German Sourdough Rye Beer Dutch Oven Bread

German Sourdough Rye Beer Dutch Oven Bread
Sonja_For The Pleasure Of Eating

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I’m Sonja and “For The Pleasure Of Eating” is my food blog.

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This recipe makes one large loaf of beautifully crusty, malty, and moist German Sourdough Rye Beer Dutch Oven Bread, similar to what you find in German bakeries, which goes well with anything from cheese over charcuterie to even sweet toppings, as it cuts through them with its slightly tangy flavour. And the best thing: It’s no knead and apart from mixing the ingredients together quickly basically makes itself.
It’s fantastic to pair with stews, as a side to salad or just on its own with a bit of good Irish butter.

German Sourdough Rye Beer Dutch Oven Bread

Why it’s good for you

The sourdough and long rising time make the bread very easy digestible, which is especially helpful for those of you that have a gluten sensitivity. Sourdough rye bread is known to have a much slower release of sugar, not spiking insulin as fast compared to white bread made with yeast or from the supermarket, meaning even diabetics can eat it (within reason).
It’s great if you are on a diet and don’t want to give up bread, as it’s very nutritious and makes you feel full longer.

On top of that it’s very easy to make, despite the long looking recipe. The first time may take a while, if you have never made your own bread, but the process is broken down over 2 days (sourdough bread does take a fair bit of resting, to be its amazing self) and each of those steps will only take a few minutes of active work, no kneading required.

This is the bread I make on a regular basis for myself. If I have not at least half a loaf in the freezer, I panic.

German Sourdough Rye Beer Dutch Oven Bread

Hence…different pictures of different days of preparing this.

Why I am making my own

Being German, I love bread. And then I moved to Ireland. Which was a bit of a culture shock regarding bread. Or bakeries for that matter. I mean, going from bakery paradise with about 4 bakeries within a 5-minute walk from my apartment in Hanover, each having their very own different breads of all kinds, starting from classic white sandwich bread over sweet raisin bread, to lighter sourdough, several variations of rye sourdough (in each bakery), all the way to very dark “Schwarzbrot”, which is made of whole grains, similar to Pumpernickel, but with crunchy crust, moist and flavourful. Not to mention usually about 10 different kinds of fresh rolls, Pretzels, Croissants, Baguette, and a whole selection of different cakes, Danishes, and other sweet treats, I really was spoiled rotten.

Enter Ireland. Bakeries, when I arrived here (there was no Lidl fresh bread counter yet) had a few different kinds of white bread, all equally flavourless, and Soda Bread. Which felt like heaven the first time, with soup, after having had only baguette for a year in France and longing for something more wholesome, but got old very quickly. To me, it tastes like fish. In a kind of cake. Crumbly, not suited to pairing with cheese, which is my favourite way to eat bread, getting stale very quickly.

Sure, making my own Soda Bread with molasses and raisins is a lovely way of improving it (Let me know if you’d like that recipe), but still, not ideal with cheese.

So what’s a spoiled German bread lover to do? Make my own, of course!

German Sourdough Rye Beer Dutch Oven Bread

This picture is the version I made entirely without kneading. No folding every half hour either. Just once at the very end, 2h before baking. I’m showing you this, as I will show you later the version that I folded every 30min, which is what pretty much every sourdough bread recipe tells you to do. For this bread…well, read on. 😉

What I wanted vs what I found in recipes

Finding a recipe that gave me the results I was looking for, which was a “Bauernbrot” like moist and bread with malty flavour, a good rye content, wholemeal in it and a super crunchy crust, a bit denser than your standard light sourdough, but still bouncy, was honestly easier said than done.
My first few attempts were called “Dwarf Bread” by a friend. Because you always find something better to eat and it keeps forever. You may want to use it as bricks. Or smack an intruder over the head with it.

Another problem was the sourdough. Which I kept feeding and feeding, because I wasn’t baking every few days, until I felt I was throwing more away than using. And when I forgot it for a few days it either died or got very lively and tried to escape from the confines of its bowl. Ahem.
Also, the whole process of handling rather sticky rye sourdough, which is what I’m after, made me hate baking bread. Kneading was painful for my joints, so I avoided it for the most part.
And the issue with our standard ovens not working with steam, which is what creates the incredible crust, crunchy but not too hard, which you find in artisan breads.

Enter No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread

This all changed when I discovered no-knead bread and started to adapt the recipe to get close to the type of bread I wanted to achieve, giving me the ease of preparation to make it on a regular basis.
Sourdough and time take over the hard work that kneading usually does, to develop the gluten it needs to rise. On top of that the resting time develops a depth of flavour that you simply don’t get when buying bread in the supermarket and often not even in bakeries.
This bread is a bit heavier than what you get commercially. It is not the light and bubbly Instagram sourdough loaf. And I don’t want it to be. (After all, I don’t want the butter to land on the plate falling through the holes instead of staying on my bread!)
It’s chewy, loaded with malty flavour, keeps moist for days, has said crunchy crust, is fantastic toasted, incredible with cheese or charcuterie but equally lovely with sweet things. My personal favourite among those is the German “Grafschafter Goldsaft” or “Zuckerrueben Sirup”, which translates into Sugar Beet molasses, but I have yet to find it here. Golden Sirup with Molasses might work in its place, or a dark type of forest honey. But I digress.

