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Bauernbrot (German Farmer’s Bread)

If you love hearty bread, Bauernbrot is for you! This German rye bread brings authentic flavor and texture together in one easy to make loaf. 

If you love hearty rye bread, Bauernbrot is for you! This German farmer's bread brings authentic flavor and texture together in one easy to make loaf. | www.CuriousCuisiniere.comGerman Bread

Germans love their bread dense and hearty.

Rye flour is a common addition to their loaves, giving them a darker color and very heavy texture.

In fact, rye is such a common bread ingredient that German breads are classified by the amount of rye content they contain.

  • Weizenbrote – “wheat bread” – at least 90% wheat
  • Weizenmischbrote – “mixed wheat bread” – wheat and rye bread with 50-89% wheat
  • Roggenbrote – “rye bread” – at least 90% rye
  • Roggenmischbrote – “mixed rye bread” – rye and wheat with 50-89% rye
  • Vollkornbrote – “whole grain bread” – breads made with ground whole grains

(Information from

Since we’re big fans of hearty bread, we really love the fact that there’s no wimpy bread when it comes to traditional German bread.

Forget American white bread!

In fact, Germans sometimes refer to their wheat bread (weizenbrote) as “white bread”, since is is so much lighter in color and flavor than the rye breads.

When we traveled in Germany, we were often offered the choice between white or brown bread for breakfast or with lunch. We typically went with brown bread, since we love hearty bread and we though that “white bread” would be what we think of as white bread here in the States. 

Imaging our surprise when we decided to try something different one meal and ordered “white bread”. What we received was still a golden brown, grainy wheat, just not quite as dense and heavy as the rye breads that we had been eating!

If you love hearty rye bread, Bauernbrot is for you! This German farmer's bread brings authentic flavor and texture together in one easy to make loaf. |

German Farmer’s Rye Bread

Bauernbrot means “farmer’s bread”, and, as the name implies, it is more common to find this kind of bread on farms. It is a bit heartier than a standard landbrot (or “country bread”), because farmers need a bread that will stick with them!

We found that farmer’s bread tends to fall in the Roggenbrote or Roggenmischbrote categories, meaning that it is so hearty because it is over 50% rye.

And, like many German breads, it uses a sourdough starter to give the bread rise and develop a beautiful, lightly sour, flavor.

As if rye and sourdough don’t pack enough flavor, many of these breads are also seasoned with one or a mixture of spices known as “German bread spice”.

What is German Bread Spice?

One thing you will notice when eating German rye bread, is that it has a very characteristic flavor. Many of the recipes we found called for “German bread spice”, which seemed to be key to creating that authentic German flavor.

German bread spice is a mixture of spices that typically includes caraway, anise, fennel, and coriander. The sweet, yet savory flavor of these spices adds a wonderful depth and sweetness to the rye bread.

In addition to adding flavor, they are wonderful medicinal spices that aid in digestion.

Rye bread packs a lot of fiber, and mixing these spices right into the bread gives your digestive system a little extra help breaking all that fiber down.

If you love hearty rye bread, Bauernbrot is for you! This German farmer's bread brings authentic flavor and texture together in one easy to make loaf. |

Our Bauernbrot Recipe

In Germany, breads can differ drastically based on region, meaning that a bauernbrot from one area’s farms won’t necessarily taste like a bauernbrot from another region’s farms.

Our bauernbrot recipe creates a dense and hearty bread that is heavy on the rye, but has enough wheat flour mixed in to create a balance, hearty bread. And, of course, we included German bread spice to give the full effect of authentic German flavor.

We do use a sourdough starter for this bread, as is quite traditional in German bread making, but if you’re not used to working with sourdough, don’t worry. Our recipe walks you through making the simple sourdough starter, and this starter only needs to rest for 24 hours before making the bread.

That means no multiple days of feeding and care before you can finally get your bread into the oven!

If you love hearty bread that is perfect for winter soups or spreading with creamy cheese spreads, then we are confident that you will love this German rye bread recipe!

If you love hearty rye bread, Bauernbrot is for you! This German farmer's bread brings authentic flavor and texture together in one easy to make loaf. |
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4.49 from 37 votes

Bauernbrot (German Farmer's Bread)

For best flavor, the starter for this bread needs to rest for 24 hours before making the bread.
Yield: 1 (7 inch diameter) loaf
Prep Time3 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time4 hrs 15 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: German
Servings: 6 people
Author: Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere


For the Starter

For the Dough

For baking

  • 1 egg white beaten with 1 Tbsp water (for the egg wash)
  • Cornmeal (to dust the baking sheet)


