Boiled Cider Rye Bread

Recipe by Martin Philip

Hearty, dense, and tangy from its sourdough starter, this recipe pays tribute to the rye bread traditions of Eastern Europe. The addition of just a touch of commercial yeast helps ensure a good rise. 

This recipe was adapted from Breaking Bread: A Baker’s Journey Home in 75 Recipes by Martin Philip, photography by Julia A. Reed, Copyright © 2017. It has been reprinted with permission of Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

30 mins
45 to 50 mins
15 hrs 5 mins
two large loaves
Boiled Cider Rye Bread


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  1. To make the rye sourdough: In a medium bowl combine the water and sourdough starter, breaking up the sourdough with your fingers or a spatula to distribute it. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Add the flour, stirring until everything is well combined.

  2. Cover the sourdough and set it aside at room temperature for 12 to 16 hours.

  3. To make the final dough: In a large bowl, combine the prepared sourdough with the water. Mix with your hands, a spoon, or a spatula until the sourdough is broken up in the water.

  4. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until they’re fully incorporated. The shaggy dough will be more like a thick batter; a plastic dough scraper is a handy tool for incorporating everything from the bottom and sides of the bowl.

  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and allow the dough to rise, covered, until it’s domed and puffy, but not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 hour at room temperature.

  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface and divide it in half. If you have a scale, each piece will weigh about 800g.

  7. Shape each piece of dough into a round (boule) and place them upside down into flour-dusted bannetons (brotforms) or towel-lined bowls about 8” in diameter. Let the loaves rest, covered, for 30 minutes.

  8. While the loaves are resting, preheat the oven to 450°F with a baking stone in the middle and an oven-safe pan on the bottom rack or oven floor.

  9. Transfer the loaves to a piece of parchment paper large enough to fit them but not larger than your baking stone.

  10. Let the loaves rest, uncovered, until small cracks begin to appear on the surface, another 10 to 15 minutes or so.

  11. With 1 cup of hot water at the ready, transfer the loaves on the parchment to the hot baking stone. Pour the hot water into the pan below, and immediately close the oven door to trap the steam.

  12. Bake the loaves for 45 to 50 minutes, until they’re well colored; a digital thermometer inserted into the center of a loaf will read 210°F.

  13. Turn off the oven, leaving the loaves inside but propping the oven door open a few inches, to allow the bread to set for another 10 minutes.

  14. Remove the loaves from the oven and transfer them to a rack to cool completely before slicing.

  15. Store leftover bread, in paper bags or wrapped in a tea towel, at room temperature for up to a week. Freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • This recipe was developed by metric weight, so for best accuracy we recommend measuring by weight. That said we recognize that some bakers prefer to work with volume measurements, so here are the volume approximations for the ingredients in this recipe:  

    Rye sourdough
    -   1 1/4 cups water, at warm room temperature (75°F to 80°F) 
    -   2 tablespoons ripe (fed) sourdough starter
    -   2 3/4 cups medium rye flour 

    Final dough 
    -   all the rye sourdough from above
    -   1 1/2 cups + 3 tablespoons water 
    -   5 cups + 2 tablespoons medium rye flour
    -   2 tablespoons boiled cider
    -   1 tablespoon salt 
    -   2 teaspoons instant yeast 


  • Your desired water temperature depends on a few factors, but primarily the temperature of your home will have the most influence. If your home is cool (below 70°F), you’ll want to use warmer water (between 90°F and 110°F). If your home is on the warmer side (above 70°F), use water in the lukewarm range (75°F to 90°F). 

  • Want to make your own boiled cider? Pour 2 cups (454g) apple cider into a medium saucepan. Allow the cider to simmer gently over low heat until it’s reduced to one-eighth its original volume, about 1/4 cup; this should take about 45 to 60 minutes. Pour the boiled cider into a heat-safe jar or bowl and set it aside to cool. Refrigerate the syrup until you’re ready to use it. 

  • Join King Arthur baker Martin Philip and his family as they bake Wood's Boiled Cider Rye Bread together, start to finish. Watch Martin Bakes at Home - Boiled Cider Rye Bread now.