12-15 more minutes.

  • Rest the dough between bursts of heat.  In between microwave bursts, let the dough rest in the microwave where it will continue to rise.  Follow the first 25 seconds of microwaving with five minutes of resting, and the second burst of microwave heat with 15 minutes of resting time.  For rye bread, consider a third bout of 25 seconds with another 15 minutes of rest.  This will still get your bread made, start to finish, in 90 minutes.

Let the bread cool and firm up for at least 10 minutes before slicing and slathering with butter, nibbling with soft cheese such as Brie or Camembert, or serving with soup.

No-Time Black Rye Bread Recipe

This recipe makes a good-sized boule, and takes 1½ hours, start to finish.  It does require a microwave, plus (of course) a Dutch oven or Le Creuset pot (or equivalent).  You can also add the levain and ferment it overnight, which is what I did with today’s loaf;  I think it adds both flavor and a lighter texture.  Either way, baking in a Le Creuset leads to an excellent crust!


14g (2 x ¼-ounce packets or 4 tsp) active dry yeast
20g molasses – a good dollop
350g (generous 1½ cups) hand-hot water
275g (1¾ cups) bread flour
275g (1¾ cups) rye flour
8g (1¼ tsp) kosher salt
25g (1/4 cup) organic cocoa powder
2-3 g each fennel, ground anise, caraway seeds and cardamom
Scant tsp orange flavoring
Optional:  100g live levain


1.   Place the yeast, molasses, and water in a large mixing bowl; stir well and let stand for five minutes to activate the year.

2.   Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven, remove any racks above it, and heat to 450°F.  Place a Dutch oven (or Le Creuset enameled cast iron casserole with a lid, or equivalent) in the oven as it heats.

3.   Now that the yeast has had a few minutes to bubble up, add the flour, the salt, and the flavorings (and the levain, if you’re using it; it will work perfectly well without).  Beat on low speed for 30-40 seconds until everything is combined and forms a dough that is wet but not sloppy.  Spread the remaining flour over your work surface, dump the dough on the counter, and immediately wash the bowl.  Knead the dough vigorously for 5 minutes, or until it becomes elastic:  it will no longer sticks to your hands, but will stick slightly to the counter.

4.   Lightly grease the same microwave-safe bowl with vegetable oil – I use Pam spray. Slap the bread dough into the bowl and cover with a piece of plastic wrap also sprayed with Pam.  Cover the whole thing with a dry tea towel and put in the microwave.  Microwave on HIGH for 25 seconds.  Let the dough rest in the microwave for five minutes.

NOTE: If you wish to ferment overnight, as is customary with a levain bread, do so at this point:  simply pop the covered bowl in the fridge for 8-10 hours.  In the morning, take out the dough, still in its bowl, and resume the main instructions.  Obviously if you are doing an overnight rise, you will start the oven in the morning.

5.   Microwave on HIGH for 25 seconds more. Let it rest and rise for 15 minutes more.  With the heavier rye dough, I like to microwave for another 25 seconds, and let rest for 15 minutes more, but this is not strictly necessary if you are pushed for time.

6.   Using oven gloves, take the pot out the oven. Invert the bowl over it and let the bread fall into the casserole.  Quickly slash the top with a lame or sharp knife.  Cover and bake for 25 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 12-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown, the internal temperature hits 210°F, and the bottom sounds hollow.

7.   For smooth slicing, let the loaf cool at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

8.   Leftover bread — if any — can be stored cut-side down at room temperature for up to 3 days.  It can also be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and frozen for up to 3 months.

Here is the printable .pdf for No-time Black Rye Bread v2.