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How to Make Rugbrod (Danish Rye Bread)

Barb's been making bread from scratch for over fifty years and loves sharing her favorite recipes. The smell of baking bread motivates her.

Danish Rye Bread

Danish Rye Bread Fresh from the Oven

Danish Rye Bread Fresh from the Oven

Do you love Crusty Whole Grain Rye Bread?

This bread contains whole grains of rye, cooked, and then mixed with rye and a bit of all-purpose flour and a few other yummy ingredients to become two loaves of crusty on the outside, soft and rich on the inside. It's bread you almost have to make to get.

I make a batch every year because it's the present of choice for one of my dearest friends, and it's become my traditional gift for her. This year I thought I'd share the recipe with the world. I use a recipe I found in a newspaper decades ago, as the starting point. I've incorporated my own techniques into it and enlisted Hubby to video the kneading process, since this is a heavy, sticky, bread, and I thought it might be useful for someone making it for the first time to see what to expect.

Now, let make Danish Rye Bread!

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This bread is for those who disdain the fluffy loaves that pass for bread in America and long for that heavy, crusty loaf that many Europeans favor -- a whole grain bread with body and lots of flavor. Try it. See if you become a fan!

Fresh from the oven, cooling in pan

Fresh from the oven, cooling in pan

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Whole Grain Rye (actual grains of rye)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Dark Molasses, you may substitute light, as i did.
  • 4 packages dry yeast., It's best to choose all of one type -- either fast-rising or regular. Fast rising will rise really f
  • 2 Cups Buttermilk., I used reconstituted powdered because I was out of fresh
  • 5 cups Rye flour, spooned loosely into measuring cups.
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Salt
  • 3-4 Cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. First, bring the water to a boil in a saucepan of at least two quarts. When the water is boiling, add the whole rye grains, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, watching carefully to make sure it doesn't boil over.
  2. When rye is cooked, pour into mixing bowl with the cooking water. I used the bowl of my mixer. Add the butter. (I forgot and added it to the pan before pouring into bowl, and it didn't make any difference.) Cool to lukewarm.
  3. Add molasses, yeast, and buttermilk. Mix with wooden spoon. Let rest until you see mixture begin to bubble and you know the yeast is working.
  4. Stir in rye flour and salt, mixing well with spoon. If you are using a mixer, use a dough hook and turn it on for a few seconds to complete stirring.
  5. Add three cups of the white flour, reserving the rest for final kneading. I stirred with the wooden spoon until the flour was moist and then turned on the mixer to finish stirring in flour. I then turned mixer down to kneading speed, using dough hook to almost finish kneading. See pictures below.
  6. I finish kneading by hand on a pastry cloth. First I spread the reserved white flour on the cloth in a circle of about 11 inches. Then I remove the dough from the bowl to the center of the circle of flour. Scrape the last bits of dough out with a spatula and knife.
  7. When all the dough is on the floured cloth, I pull the cloth up over the dough and let it rest while I grease two large bread pans (at least 8.5 x 5 x 2 inches) very well. Then I knead it by hand until it is mostly smooth, shiny, and elastic. (See video below.)
  8. When bread is kneaded, shape it into two loaves (see video), and place each loaf into one of the greased bread pans. Cover first with wax paper, and then cover that with a warm, damp towel. With most breads, I just use the towel, but this one is very sticky and often rises so high it will stick to what it touches first. It's easier to unstick it from the wax paper.
  9. Let it rise until double. If the room is warm, it will rise much faster than the 2-3 hours the original recipe says to allow -- especially if you used the fast-rising yeast. These loaves rose in about 45 minutes. It might not quite be double, but if you let it rise too high it will fall back on itself. See my pictures for guidance.
  10. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  11. When the loaves have risen, carefully remove towel and paper, using a knife to help, if necessary. Use a fork to prick the top in a series of rows, as shown in the pictures. When you finish pricking, brush egg over the loaves. If any dough hangs over the sides it's a good idea to push it back in. It's also a good idea to run a damp paper towel over the top edges to prevent baking bread from sticking to the top.
  12. When oven has finished preheating, put loaves in oven and bake for at least an hour.
  13. If you like a really crisp crust, you can remove it from the pans for the last 15 minutes of baking time, and finish baking without them. This will also help them finish baking faster.
  14. When you think the bread is done, remove a loaf from the oven and put it upside down on a cooling rack to test. Take a toothpick or cake tester and stick it in the center of the bottom to see if it comes out clean. If so, and if it's nice and brown, and makes a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom, it's done. If not, stick it back in the oven for another 10 or 15 minutes until it's a healthy brown and passes the toothpick test. Cool right side up on racks. Let cool completely, preferably overnight. (Ok, I violated this and sliced while it was still slightly warm because I wanted to make sure it passed the taste test before going home. )

