Skip to Content

Overnight Rye Bread Recipe

Overnight Rye Bread has great flavor thanks honey, caraway seeds and a long slow rise. Start this rye bread recipe night before to have fresh bread for lunch. 

a slice loaf of rye bread in a basket

I’m a huge fan of rye bread in just about any form. If you’ve got a bread starter I highly recommend my Sourdough Rye Bread, Sourdough Rye Crisp Bread or Sourdough Pumpernickel Bread.

I’m kind of picky about Rye Bread, so it’s always homemade in our house.

But this rye bread recipe is so easy there’s no reason not to bake it yourself.

If you want fresh bread for lunchtime, start the night before and your bread is half way done when you get out of bed. 

And that overnight rest is not only good for you, it’s also really good for the taste and texture of your Rye Bread.

Tips for making Overnight Rye Bread

  • Create a sponge using the water, yeast and some of the flour.
  • Allow the sponge to rest for 30-60 minutes before mixing the dough. This rest gives the gluten a head start in forming a strong network.
  • Mix the dough the night before and it will be ready for lunchtime the next day. 
  • Don’t try to slice the bread before it has cooled. Because the starch is still soft, the bread will squish and become gummy if sliced while still warm. 
  • Overnight Rye Bread stays fresh at room temperature for 1-2 days. Slice and freeze for longer storage.

Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make Overnight Rye Bread:

a mixing bowl filled with rye bread sponge

Begin the dough by creating a sponge with water, yeast and a portion of the flour. This helps the gluten to develop.

rye bread dough after a night in the refrigerator has risen to the top of the bowl

The dough has risen nicely after a night in the refrigerator and the flavor  has developed. You’re ready to shape the loaf.

rye bread dough with caraway seeds on top.

Knead the caraway seeds into the dough and shape the loaf. Cover the loaf and set aside to rise until doubled in volume.

Rye bread dough on a wooden peel ready for the oven

Your Rye Bread dough is ready for the oven

A timeline for making Overnight Rye Bread:

  • Mix the dough the evening before baking day. Refrigerate the dough before going to bed.
  • Take the dough out first thing in the morning and shape the loaf.
  • Leave the loaf at room temperature to rise for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
  • You should have fresh bread by lunch time.
  • The dough can be baked the same day the dough is made. The entire process, including cooling time, takes about 5-6 hours. To have bread ready for 12pm lunch, start before 7am.
  • If you use rapid rise yeast your rising times will be quite a bit faster, possibly half the time. But remember, the longer rise creates a better tasting loaf.

rye bread with caraway seeds on a cutting board

a reuben sandwich on a wooden tray

Fresh rye bread with Swiss, pastrami and sauerkraut. The perfect deli sandwich at home.

Start the night before to have fresh bread for lunch. Overnight Rye Bread can be made with a sourdough starter or a quick starter.

If you love this rye bread recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

Overnight Rye Bread

Overnight Rye Bread

Yield: 1 large loaf
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 25 minutes
Rising Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 10 minutes

Start the night before to have fresh bread for lunch. Overnight Rye Bread has great flavor and texture.


  • 2 cups (16 oz, 480 ml) warm water
  • 1 packet (2.25 teaspoons, 7g) dry yeast
  • 1 cup (5oz, 145g) stone ground rye flour
  • 3 1/4 cups (16.25 oz, 420g) bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon honey (3/4 oz, 21g)
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 1 egg white


  1. Combine the water, yeast, rye flour and 1 cup of the bread flour in a mixer bowl. Mix until a thick batter is formed. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30-60 minutes.
  2. If you're using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook. Add the honey, salt and and remaining bread flour. The dough should begin to clear the bottom of the bowl and form a ball around the hook. If the dough is extremely sticky sprinkle in a few more tablespoons of bread flour.
  3. Knead the dough for 5 minutes then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. If working by hand, stir in as much of the flour as you can then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 4-5 minutes.
  4. The dough will be a little sticky so keep your hands well floured. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat the dough. Cover the bowl.
  5. Rise for 1 to 1.5 hours or until doubled in size. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough, cover tightly and refrigerate over night or up to 16 hours.
  6. Remove the bowl from refrigerator and dump the cold dough onto floured surface. Sprinkle the dough with 1 tablespoon caraway seeds and and knead to distribute the seeds.
  7. Knead the dough into a smooth ball then taper the two ends for form a football shape. Place the loaf on a wooden peel or sheet pan sprinkled liberally with corn meal. (It you plan to bake in a Dutch oven see notes below)
  8. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  9. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F. If you have a baking stone preheat that in the oven.
  10. The dough is ready when it springs back slowly when poked. Make 5 diagonal slashes in the dough with a single edge razor or very sharp knife. Brush dough with egg white and sprinkle another tablespoon of caraway seeds.
  11. Slide the dough onto the preheated stone or slide the sheet pan into the oven
  12. The bread is ready when tapping the bottom of the loaf produces a hollow sound, or use a probe thermometer to check for an internal temperature of about 190°F.
  13. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.


If you would like to bake this bread in a Dutch oven follow these directions: Shape the loaf into a round ball and place it on a piece of parchment paper to rise. Preheat the Dutch oven in a 425F oven. When the bread is risen, remove the preheated pan from the oven and remove the lid. Use the parchment paper to lift the loaf into the Dutch oven. If you don't have a Dutch oven, slide the parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Replace the lid on the pot and slide it into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid from the Dutch oven. The loaf should be well risen and pale in color. Continue baking another 20 minutes until the loaf is nicely browned and beginning to crisp. Remove the pan from the oven. Use the parchment to lift the loaf out of the pan. Use the parchment to place the loaf directly onto the rack in the oven. Bake another 5-10 minutes until the loaf is deeply browned and very crisp. Total baking time is about 40-50 minutes.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

You might also like:

a loaf of zucchini yeast bread
Zucchini Yeast Bread
a loaf of milk & honey whole wheat bread
Milk & Honey Whole Wheat Bread
a loaf of guinness buckwheat bread
Guinness Buckwheat Bread
a loaf of cracked wheat bread
Cracked Wheat Bread

Kerry S

Sunday 10th of July 2022

Hi Eileen, I’ve been searching for a rye bread recipe. I wonder can I use dark rye flour for this recipe?

Eileen Gray

Sunday 10th of July 2022



Monday 20th of June 2022

I am trying to reduce “ white” flour. Has anyone subbed Whole wheat flour for some or all? I will try 1/2 and half!


Monday 30th of May 2022

Made this today and it came out great. The only thing I might do differently next time is add the caraway seeds along with the bread flour. It was difficult to knead the seeds into the cold dough. This recipe is a keeper.


Thursday 12th of May 2022

How could I incorporate sourdough starter instead of yeast in this recipe?

Eileen Gray

Thursday 12th of May 2022

Sourdough Rye Bread

Gabrielle Hurwitz

Wednesday 9th of March 2022

Hi This recipe sounds really great But I’m a bit confused, do u not use any starter dough? As that would make this recipe so much easier:-) Hope to hear from u Many thx Gabrielle

Eileen Gray

Wednesday 9th of March 2022

If you have a sourdough starter you can make this recipe for Sourdough Rye Bread.

Skip to Recipe