  • Mix all starter ingredients in a large bowl. Cover the starter with plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter for 24 hours, until very bubbly.
  • Using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add all the dough ingredients to the starter, starting with ½ c all purpose flour. Add the remaining all purpose flour as needed to help the dough come together. Knead on the mixer for 1-2 minutes, until a soft and slightly sticky ball of dough forms.* (Alternately, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 5-7 minutes.)
  • Shape the kneaded dough into a ball. Cover it with a damp tea towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for roughly 2 hours, until puffy and nearly doubled.
  • Knead the dough a couple of times (using added flour on your hands has needed) and shape it into its final round shape, pressing to flatten the round slightly. Place the shaped dough onto a cornmeal-dusted baking sheet. Brush the top of the dough with a little of the egg white mixture and cut a few slices in the top of the dough, using a serrated knife. Let the shaped dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for 40-50 minutes, until puffy.
  • Near the end of the final rising time, preheat your oven to 425F.
  • Bake the bread at 425F for 30-40 minutes, until the bread sounds hollow when tapped or a thermometer inserted into the center of the bread registers 180-185F.
  • Remove the bread from the baking sheet, and let it cool at least 10-15 minutes on a wire rack before cutting and serving.


*Because of the high volume of rye flour, this bread dough will not create the typical elasticity that you would see in a dough with a higher portion of wheat flours. (This also means that the bread will not spring in the oven as much as a wheat bread does.)


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Recipe Rating

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Ken DeBacker

Friday 30th of April 2021

I have starter sour dough in the fridge? Can you just add a cup of rye flour and water? Or should I just start a new batch of starter for this recipe?

Sarah Ozimek

Tuesday 4th of May 2021

Hi Ken. I would make a new starter for this, per the recipe. It is good to use rye flour in your starter if you want it to leaven a rye bread. The starter only takes 24 hours and you'll use it all, so you won't have to worry about having bits of another starter to care for. It would take longer to convert your existing starter to a healthy rye starter and back, and there would be more discard 'waste'. The only way I would recommend using your own starter is if you already happen to have a rye starter . Then, by all means, you could use your own and skip the starter stage of this recipe. Enjoy!

Craig B

Thursday 22nd of April 2021

Good start for a German rye bread, but your ratio of dough to starter is just wrong. I've been cooking a ton of German breads for around 5 years, have a few favorites, but they all have one thing in common: the dough flour volume to the starter flour volume is consistently 2 to 1. Yours is less than 1 to 1, which is likely why it would end up a brick. My expensive stand mixer couldn't knead it, let alone if I tried with my hands -- as written, the consistency was like taffy. I saved my version of your recipe by doubling the flour amounts in the dough, about doubling the amount of warm water (adding an extra cup into the dough), then I added another teaspoon or so of yeast just to give it a chance to avoid being a brick.

You should compare your recipe to others that are more authentic. Yours is more the consistency of a vollkornbrot, which would be fine if it had a cup or so of seeds like that bread, but without anything to break it up, it ends up super dense.

And I admit, it could be this is authentic German pumpernickel, as they eat in Germany, and most Americans do not want the typical brick that German pumpernickel bread is. I'm not saying it should be fluffy, but as this is, it is not bauernbrot. We have German bakeries here, and their bauernbrot is nowhere near this dense.

Elaine Kopetski

Friday 22nd of January 2021

Because I'm not a cook, I read the ingredients then start the recipe. I must admit I'm always surprised when it calls to use a stand mixer. I know my husband's gramma didnt have one. When she was on the farm, there wasn't electricity! She made german breads.

Sarah Ozimek

Friday 22nd of January 2021

Hi Elaine. Very true! This bread can of course be made by hand, but if you aren't familiar with working with breads like this, using a stand mixer is easier because the dough is sticky until you work it a bit. Un-experienced bread bakers who mix this dough by hand tend to add too much flour. Using the stand mixer is a way to ensure this doesn't happen.


Saturday 9th of January 2021

Hello. In the process of making this. Would it be a problem to let the starter ferment for two instead of one day? Thanks

Sarah Ozimek

Saturday 9th of January 2021

Hi Diana. I'd be afraid 2 days would be a bit much for the starter to go without feeding it. If you want to leave it that long, I would suggest letting it ferment for 6-12 hours, then refrigerate it for a day, then letting taking it back out to the counter to ferment for the final 12 hours before using. If you try it this way, let me know how it turns out!


Thursday 5th of November 2020

Hi Sarah,

What adjustments would you suggest for baking this in a sandwich loaf pan?

Sarah Ozimek

Thursday 5th of November 2020

Hi Srikanth. For a loaf pan, it might just take slightly longer to bake. I would suggest checking it every 5 minutes or so after 35 minutes and using a thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the loaf is at least 180F. Then you know the inside is done.

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