This is my go-to sourdough bread recipe using a combination of wheat and rye flour. It’s a German bread recipe just like from a German bakery, except better. Perfectly crusty on the outside and airy on the inside, making this loaf is beginner-friendly with easy-to-follow steps. Adding sautéed onions is taking it to the next level!
This post is sponsored by Frieling USA.
Why this is the best homemade sourdough bread recipe
This German sourdough bread recipe is just too easy and good to not put on the top of your bread-baking list! As a German, you know I like my bread. There are about 3200 registered varieties of bread that exist in Germany! There is nothing like visiting a German bakery to pick up freshly baked rolls (Brötchen) and bread (Brot). And since there aren't many amazing artisan-style bakeries left in Germany (much has been commercialized), this bread recipe is EVEN BETTER than bread you can buy at most German bakeries.
This rye and wheat sourdough bread recipe (Roggenmischbrot in German) convinces with incredible depth of flavor achieved by combining a preferment dough that you make the day before with a sponge dough and then the final ingredients. When I tell you it's simple and worth it, believe me!
For a fun twist, add sauteed onions when kneading the final dough! It's heavenly! The smells from your oven are pure happiness inducers and that crackly crust and airy interior make my heart sing! And I am sure it will be yours, too!
How to make it
Making sourdough bread is so simple! It all starts with the starter (no pun intended). If you don't already have a starter going, you can buy a dried starter online. Now you're ready to bake! To achieve the full depth of flavor for this rustic loaf of sourdough bread, there are a couple of simple steps you need to follow.
You will make a preferment the night before baking, then another simple water and flour sponge shortly before combining all other dough ingredients to make your final dough. At this point, you can optionally add onions sauteed in butter, which would be called a Zwiebelbrot in German! I promise you won't regret this option.
I doubled the recipe, then added onions to one of my loaves (because who loves onion bread with butter and jam?!). You'll then let the dough rise before shaping it into either a boule (round) or a batard (long) shape. It then rests (this is called proofing) in its beautiful Brotform (a German proofing basket), giving it those characteristic lines that I love so much.
The final step is baking. I simply bake it on a baking sheet prepped with parchment paper in a preheated oven with LOTS of steam. You will create steam by adding a casserole dish filled with hot water to the bottom of the oven. And there you have it! A perfect loaf of sourdough bread just like from a German bakery (except I think better).
Making sourdough bread is not rocket science. Here are the ingredients you need to make my rye and wheat version.
Sourdough Starter. You will use either a wheat or a rye starter for this recipe (40 grams per loaf). If you don't already have an established sourdough starter, you can buy a dried starter online to mix with water (make sure to use filtered water). However, if you do want to make your starter, it's not hard! It just takes some time.
All Purpose White Wheat Flour. I go through a lot of flour with all of my baking. I also buy this flour in bulk and always prefer organic.
Yeast. Active-dry yeast is what I use for all of my yeast-based baking. You won't need much of it for this recipe, only 3 grams per loaf. Make sure you keep your yeast in the fridge, so it lasts longer.
Water. I use filtered water for all of my bread recipes. Sourdough can be sensitive since its a live culture.
Salt. I use pink himalayan sea salt for all of my baking and cooking. I like it for its higher mineral content.
You can also optionally add an onion sauteed in butter when mixing your final dough. Believe me, it's amazing! I use a large, yellow onion.
Bread proofing basket 'Brotform'. I went through many of these Brotform proofing baskets, and I love these beautiful and sturdy baskets by the Frieling brand. You can either use a round (boule) bread (I have the 10-inch one with liner) or a long (batard) basket (one size).
Set of mixing bowls. These German Küchenprofi mixing bowls are great (available at Frieling). They include measurements on the inside and are made from heavy-duty steel. They also have a rubber bottom, so nothing slides around when mixing.
Dough Tools. This set of dough tools is super nice to have for removing sticky dough easily from bowls, cleaning your counter, and cutting dough. I use mine all the time and they're made by the German brand Küchenprofi (available at Frieling).