German Sourdough Rye Beer Dutch Oven Bread Ingredients

The ”optional” but very important ingredients

The Barley Malt powder I use to add extra flavour and crunch is available on the German Amazon page. It’s not strictly necessary, but I find it adds this particular “Oomph” to it, that I was missing before. One pack lasts me ages, as I only use about 2 teaspoons per large bread. I found that this is what bakeries usually use and what makes the bread so addictive.
Both the malt sirup and beer enhance that maltiness again and make it incredibly more-ish.

The beer also helps with the rise. I’ve made it with water a few times and while it works, I found it to be about 1/3 lower than the beer version in the end and of course more dense.

The Vitamin C is a very recent addition, which I found in a video about Bánh mì buns, as it strengthens the gluten and makes the bread rise easier and a tiny bit lighter. Plus it adds to the crust forming. It’s pure Vitamin C powder , which you can also use to flavour water. We use very little here, so it will last you for a long time. Though I started to include it in many baked goods now and found the results excellent.
None of the links here are affiliated or sponsored in any way. The products are just what I got and found to work.

Caraway is what gives classic German bread it’s typical flavour. There can be a mix of spices in some breads, but caraway has an affinity with rye and tangy flavours (it’s also often used in Sauerkraut for easier digestion), which makes it a perfect match here. You can leave it out if you don’t enjoy it. Though it goes amazing with cheese on top if you use it.
Mixed seeds are for added crunch, which I enjoy. They are purely optional.

German Sourdough Rye Beer Dutch Oven Bread Dough just mixed

This is how the dough looks right after mixing all ingredients together with a spoon. Note that it is pretty wet and sticky. It’s not the classic smooth dough, that comes away from the bowl.

What to do with the sourdough if I don’t bake every week?

For the sourdough starter: I now keep it in my fridge. A fairly small portion, maybe 1/2 of a jam jar, less than I need for the next bread. I’ve kept it unused for up to 2 months, then tipped out the liquid on top, maybe, if I could be bothered, scraped off the top layer, which looked a little grey (not mouldy though) and underneath had perfectly fine and fresh-looking sourdough starter, which gets happily bubbling away within a day or two once fed, depending on temperature.

If you do feed it and have too much, you can use the discard in a million recipes. Try my Sourdough Protein Pancakes or Sourdough Oatmeal White Chocolate cookies with Black Garlic. And the fed sourdough? Even more options! No Yeast Sourdough Wholewheat Pizza Crust for example. Or Pretzel Buns.

German Sourdough Rye Beer Dutch Oven Bread Dough risen

And here is the dough after a good nights sleep. Easily doubled in size and super active. And very very soft. This is still no “classic” easy workable sourdough. Use a silicone spatula to scrape it out of the bowl, ideally onto a floured or semolina dusted sheet of baking parchment, to save yourself the cleanup and have an easy way to lift it into the dutch oven later.

At this point you will fold it 3 times into thirds, turning it by 90 degree each time. Then let it rest for another hour or two, loosely covered with clingfilm or a clean kitchen towel. Or both. Because it likes it warm.

Doesn’t sourdough require a lot of measuring and tending to?

Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I used scales or even cups to measure flour or water for it. I usually just throw in 3-6 heaped tablespoons of flour, depending on my starting amount (if you want to make different breads, you can also use plain white flour. Or wholemeal. Or whatever you have on hand. Sourdough is very forgiving) and top it off with enough filtered drinking water to make a thick pancake like consistency and at least double the original amount.

You can’t overfeed sourdough, the little guys love a feast, but you can underfeed it, which makes it less active. If you bake more often than me, you can also leave it on the countertop and just feed it a spoonful each day, to keep it very active. There are tons of sourdough and sourdough discard recipes out there, to use it up. I will post more over time. Sourdough-Buttermilk waffles are another favourite I make regularly.

German Sourdough Rye Beer Dutch Oven Bread

As promised above, here is the result of a Sourdough Rye Beer Dutch Oven Bread that I diligently folded every 30 minutes for the first 3h. If you compare it with the cross section above, you see there really is no visible difference. Both have risen beautifully, are bouncy, chewy and moist.

Conclusion: No need for all the hassle with this no-knead dutch oven bread. It does the work all on its own over night.

So I’m a very happy German now, with crusty, malty moist rye sourdough bread for all my cravings. And you might just discover the joys of an easy to make, yet super flavourful crusty bread.


Sourdough no-knead bread, while extremely low on active work, does take a bit of pre-planning.
Feed your Starter 2 days before you want to bake your bread.
On the day before you want your bread, start the dough. This makes a rather large bread, which I tend to freeze half of, as I’m too lazy to make one every second day. Half the recipe if you want a “normal” sized bread.

