Latvian Rye Bread feat. ZeMe

This is a rather surprising story. Being from Estonia, I love a very special aromatic rye bread with caraway seeds, a thin crust and wonderful aroma. Now that I don’t live there, I miss this bread a lot and always bring it back with me when I travel to Estonia. I never thought of baking it myself, as I was sure the recipe was really complicated and long. Looking for Latvian recipes, I found one of baking bread, which looked so similar to what I love – and the recipe seemed suspiciously simple to me. So, I decided to give it a try, and what a surprise! It had the taste of my favorite bread! So, thanks to this investigation I found what I was looking for over many years! It is so good and easy, and I encourage you to try it! It remains fresh for about a week if you can hold back and do not eat it up earlier 🙂 .

ZeMe is a duo of two exciting artists – Laima Jansone, the queen of the Latvian zitter called kokles, and DJ Monsta, the master of the turntables and electronica. Find out more about ZeMe


This recipe makes 1 loaf (around 740 g / 26 oz.)

rye flour 375 g (13.2 oz)
buttermilk, or kefir 300 ml (10 oz)
apple juice 40 ml (1.4 oz)
sugar 2 tbsp
salt 1 tbsp
instant yeast 2 g (0.07 oz)
caraway seeds 1/2 tbsp


1. Warm the buttermilk to about 40°C (104°F). Test the temperature with a digital thermometer or by putting a couple drops on the inside of the wrist – it should not burn.

2. In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients together, then add all liquids.

3. Mix well with a hand mixer with stirring attachments, or stand mixer fitted with dough hook or paddle attachment, for about 10 min.

4. Flatten the dough with wet hands.

5. Cover the bowl with a dry tea towel and place in a warm spot at around 25°C (77°F) to rise for about 2 hours.

6. Preheat the oven to 250°C (485°F).

7. Line a baking tray with the parchment paper.

8. When the dough has risen, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and form a loaf.

9. Place the loaf on the lined baking tray, cover with a dry tea towel, and let it rise for about 30 minutes.

10. When the dough has risen, moisten the loaf with cold water.

11. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C (356°F) and bake for another 25 minutes.

You can also try my favorite snack: fried rye bread slices with salt and garlic. Fry bread slices on both sides in vegetable oil in a pan till golden brown and crispy. Rub with garlic and sprinkle with salt.