Sourdough Steiner Brot

Sourdough Steiner Brot

This week, I used my sourdough starter to make Steiner bread. This hearty, seeded loaf is one of the finest “German” loaves of bread I have baked and is perfect for a Rueben or pastrami on rye with Swiss cheese.

History of Steiner Brot

Hans Röckenwagner introduced Steiner Brot (bread) in Das Cookbook, explaining that Rudolf Steiner, who was an early twentieth-century Austrian philosopher and reformer, was also a health-food guru. “Steiner,” he said,  “was famous for combining rye flour, honey, and water to make a bread base without any leavening agents like sourdough starter.”

This recipe adapted from Das Cookbook uses leftover bread as the base instead of flour. Röckenwagner also adds both sourdough starter and yeast (but you know how I feel about that from other posts) to make what he calls “a slightly lighter loaf than the original Steiner.”

My Adaptation

My adaptation uses all sourdough for the levain and adds in a long, slow rise in the refrigerator overnight. This method helps the bread stay moist and fresh for several days.



Steiner Base

  • 2¼ cups (540 g)  water
  • 1 cups (125 g) bread crumbs,
    (I used rye bread)
  • 3 Tbl (30 g) raw sunflower seeds
  • 3 Tbl (30 g) sesame seeds
  • 3 Tbl (30 g)whole flax seeds
  • ⅔ cup (60 g) old-fashioned oats
  • 1 Tbl (17 g) Real salt
  • 2 tsp (2 g) honey
  • 3 Tbl (3 g) extra-virgin olive oil 
  1. To make the Steiner base, place water, bread crumbs, all three seed types, oats, salt, honey, and olive oil in a medium bowl.
  2. Stir to combine
  3. Cover loosely and allow to soak overnight (at least 12 hours) at room temperature


  • Steiner Base (from above)
  • 2 cups (480 g) lukewarm water
  • ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon (100 g) active sourdough starter
  • 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cups (300 g) whole-wheat flour
  • ½ cup rye (61 g) flour (medium or dark)
  • ½ cup (25 g) wheat bran
  • ¾ cup (115 g ) chopped hazelnuts
  1. To make the bread dough, combine Steiner base, warm (but not hot) water, and sourdough starter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. 
  2. Mix on low speed to combine. 
  3. Add all-purpose, whole-wheat, and rye flours, wheat bran, and hazelnuts. 
  4. Next, cover mixer with a kitchen towel (to prevent the flour from spilling out of the bowl), and mix on low speed until ingredients come together—about 30 seconds. 
  5. Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead on medium-low speed for 10 minutes. 
  6. The dough will be very sticky. Remove dough hook, loosely cover the bowl, and allow the mixture to rest for 30 minutes. 
  7. Divide dough between two 1-pound loaf pans (approximately 9” × 5” or 8½” by 4½”; preferably metal, but glass pans also work). 
  8. Roughly smooth tops, sprinkle with oat-seed topping (see below), and press on topping lightly to adhere. 
  9. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight. 
  10. Or, to bake immediately, leave dough uncovered and set aside in a warm spot to rise until nearly doubled about 1 hour.
  11. Thirty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 400°F (205°C), place baking racks in the middle of the oven, and if the dough has risen overnight, remove loaves from refrigerator and remove plastic wrap. 
  12. Bake loaves, uncovered, for 25 minutes. 
  13. Lower temperature to 325°, rotate pans from the front to the back of the oven and bake until golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes longer. 
  14. Total baking time is about 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Oat-Seed Topping

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted, shelled sunflower seeds, 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds,  2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats


  1. To make the oat-seed topping, mix together sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and oats in a small bowl

The recipe makes two standard bread-pan loaves, which I used, but a more extended Pullman pan would made a beautiful sandwich loaf to last a week.

What is your favorite rye bread recipe? and would you share it in the comment section below.


Author: Darryl Alder lives with his wife in Riverside Lodge, which is their home, along the Provo River in Utah. He is a retired career Scouter and outdoorsman who spent many hours over a campfire using a Dutch oven and loves sharing recipes for the kitchen and the campfire alike. You can read many of his recipes on this site by searching for Sourdough Saturday or Recipes on the top right-hand side of the blog

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