German Sourdough Rye Beer Dutch Oven Bread

German Sourdough Rye Beer Dutch Oven Bread - No Knead

This recipe makes one large loaf of beautifully crusty, malty, and moist sourdough rye mix bread, similar to what you find in German bakeries, which goes well with anything from cheese over charcuterie to even sweet toppings, as it cuts through them with its slightly sour flavour. It’s fantastic to pair with stews, as a side to salad or just on its own with a bit of good Irish butter.
5 from 35 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Resting time 12 hours
Total Time 13 hours 10 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine German
Servings 24 slices
Calories 160 kcal


  • 1 cup sourdough starter recipe here:
  • 2 cups Stout (or any beer. I prefer dark ones for this)
  • ½ cup lukewarm water experiment with this. The dough should be rather sticky in the end and all flour incorporated by mixing it with a big spoon
  • 1 tsp active yeast This is a fairly chewy bread due to rye and wholewheat flour, so the yeast will help it get a little lighter
  • 1 Tbsp Barley malt extract Can be replaced by Maple Syrup or Honey, but gives a nice malty flavour
  • 2 tsp Baking Malt powder Optional. Gives a lovely colour, malty flavour and adds crunch to the crust
  • 2 tsp Vitamin C Optional
  • 3 cups white bread flour
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 2 cups einkorn flour or wholewheat bread flour.
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 3-6 Tbsp mixed seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, linseed Optional
  • 1 Tbsp Caraway seeds Optional. Very typical German


  • Stir all the wet ingredients plus yeast and barley malt together and leave the mix on the side, so the yeast can dissolve, while you mix the dry ingredients in a huge bowl. Make sure there is plenty of space in the bowl for the dough to rise. Depending on your starter and the room temperature, it can double in size.
  • Mix the wet with the dry ingredients until you don’t see any dry flour. Don’t knead. It’s supposed to look a bit rough. The sourdough will do the job overnight.
  • Cover with clingfilm and leave to stand in a warm spot for about 12h. This is no exact time. A few hours more or less won’t harm the dough. If you live in a very warm area or prepare it in summer, it might take less time and can’t stand much longer, or the rise will be impacted. I often just leave it in the fridge overnight in summer.
  • 2 hours before you want to bake it, tip the dough on a floured surface. I use semolina sprinkled baking parchment at this point (the semolina adds even more crunch to the crust), as the dough is still fairly sticky, and it allows me later to easily lift the whole thing into the hot pot. With floured hands fold in thirds about 3 times. Put in an oiled bowl or heavily floured breadbasket (if you are using parchment, you can skip the oiled or floured part). Cover with a damp towel. Leave to rest for 2 hours.
  • Put your empty Dutch oven/Cast Iron pot into the oven and preheat to the highest temperature (250 Celsius/ 480 Fahrenheit) with the lid on.
  • When it’s hot, take it out and transfer your dough into the pot.
  • If you are using parchment, make sure to cut off any large overhanging corners, so the steam stays in the pot. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, just give it a little shake to settle it and slice the top crosswise about 1cm deep. Or create a pretty pattern. Put the lid back on and put it in the oven. Set the temperature down to 220 C/420F and let it bake for 40 minutes. If you halved the recipe, bake for 30 minutes here.
  • Take off the lid. Bake for another 20 minutes, until it’s nicely browned. Check after about 15, depending on your oven. Tip it out of the pot and knock on the bottom. If it sounds hollow, it’s done. If not, put it back into the oven for longer.
  • Leave to cool on a rack for a few hours (if you can). Enjoy. 😊


This keeps in a bread box for about 4 days and freezes beautifully.
My favourite thing about the German rye sourdough bread is its incredible crust and malt flavour, so the barley malt powder and sirup are selected to emphasize those characteristics. The vitamin C adds structure, helps with the rise and more crunch to the crust.
You can easily vary this by mixing in different seeds or even crispy fried onions.
The calories and slices are a very rough estimation, as everyone likes their slices differently. 


Calories: 160kcal
Nutrition Facts
German Sourdough Rye Beer Dutch Oven Bread - No Knead
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword Healthy, High Fibre, sourdough
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. Anonymous

    If using sourdough why do I need yeast?

    • Sonja

      I use yeast as addition since the rye and whole wheat flour are fairly heavy, so the bread gets a bit lighter if yeast is added.

  2. Liz

    5 stars
    I loved making this is a Dutch oven! Easy and so yummy with butter and jam!

    • Sonja

      Thank you. 🙂

  3. Dennis

    5 stars
    You’re sourdough bread looks phenomenal! I’m passing your recipe on to a friend that makes sourdough, I know shes going to love it.

    • Sonja

      Thank you, I hope she enjoys it 🙂

  4. Elizabeth

    5 stars
    So easy to make and love that you don’t have to knead! Tastes delicious, too!

  5. Swathi

    5 stars
    I like sourdough rye bread with beer, I have tried earlier, I need to try this one.


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