Sourdough NY Deli Rye bread has rapidly become my new favorite of the breads I make on a regular basis! Over the last couple of years I have experimented with various rye bread recipes, mostly with 50% rye flour or higher, and usually with stone ground rye from Carolina Ground. Some of these have been documented in previous posts. While very good I found them limited in usefulness due to their strong rye taste. In addition, they were also difficult doughs to work with being very sticky, and since rye has little gluten, were often dense. That has all changed with this recipe from Breadtopia, one of two bread websites I regularly follow.

Modifications to recipe

As noted above rye breads can be difficult to handle due to stickiness, but in this case there is about 30% rye flour in the dough. While still sticky, it is easier to handle. The recipe also calls for barley malt syrup, which is quite thick and sticky. To ensure even mixing I dissolve it into the 90 – 100 degree F water. I add about 18 grams of vital wheat gluten to the dry ingredients to provide more strength to the dough. Mix all dry ingredients, and then add the starter, and finally the water and barley malt syrup mixture. After mixing to ensure no dry spots are left, the dough is covered and allowed to sit for 20 minutes, before the first of four stretch and folds.

sourdough deli rye dry and wet ingredients

Dry ingredients plus the starter on the left, with the barley malt syrup and water on the right.

Dough Strengthening

The four sets of “stretch & folds” will build strength in the dough and help maintain shape while baking. See this YouTube video for a look at how to do this. Then the dough sits, covered, for 4 – 5 hours for bulk fermentation.

Once doubled, I will put the dough into the refrigerator for 30 – 45 min prior to shaping (or divide and shape if two loaves). This makes the dough easier to handle. A bâtard shape works better for sandwich use versus a boule, and I use a baking steel for bâtards. The Perfect Loaf’s shaping guide is excellent, and I recommend following his steps for shaping bâtards with slack dough. Once in the proofing baskets the dough goes into the refrigerator for an overnight proofing.


For baking I use the same basic method using the baking steel as with the regular sourdough. Preheat with steel in place at 500 for one hour. Place parchment paper on pizza peel, and place the bâtard(s) on the paper. An egg white wash gives a nice shiny crust, and will also hold the caraway seeds if used. I was out of caraway seeds on my last couple of bakes. For steam I roll up old dish towels and place into a baking pan, which is then filled with hot water from the electric kettle. The loaves are slid onto the steel, the pan is placed underneath, close the door, and lower the temperature to 450. Due to my oven’s convection fans being always on when on high bake, I then turn the oven off, and set the timer for 12 minutes. This keeps the steam generated from the pan from being blown out. For my oven I then turn it on, but on the low bake setting for 10 minutes. Then the loaves are rotated 180 degrees, and the oven is switched to high bake. After five minutes the loaves are rotated again, and a sheet pan is placed underneath the loaves to avoid burning the bottoms. I have also found aluminum foil on top will keep the top from burning due to the proximity of the upper heating elements. It usually takes a total of 15 minutes on high bake to reach an internal temperature above 200 degrees (F). The loaves are then placed on wire racks and allowed to cool completely. While warm bread is great, with rye it can sometimes get gummy if not at room temperature prior to slicing.

sourdough deli rye

sourdough deli rye crumb


The first sandwich I made was a grilled tuna melt, where I substituted pickled jalapeños for the dill pickles for some added zip. It was also great for a grilled ham and swiss, and a pastrami and swiss. A reuben would also be good but I was out of russian dressing. It is also greatly simply toasted with butter.

NY deli rye tuna melt

I hope you have enjoyed this look at a sourdough NY deli rye bread, and we look forward to serving our homemade breads as part of breakfast here at The Sidecar Inn Bed & Breakfast!