Traditional Ruisleipä Recipe

Dish recipes: Ruisleipä
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Ruisleipä, or Finnish rye bread, is a cornerstone of Finnish cuisine. Known for its dense texture and tangy flavor, this hearty bread is made from a sourdough starter and whole-grain rye flour. It is a staple in Finnish households, enjoyed with butter, cheese, or as a base for open-faced sandwiches.


2 cups (0.48 kg) sourdough starter

4 cups (1 liter) water

6 cups (0.72 kg) whole-grain rye flour

1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons honey or molasses


Prepare the Dough:

In a large bowl, mix the sourdough starter and water until well combined. Add the honey or molasses and mix thoroughly.

Add the Flour:

Gradually add the rye flour and salt to the mixture, stirring until a sticky dough forms. The dough will be very sticky and dense, which is typical for rye bread.

Knead the Dough:

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. You may need to add more flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the surface.

First Rise:

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place for 3-4 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Shape the Loaves:

Punch down the dough and divide it into two equal portions. Shape each portion into a round or oval loaf. Place the loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Second Rise:

Cover the loaves with a damp cloth and let them rise for another 2-3 hours, or until they have doubled in size again.

Preheat the Oven:

Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Place a baking stone or an inverted baking sheet in the oven to heat up.

Bake the Bread:

Transfer the loaves to the preheated baking stone or sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Cool the Bread:

Remove the loaves from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack before slicing.


Ruisleipä is best enjoyed fresh with a smear of butter. It also pairs wonderfully with cheeses, smoked fish, and cold cuts. For a traditional Finnish experience, try it with gravlax and dill sauce.

Ruisleipä, with its robust flavor and dense texture, is a timeless Finnish classic that brings a taste of Finland to your kitchen. This bread is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients, making it a healthy addition to any meal. Baking Ruisleipä at home is a rewarding experience that fills your home with the comforting aroma of freshly baked bread.