Bread Slicer. Every household in Germany has one. I love that this slicer by the German brand Zassenhaus (available at Frieling) does not rely on electricity, has rubber feet to attach, so it won't wiggle, and you can adjust the thickness of the slices. It's also beautiful, has heirloom qualities, and would make a great gift for those lovely bakers in your life.
Kitchen Scale. Please weigh your bread ingredients. It makes everything easier and your results better! This kitchen scale weighs precisely 1/10 of a gram, which comes in super handy when weighing small amounts of ingredients (such as 3 grams of yeast for this bread recipe).
To make your life easier, I recorded this short 1:19 video of me making this bread. I hope this helps you to see how easy it is to make German bread at home.
More German baking recipes
German Sourdough Bread Recipe (With Rye)
- 1 proofing basket batard (long loaf) I went through many of these Brotform proofing baskets, and I love these baskets by the Frieling brand
- 1 proofing basket boule (round loaf) use either a batard or a boule shape
- 1 set of mixing bowls These mixing bowls are great. They include measurements on the inside, are heavy-duty, and have a rubber bottom, so nothing slides around when mixing.
- 1 dough tools This set of dough tools is super nice to have for removing sticky dough easily from bowls, cleaning your counter and cutting dough. I use mine all the time!
- 1 bread slicer Every household in Germany has one. I love that this slicer does not rely on electricity, has rubber feet to attach, so it won't wiggle, and you can adjust the thickness of the slices. This would also make a great gift for those lovely bakers in your life.
- 1 Kitchen Scale Please weigh your ingredients. It makes everything easier and your results better!
Preferment (made 10 to 12 hours before mixing final dough)
Sponge (made 30 minutes before mixing final dough)
- 200 grams water Luke warm, I use filtered water.
- 260 grams all purpose white wheat flour
Main Dough (do NOT premix, just combine ingredients with 2 pre-doughs)
Zwiebelbrot (onion bread)
- 1 yellow onion large
- 14 grams butter
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine all preferment ingredients using a rubber spatula or a spoon. Cover air-tight and let rest at room temperature for 10 to 12 hours.4 grams salt, 195 grams water, 90 grams dark rye flour, 100 grams all purpose white wheat flour, 40 grams sourdough starter
- In a small bowl, combine ingredients by hand until you have a smooth dough. Cover airtight and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.200 grams water, 260 grams all purpose white wheat flour
- If adding onion, trim, peel and slice the onion and cook on medium-low heat with the butter for about 10 to 15 minutes or until browned.1 yellow onion, 14 grams butter
Make Main Dough
- DO NOT combine the ingredients for the main dough, instead just add them to the 2 pre-doughs (optionally add cooked onion now).70 grams water, 9 grams salt, 175 grams dark rye flour, 3 grams active dry yeast
- Knead by hand or using the dough hook of a mixer until you have a homogenous, barely sticky dough and all ingredients are worked in (about 5 minutes).
- Cover airtight and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour. The dough should have increased by about half of its size.
- Shape the dough into either a round or a long shape, depending on the shape of your basket (I personally prefer the longer shape usually because I like smaller, more even slices). You can watch my video to help you understand the shaping process. Generally speaking, you will fold the top of your dough over to the bottom, then press down. Repeat from all sides and work all 'flaps' into the middle.
- Prep a proofing basket (Brotform) with white flour (I don't use the liner), then add the shaped loaf seam side down. Cover with a linen towel or the liner of the basket, and let proof (final rise period) at room temperature for 45 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 250° Celsius (480° Fahrenheit) and add a casserole dish filled with hot water to the bottom of your oven.
- Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper, then flip your dough onto it. Check to make sure there is still plenty of water in your casserole dish. Transfer quickly to the hot, steamy oven and bake for a total of 60 minutes (reduce the temperature to 220° C/ 430° F 10 minutes into baking.