Lublin Rye/Chleb Lubelski (Poland)


Rye %: 100%
Stages: 3-stage sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture
Start to Finish: 24-28 hours
Hands-on Time: 35-40 minutes
Yield: One 2¼ lb/1.0 kg loaf

Lublin Rye, which I found in the Polish bread blog Adam Piekarz (“Adam’s Bakes”) appeals to me on many levels. Firstly, its history: according to Adam, “back in the 1960s, when the content of rye bread was regulated by the [Communist] state, Lubelski was considered a great luxury because it used 100% white rye flour, which was available only at certain times of the year.” Second, it’s the most basic of rye breads, containing only rye flour, water, salt and sour culture. If nothing else, I was expecting a bread that showcased the subtlety of white rye and the balance of a three-stage sponge.

Three-stage sponges are especially interesting from a technical and chemical perspective. The first stage, which generally hydrates at 100-120%, is aimed at strengthening the yeast, i.e., leavening power of the sponge. The second stage, which is much stiffer – in this case, only 57% hydrated – is designed to promote the development of the lactic acid bacteria, with the low hydration favoring the production of acetic, rather than lactic acid. Finally, the third stage, again hydrated to around 100%, brings the microorganisms back onto balance, resulting a a robust culture with well-defined acidity and solid leavening power.

The process, albeit a bit time-challenged, was really enjoyable. The sponges developed beautifully and the dough came out of the mixer moderately firm and easy to handle. Nor did the bread disappoint: my effort was rewarded with a tender, close-crumbed loaf whose subtle, nicely balanced sour played against the subtle sweet nuttiness of the white rye. I at the first slice unadorned, and then with a light coating of sweet butter, which let the flavors come shining through. That evening, we filled it with pastrami and cole slaw, for which the Lubelski proved itself a perfect complement.

Stage 1 sponge (Day 1, Evening):

Ingredient Grams Ounces Baker’s
White rye flour 40 1.40 100%
Warm (105°F/41°C) water 40 1.40 100%
Rye sour 20 0.70 50%



In the mixer bowl combine the Stage 1 sponge ingredients by hand.





Cover and ferment at room temperature (70°F/21°C) overnight, 8-10 hours. The sponge will have become very bubbly and visibly expanded.



Stage 2 sponge (Day 2, Morning):

Ingredient Grams Ounces Baker’s
White rye flour 100 3.55 100%
Warm (105°F/41°C) water 40 1.40 40%



Add the water to the Stage 1 sponge and stir until evenly dissolved, then add the flour, kneading by hand into a stiff dough.




Cover and ferment at room temperature until doubled in volume, 6-8 hours.




Stage 3 sponge (Day 2, Afternoon):

Ingredient Grams Ounces Baker’s
White rye flour 215 7.60 100%
Warm (105°F/41°C) water 285 10.05 133%



Add the water to the Stage 2 sponge and stir until evenly dissolved, then add the flour and mix into a smooth dough.





Cover and ferment at room temperature until the sponge becomes bubbly and expands to at least twice its original volume, 5-7 hours.



Final Dough (Day 2, Evening):

Ingredient Grams Ounces
White rye flour 365 12.85
Warm (105°F/41°C) water 100 3.55
Salt 11 0.40


Add the final dough ingredients to the Stage 3 sponge and use the dough hook to mix at low (KA2) speed until the dough comes together and starts climbing the dough hook, 8-10 minutes. Cover and ferment at room temperature until the dough has visibly grown, about 30 minutes.





Turn the dough onto a well-floured work surface.





Use floured hands to shape the dough into a batard or boule and place on a well-floured peel, if using a baking stone, or on a parchment-lined sheet pan.




Cover and proof at room temperature until the loaf has grown to 1½ times its original size and the surface shows cracks or broken bubbles, 60-75 minutes.



Preheat the oven to 480°F/240°C with the baking surface in the middle and a steam pan on a lower shelf. Bake 5 minutes with steam, then remove the steam pan, lower the temperature to 410°F/210°C and bake until the crust is light brown and the internal temperature is at least 198°F/92°C, about 30 minutes. Turn off the oven, spray or brush the loaf with water and bake with residual heat for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.


Baker’s Percentages:

Ingredient g %
White rye flour 720 100.00%
Water 465 64.58%
Salt 11 1.53%
Rye sour culture 20 2.78%
TOTAL FORMULA 1,216 168.89%
Flour prefermented 355 49.31%


  • Will Alexander

    June 2, 2016

    Thanks for the thorough easy to follow formula. It’s a great rich bread. I don’t know how you collect these rye formula’s so again I thank you! Great job.

  • Trish

    June 11, 2016

    Trying this one…don’t have white rye but my Mum is Polish…so its a start! Our flour here in New Zealand is very limited. Only seen one rye and it seems ‘medium’. Temp of water seems very hot.

    • Stanley Ginsberg

      June 11, 2016

      Medium rye will work just as well, but will produce a darker, stronger-flavored bread. The water temperatures assume that the final temperature of the sponge/dough will be closer to the 84F/28C “sweet spot” for fermentation after the water comes in contact with the cooler bowl and other ingredients.

  • Trish

    June 11, 2016

    Thanks Stanley. I think my rye flour was not ‘right’, in the morning the sponge was flat and covered in a layer of water. I added another 100g rye but not the 40g water (from day 2 sponge) It started to look better, but I decided not to carry on and added 300g white and 30g whole wheat. So it’s about 30% rye now. I am sorry I could not complete your recipe as it does look great.

  • Agnieszka

    October 24, 2016

    A tiny detail: the name of Adam’s blog would better translate as “Adam the Baker”. And thank you for pointing me to a Polish blog about bread baking! 🙂 I found your site by first finding your new book on Amazon, and it seems that it started a windfall of good finds: your blog, Adam’s blog, and a source for a variety of rye flours! I better get baking soon 🙂

  • Joanna

    May 28, 2018

    Thank you for this recipe! The bread turned out really tasty and the crumb is just right (I used King Arthur white rye). However, the loaf is flat as a pancake. I used to bake professionally, so I’d like to think I know what I’m doing 🙂 but I don’t know how to bake this bread as a free standing loaf with 100% rye. What’s the secret?

    • Stanley Ginsberg

      May 28, 2018

      Hard to know why your bread came out flat without knowing details about how you prepared it. My immediate thought, however, is that you may need to reduce the hydration, since rye is extremely hydrophilic and (based on your screen name) you may be living in a humid environment.

      Hope this helps.

      • Joanna

        June 9, 2018

        You were absolutely correct — thank you! I reduced the hydration and it worked out great. And yes, it’s quite humid here 🙂 I actually grew up in Poland but don’t remember this bread. We were more into really dark whole-grain rye breads. My favorite was called “honey wholemeal” and it was very heavy and moist. I still haven’t found a recipe that would produce something resembling that bread. Thank you for keeping these bread traditions alive!

    • Abe

      August 24, 2018

      I’ve just started the first sponge. Will let you know my results.

  • Boguslaw

    August 30, 2019

    How is the result


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