Spelt and Rye Bread Recipe For Healthy Eaters

This spelt and rye bread is a really hearty spelt bread that is packed full of healthy flavour. It’s a really simple introduction to baking with spelt flour. This bread has masses of flavour, it just feels sooo good for you and it is!  

Spelt is a popular “ancient grain”, you can get light or dark spelt flour in flour stockists. I tend to use light when making 100% (or near) spelt breads like this one, when I want to increase the flavour, or give an unusual twist to a bread I use rye or dark spelt flour. Spelt bread is suitable for many low GI diets. Many people who suffer from allergic reactions with sliced supermarket bread find homemade spelt and rye breads is fine for them to eat.

Expect this recipe to make 1 medium sized bread and take around 5 hours. Making this bread at home is so rewarding, I make it so often!

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What you need to make spelt and rye bread

To make this amazing sourdough bread, you’ll need the following equipment:

Using a thermometer will help you with controlling proofing times. For accurate dough temperature readings try this thermometer from Gdealer. Aim for dough temperature between 25C and 30C (77-86F).

What if I don’t have a baking stone?

A baking stone conducts heat into the loaf. Using one increases the height of the oven spring and helps to give an even bake on the base of the loaf. If you don’t have a baking stone, preheat the thickest baking sheet that you have.

Can I use a dutch oven to make this recipe?

Yes, if you would rather use a dutch oven to make this spelt and rye bread recipe you won’t need to add steam to the oven. Simply preheat the dutch oven and drop the dough inside on a sheet of parchment paper to bake. If you are looking to get a dutch oven, I recommend getting this one from Challenger.

spelt and rye recipe


  • 330g  Spelt bread flour
  • 20g  Dark rye flour
  • 266g  Water
  • 7g  Salt
  • 7.5g  Fresh yeast (3.5g active dried)
This bread can be a bit dense for some, it is possible to add some white flour to lighten it up but this does degrade the health benefits of this bread somewhat. You may also be wise to raise spelt bread in a bread tin to get a higher rise. 

How to make this recipe with instant or dried yeast

If using instant yeast, divide the amount of fresh yeast used by 3 and follow the same method as fresh yeast. Active dried yeast needs to be activated before use. In this case, warm 20 grams of water to 35C (95F) – no higher! Add the yeast with half a teaspoon of sugar, whisk and leave to stand for ten minutes before adding to the dough. Remove 20 grams of water from the recipe.

Changing the size of the recipe

This recipe makes 1 medium sized bread. If you want to change the size of the recipe, use the bakers formula.

Method for spelt and rye bread

1) Prepare the ingredients

Weigh the ingredients whilst keeping the dry ones separate to the wet.

2) Combine the ingredients

Add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl and, using a dough scraper, gently combine the ingredients in a circular motion. After a minute or two the bowl will starts to hinder the technique as the ingredients form a mass.

In a dough mixer:

If you are using a dough mixer, add all the ingredients to a dough mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Mix at a slow speed for 6 minutes before increasing the speed to fast for another 6 minutes. Note that a small mix in a large mixer will not work well with this kind of dough. Now move to step 5.

3) Slowly knead the dough

Tip the dough out of the bowl an onto a worktop. Set a timer for 6 minutes and slowly knead using a stretching technique with the heel of your hands until the timer sounds. Place back into the mixing bowl and cover. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes.

4) Fast knead

Remove from the fridge and start a 8 minute timer. Fast knead using the French or the stretch, slap and fold method on the workbench. When the timer sounds, place the dough back in the bowl and cover.

5) Bulk ferment (first rise)

Return the bowl to the fridge to bulk ferment for 30 minutes. This will lower the temperature and allow the gluten to strengthen gradually.

6) Stretch and fold

Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on the table. Knock it back or complete a stretch and fold.

7) Bulk ferment part 2

Return the dough to the bowl, cover and rest on the worktop for a further 30 minutes. If the dough is still warm (+28C (82F)), you should put it in the fridge for the same amount of time.

8) Preshape!

Remove from the fridge and turn the dough onto the table. Knock out the air and pre-shape into a batard shape (cylinder). Lightly dust an area of the table with spelt flour and leave the dough to rest on the surface for 10 minutes.

9) Final shape your rye and spelt bread!!

Punch the dough back down and reshape into a batard, Roll the edges of the dough to taper them and give the dough a nice crescent curve if you wish. 

10) Let it rise!

Place your spelt and rye bread on a dusted board to prove. Leave for 2-3 hours, whilst lightly spraying with water every 30 minutes if it dries out. This will take longer in cool conditions. Whilst it’s rising, you’ll need to get the oven preheated to 250C (480F) with a baking stone and a lipped tray beneath it.

11) Test if it’s ready

Sprinkle some spelt flour over the top and cut with three cuts at diagonals against the flow of the curved bread using a lame. Drop into the oven by sliding it off the board or transferring to a peel and sliding from that. Add steam to the oven and drop the temperature to 230C (440F).

12) Cut

Once it’s doubled in size, sprinkle spelt flour over the top and score with three cuts. Th cuts should be diagonal, against the flow of the curve of the bread. It’s best to use a lame to make the cuts but a serrated knife will work fine if you don’t have one.

13) Load it into the oven

Drop onto the preheated baking stone by sliding it off the board or transferring to a peel and sliding from that. Wearing oven gloves, add a cup of hot water to the tray beneath. This will create steam which enhances the crust and the oven spring.

14) Bake

As soon as the water is poured on the tray, get the oven door shut as quickly as you can (without burning yourself!). Drop the temperature to 230C (440F) and bake for around 35 minutes. After 20-25 minutes, open the oven door to release some of the steam.

15) Remove and cool

Once the bread sounds hollow when tapped, slide a peel underneath or use oven gloves to remove your spelt and rye bread from the oven. Let it cool for a couple of hours before eating!

For a more open crumb and lighter spelt and rye bread try experimenting by adding some ascorbic acid to the dough mix. This will help the gluten in the flour to form a better gas retaining structure in the dough.

How to make spelt and rye bread video tutorial

Here’s My Favourite Spelt Bread R...
Here’s My Favourite Spelt Bread Recipe (with a hint of rye)

I’ve improved the recipe since recording this video but you can see the techniques I use.

Nutritional information per loaf

Calories: 1187kcal | Carbohydrates: 248g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 0.11g | Fiber: 28g | Sugar: 11g | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 3mg

Other bread recipes to try:

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  1. If I am “wise” and use a tin to get a better rise, how do I then;
    A) Get the bread out of the tin without collapsing that rise? Something that always seems to happen.
    B) Bake the tinned bread in the dutch oven?

  2. Hi Jonathan,

    A) Try baking for longer, you might need to reduce the baking temperature to avoid over-browning. Failing this, a more acidic dough will prevent the pentosans contained in the rye flour from breaking down in the oven. This can be produced by adding 50 grams of sourdough starter to the recipe (if you have one) and only using half the yeast. Alternatively, 2 tsp of vinegar could help.

    B) Your Dutch oven needs to be big enough to fit the tin and the bread as it rises. I’ve never tried this method of baking so not sure how the heat would transfer. It could work, but it would probably be easier to shape in a ball shape when baking in a Dutch oven. If you try it let me know how it goes!

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