Rye Bread – Paul Hollywood How to Bake

Rye bread PH

In a moment of enthusiasm a while ago I bought a bag of rye flour but then I had no idea what to do with it as I was pretty sure it wasn’t as simple as chucking it in the bread maker instead of my usual bread flour. Browsing through my cookbooks I was reminded I’d bought Paul Hollywood’s book How to Bake and not used it yet. It is a lovely book that probably includes every type of bread you might ever want to make and of course it includes a recipe for Rye Bread (actually it includes 5 Rye bread recipes). This is the basic Rye bread recipe from his book and it is as delicious as any Rye bread I’ve ever eaten in Germany. It does take effort and is best started in the morning as there is lots of proving but it is surprisingly easy despite the long list of detailed instructions.


  • 500g rye flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2 tsps yeast
  • 20ml treacle (optional)
  • 350ml cool water
  • olive oil for kneading


  1. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the treacle if using and 3/4 of the water and turn around the mixture with your fingers. Continue to add the rest of the water a little at a time, until you have picked up all of the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all the water, or you may need to add a little more – you want dough that is soft but not soggy. Use the mixture to clean the inside of the bowl and keep going until the mixture forms a rough dough.
  2. Coat the work surface with a little olive oil, then tip the dough onto it and begin to knewad. Keep kneading for 5-10 minutes. Work through the initial wet stage until the dough starts to form a soft skin. You will find the dough feels different from a conventional wheat flour dough – less smooth and stretchy.
  3. Put the dough into a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise until doubled in size – about 4 hours.
  4. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Fold it repeatedly in on itself until the air is knocked out. Form the dough into a smooth round cob by turning it on the surface and tucking the edges underneath until the top is smooth and tight. Generously dust the inside of a large round proving basket (I used the same mixing bowl) with rye or white flour. Put the dough into it with the smooth side down.
  5. Leave to prove for 2-3 hours; the dough will double in size eventually but will take considerably longer than wheat flour breads. Meanwhile heat your oven to 220C and put a roasting tray in the bottom to heat up. Line a baking tray with parchment or silicone paper (I greased and floured a baking tray and it was fine).
  6. When your loaf is risen, invert it carefully onto the prepared tray. Slash a deep crosshatch patter on the top with a sharp knife. Pour hot water into the roasting tray to create steam and put the bread into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. To test, tap the base of the loaf – it should sound hollow. Cool on a wire rack.

8 thoughts on “Rye Bread – Paul Hollywood How to Bake

    • Thank-you. This is the first thing I’ve made from this book but I would still wholeheartedly recommend it. It has a wonderful selection of recipes and bread making is perfect for whiling away winter weekend afternoons!

      • I agree 🙂 It’s freezing cold here in the north of Scotland today (amazingly we’ve hardly had any snow yet but I don’t think it’s far away!) so I’m making Paul’s chelsea buns. I don’t think it’s a recipe from the book though, I found it on the BBC website. Hoping they turn out ok!

  1. I tried this recipe, direct from Hollywood’s book, but the result wasn’t very successful–pity as all his other recipes have proven to be pretty much fool-proof. The dough seemed to be much too wet even at 3/4 stage. It was nearly impossible to knead but did sort of come together with the additional of a little more flour. The loaf did prove and second rise but should that tell-take sign of a wetish/dark ring just under the crust. I wonder if it’s the flour I used, which is from the same mill I get all my other flours from. What was the source of your flour?

  2. I have tried to make this bread twice now using Doves farm organic rye flour. I haven’t had any success and have thrown both batches of dough away. I’m using a food mixer with a dough hook I add 3/4 of the water which isn’t enough so add a little bit more. I get to a stage where it’s two wet and won’t stick to the dough hook so I keep adding flour but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. I end up with a very heavy sticky lump of dough that I find very difficult to kneed by hand do end up throwing it in the bin. I know Paul recommends Doves farm flour but I looked online and there are different strengths of rye flour also some recipies use a percentage of rye and wholemeal. Has anyone had success making this bread with a mixer or is it best by hand?

  3. Afraid I have only tried by hand, it may be worth trying by hand once then you get a feel for what the dough feels like. It is very weird dough but his description is right. I think you need to be careful not to add too much flour which is why his olive oil on the counter works. Kneading was very difficult at the start but as it absorbs some oil it gets easier

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