This and the following modules will focus on visual support for making Danish Rye Bread - Pictures will help with any questions you may have.

Cook whole rye grains

Cook whole rye grains

Even if you have made bread before, this bread has some unusual characteristics, stickiness being one of them. I will mix pictures and videos taken as I made the bread so you can see how the dough, and then the bread, really look at different stages of mixing, kneading, rising, baking, and testing for doneness.

The first step is to cook the whole grain rye in boiling water for 30 minutes.

Pour into mixer bowl and add butter. - Since I have arthritis, I like to do most of the mixing and kneading with an electric mixer.

how-to-make-rugbrod-danish-rye-bread

A wooden spoon will work if you have lots of muscle strength. This is a very heavy dough and will make you very tired if you do it all by hand.

Add molasses, yeast, and buttermilk.

how-to-make-rugbrod-danish-rye-bread

Stir wet ingredients. - Be careful not to use a high enough speed to splash.

Stir liquid ingredients.

Stir liquid ingredients.

After stirring, let sit until yeast creates some bubbles so you know it's working.

Measure rye flour.

how-to-make-rugbrod-danish-rye-bread

I spoon it into the measuring cup loosely and level with a flat spatula edge.

Add rye flour and salt to wet ingredients.

Add rye flour and salt to wet ingredients.

Add rye flour and salt to wet ingredients.

Add three cups white flour and stir gently until it is moist.

how-to-make-rugbrod-danish-rye-bread

Stirring in White Flour with Mixer at Low Speed

The white flour must be stirred in before you start kneading. I have the mixer guard in place to keep flour from shooting out the top.

Getting Danish Rye Bread Dough Ready to Knead with Mixer

I have narrated this to explain what you are seeing.

Dough is almost kneaded and ready to be finished by hand

This is narrated with explanations and tips for knowing when to know bread is ready to move from mixer to finish kneading by hand.

Have you ever made bread?

There's nothing quite like baking your own bread. I've never used a bread machine. I think I'd feel too removed from the process. I need to feel the dough in my hands as a living thing.

Fresh from the Oven.

how-to-make-rugbrod-danish-rye-bread

Kneading Danish Rye Bread

This is one of the more complicated breads to knead, so I have narrated this video with tips for recognizing when your kneading is complete.

Kneading Danish Rye Bread

Preparing bread pans to receive loaves of Danish Rye Bread

It's very important to grease them very well.

The Bread is Rising

Bread is rising.

Bread is rising.

Letting the Bread Rise

Once I have the bread in the pans, I put the pans close to each other and cover first with wax paper, in case dough sticks while rising, and then with a warm, damp, thin tea or dish towel to help protect bread from drafts. I then let it rise until double or when a finger stuck in the dough will leave an exact impression and not spring back at all. See video below for the rest of rising and preparation for oven.

Getting Risen Danish Rye Dough Ready for Oven

This will show you what the dough looks like when it has risen enough and how it is punched down and prepared to go into the oven.

The Best Way to Make Bread

As I've stated, I've never tried to use a bread machine. I was never confident enough to be sure I understood the directions, and I'm not usually at the house where the machine is long enough for the process to complete. If I were to leave it and the power went out, I'd never know it in time to save the bread.

I've never really had a problem with making bread by hand (or with a bit of kneading help from a mixer), so I've never felt the need to try the machine I inherited from my mother. I usually make unusual whole grain breads, and I'm not sure how they would turn out with a machine. Others I know love their machines and use them all the time.

What is the best way to make bread?

In the Pans, ready for Oven

Bread in pans, ready for oven

Bread in pans, ready for oven

Baking Danish Rye Bread.

Before you put bread in oven, make sure oven is preheated to 400 F. Bake for an hour or until well browned and done when tested. (See below.) If you want a very crisp crust, remove bread from pan and return to oven 15 minutes before it's expected to be done.

Bake bread and test to make sure it is done.

how-to-make-rugbrod-danish-rye-bread

When you think it should be done, take the smallest loaf out of the oven, remove from pan and turn upside down on cooling rack. Take a toothpick or cake tester and poke in in the center of the bottom. It should come out clean. The loaf should also be well browned and make a hollow sound when thumped. If bread is done, turn right side up on rack to cool and take second loaf from oven to test. If bread is not done, bake for another 10-15 minutes or until it is.

The best part of making Danish Rye Bread is getting to eat it.

You should let it cool completely, preferably overnight, before slicing. (Hubby won't wait that long, though.)

You should let it cool completely, preferably overnight, before slicing. (Hubby won't wait that long, though.)

Serve it buttered, with cheese, for sandwiches, or to accompany soup. It's also delicious toasted with honey for breakfast. If you have some leftover ham, mix with some cream cheese to taste in a food processor for a delicious spread. Yummy!

Would you like to try making this bread?

Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on July 11, 2015:

Hi, Ms. Barbara. My doctor just advised me to eat rye bread. This recipe looks interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Paso Robles, CA on April 08, 2015:

Thank you for visiting and pinning. I hope you do get the chance to make this soon, and I hope you enjoy it.

Fay Favored from USA on April 07, 2015:

This isn't something I shouldn't be looking at during dinnertime :) I love rye bread; this would definitely be something I want to try. Will pin it and share. Thanks for including the videos.

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Paso Robles, CA on December 22, 2014:

She won't get it this year. She will be in Europe and I can't bake for a few weeks. Thanks for commenting again Wednesday-Elf.

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Paso Robles, CA on December 22, 2014:

When it's warm smine, you don't even have to toast it.

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Paso Robles, CA on December 22, 2014:

It tastes yummy, too. ecogrammy, especially with a ham/cream cheese spread.

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Paso Robles, CA on December 22, 2014:

It makes me feel like a pioneer woman sometimes, too, Shari. Enjoy.

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on November 15, 2014:

Your friend is very lucky to have such a treat from you. Your Danish Rye Bread looks delicious.

Shinichi Mine from Tokyo, Japan on November 04, 2014:

This looks absolutely perfect for my morning toast.

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on November 01, 2014:

Yummy-looking bread. I can just smell it baking. Thanks for all the tips. I hope to come back when I'm not about to run out the door and watch some of those videos. No time today!

Sharon Berry from Michigan on November 01, 2014:

Wow, making this would make me feel like a pioneer woman. What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning on a cold wintry day. Your instructions are easy to read and I love the pictures/videos. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Paso Robles, CA on September 18, 2014:

Sandy, it tastes good too. But it does take some time and work.

Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on September 16, 2014:

I have never made danish rye bread. The recipe looks good.

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Paso Robles, CA on September 10, 2014:

It really is delicious.

Sandy Mertens from Wisconsin on September 06, 2014:

The danish rye bread recipe sounds really good.

Ann Hinds from So Cal on January 04, 2012:

What can I say! Yummy!!!

Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on January 04, 2012:

LOVE homemade bread. I can smell it just looking through your lens. Very well done.

Kirsti A. Dyer from Northern California on January 03, 2012:

Definitely one of those who "disdains the fluffy loaves that pass for bread" in the states. My mom makes Finnish Rye bread. Good to have another recipe.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on January 03, 2012:

Your steps are very clear and adding a video of your own shows your dedication. Well done.

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Paso Robles, CA on January 03, 2012:

@Nancy Hardin: I think this bread would fill the bill. It's definitely crusty on the outside, but soft on the inside. You can always add caraway seeds if you want them, before you stir in the white flour. Thank you very much for your blessing.

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Paso Robles, CA on January 03, 2012:

@evelynsaenz1: It is, when you don't goof it up as I did this year. (See comment below.) Thank you for your blessing.

Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on January 03, 2012:

Wonderful! This makes me so hungry for good rye bread...there's no place in Nevada to get a good loaf of soft-on-the-inside rye bread. When you cut them, they're totally dried out. I enjoyed this so much and thank you for sharing. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

Lynne Schroeder from Blue Mountains Australia on January 03, 2012:

I don't have the time or the patience to make bread - wish I did!

Evelyn Saenz from Royalton on January 03, 2012:

I can hardly wait to try making rugbrod danish rye bread. It sounds delicious.

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Paso Robles, CA on January 03, 2012:

@Linda BookLady: Thanks, Linda. I can only do the videos when Hubby is there to help. The bread is a very crusty one, which is why my friend likes it. I've never seen this kind in any store.

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Paso Robles, CA on January 03, 2012:

@Heather426: Heather, it's funny what one notices in these lenses. I do the baking at the house I inherited from Mom, since there's no room to knead or let anything cool since my husband decided to keep his papers filed all over the table where I used to knead.

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Paso Robles, CA on January 03, 2012:

@NYtoSCimjustme: I would recommend Swedish Rye if your bread making skills are rusty. Mine were when I made this Danish recipe for my friend this Christmas. I tried to save time by letting the machine to some of the kneading. When I did the final kneading, the dough just wouldn't behave as it normally does. It just kept running all over the table. Maybe I accidentally put too much liquid in without realizing it, but I think the kneading, which normally takes only a few minutes, took almost an hour. I felt I'd been fighting a battle, trying to get enough flour worked in so it would stay on the pastry cloth instead of pouring over the edge. Part of my problem might have been that I couldn't find a pastry cloth where it should have been and I tried to us a plastic pie crust rolling surface. It really stuck to that. Just before hitting the store to buy a new pastry cloth I found one. I'd forgotten I'd found a new place for it last year. This is what happens when you only make bread once a year. I finally got it kneaded enough to go into the pans, though I wasn't entirely happy with it. No problem with it rising! Problem was, it rose too much, too fast. (I did use fast-rising yeast, but I do that every year.) I finally got it into the oven and it rose beautifully. It just never got completely done. It was getting on toward midnight, the bread thumped correctly, but the toothpicks weren't coming out totally clean when I tested. By this time the bread had baked twice as long as normal. Did I mention I was getting tired? I finally decided to call them done. When I tested the larger loaf the next morning, it was still a bit moist on the bottom, but it was OK if toasted. I wrapped up the other loaf and told my friend she just may have to be happy with Swedish Rye, a bread whose dough behaves more normally, next year. I told her the bread might be a bit moist on the bottom. She said she'd toast it. I said all this to make you feel better if things don't always work for you. But this is the first time in twenty years I've had this happen. Usually the only tricky thing is that the dough is a sticky one. Until this year it never acted like an oozing "ball" of light mud. In spite of everything, it still tastes OK and we have been eating it all week.

Linda Jo Martin from Post Falls, Idaho, USA on January 03, 2012:

This bread looks absolutely delicious... and I LOVE your videos!

NYtoSCimjustme on January 03, 2012:

I love bread - haven't had a good Rye bread since I left NY ... I would say I would try this - but my baking bread skills are not the shall we say 'greatest'... :) I refuse to elaborate on this story - as you will ridicule me for eternity! :)

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on January 03, 2012:

Wow, sounds amazing! I think we have the same white California tile, too, lol. This is a seriously great recipe lens. Thank you!

anonymous on November 28, 2011:

I love homemade breads, and the Danish Rye sounds heavenly this morning. Barb, I can almost smell fresh bread baking.

Barbara Radisavljevic (author) from Paso Robles, CA on December 29, 2010:

@ohcaroline: Carolyn, it's definitely not a good recipe for those who like it easy. I make it once a year because my friend enjoys it so much. She can't buy it anywhere easily, and I know it's one way I can give something of myself to her. I do make a simpler rye bread for everyday, and I'll post that recipe soon. It's a more typical Swedish rye with caraway seeds.

ohcaroline on December 29, 2010:

This recipe is way over my head. It sounds good; but I like more simple recipes...just the lazy cook in me. You're just a much better cook than I am.

julieannbrady on December 29, 2010:

Oh, wow my dear! I distinctly feel like I actually had rye bread this morning for breakfast -- rye is one of my favorites.

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