Lithuania Rye Bread Recipe


Ruginė Duona: Lithuanian Dark Rye

Lithuanian Rye Bread (Ruginė Duona)

Lithuanian Rye Bread (Ruginė Duona)

We are pleased to present this traditional Lithuanian rye bread recipe from the kitchen of Rima Kleibaitė who was born in Vilnius, Lithuania and now resides in Toronto, Canada. Rima is an active member and contributor on Our Mom’s Lithuanian Recipes and we are honored to share her recipe!

Raugas (Starter)

  • 5 TBS rye flour
  • water, at room temperature
  • yeast (optional)

Preparation time: 3 days

In a half-liter glass jar, mix the rye flour and some room temperature water and keep it in a warm place. The consistency has to be like sour cream. Mix every 12 hours and keep it like that for three days. It will have a nice yeasty aroma and it will start to bubble. If it is not bubbling, you may add some yeast. Don’t get discouraged – just have patience.

Jar of Bubbling Starter (Raugas)

Jar of Bubbling Starter (Raugas)

After three days, you may either start the process of bread making, or put the starter in the refrigerator. If you refrigerate it, when you take it out you need to “restart” it again by adding a few tablespoons of flour and some water and then keeping it at room temperature (the warmer the better) for 12 hours.

While it is in the refrigerator the starter needs to breathe. A good idea is to punch some holes in the metal lid that goes with the jar in which you have mixed your raugas (starter).

This is the raugas in the morning after three days. The bubbles are a great indicator of how the bread will look and that the starter is working.

Rye Bread (Ruginė Duona) Base

  • 2 kg (about 5 lbs.) stone ground rye flour
  • 1 to 2 cups all purpose flour
  • water
  • 2 TBS caraway seeds, optional
  • 5 TBS sugar
  • 3 TBS honey
  • 4 tsp salt

Preparation time: 30 hours

Step 1: Pour the raugas into a bowl and add 2 TBS of rye flour. Add some lukewarm water and mix. You can use a metal or glass bowl for that since a good raugas may “climb out” of your half-liter jar. This will be the base of your bread.

Start on a Friday morning, before work, and bake it Saturday at about 2 p.m. Also, on Friday evening you must be able to mix the dough and you will need about 20 minutes for that.

Step 2: After your base has rested on the counter for 12 hours, take a very large bowl (would not suggest using plastic) and into it add 2 cups of rye flour and the caraway seeds (if you are using them).

Boil about 3 cups of water and pour over the flour and caraway seeds. Mix well using a whisk or wooden spoon. Mix it quickly and well, so there are no dry spots. Let it cool to room temperature. You can keep on mixing it to cool faster.

Step 4: Rye Flour Was Added To Base

Step 4: Rye Flour Was Added To Base

Step 3: Once this mixture from Step 2 is at room temperature, add your base and mix well. Add another two to three cups of rye flour.

Step 4: In this picture, the additional rye flour has been added to the base. You will have to use wet hands at the end to make the top nice and even.

Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel. A rolling pin can be laid over the bowl to keep the tea towel from falling into the dough.

Leave this mixture rest overnight for 12 hours in the kitchen in a warm place with no drafts.

Half way through the proofing, this is how the bread dough will look (Figure 4A).

Step 5: This is what you should see the next morning (Figure 5).

Figure 4A: Dough Proofed Halfway

Figure 4A: Dough Proofed Halfway

Step 6: IMPORTANT! At this point, before you do anything else, add to a half-liter glass container 2 – 3 TBS of this risen dough! Add 2 – 3 TBS rye flour and some lukewarm water. Mix and let sit in a warm place. This is how to produce the most important ingredient, the raugas/starter for the next time.

After the new starter has had a chance to sit for 12 hours in a warm place, place it in the refrigerator. It can stay there for a long time (up to half a year). The next time you are ready to bake bread, take the starter from the fridge, add 2 TBS of rye flour and some lukewarm water. Mix and keep it on the counter for 12 hours. It should have the consistency of sour cream. This is usually the first step that should be done a day before you plan to bake.

Step 7: In another small bowl mix 5 TBS sugar, 3 TBS honey, and 4 tsp of salt. (If you are allergic to honey, omit it and use more sugar). Add some hot water to help with mixing it. When the mixture is not hot anymore, pour it into the bowl with the risen dough.

Figure 5:  Rye Dough Proofed Overnight

Figure 5: Rye Dough Proofed Overnight

Step 8: Add another 3 cups of rye flour and 1 cup of regular all purpose white flour. Mix it all very well. If it gets too hard to mix with a wooden spoon, ask someone to help you, or wet your hands and mix with your hands. This flour is extremely sticky.

TIP: before putting your hands into the dough, get the baking pan ready. You will need a 9″ by 12″ pan lined with parchment paper.

Mixed all of the ingredients well; wet your hands and place the dough into parchment lined baking pan. Keep wetting your hands and make the top nice and even. You may rub some oil on top of the dough to prevent it from drying. It also gives the crust a glossy look.

Step 9:  Proofed And Ready To Bake

Step 9: Proofed And Ready To Bake

Let bread dough rise for another four hours. In the winter or in an air-conditioned place, it might have to be left to rise overnight.

Step 9: Here the bread has risen nicely and is ready to be baked.

Step 10: Bake for the first 10 minutes at 400° F, then turn down the oven temperature to 350°. Bake time will vary with loaf size — usually 55 minutes to an hour. After 45 to 50 minutes, check the bread with a toothpick and also knock on the bottom of the loaf after lifting it from the pan with the parchment paper just slightly. If the sound is nice and clear, it is ready.


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Lithuanian Poppy Seed Roll Recipe


Pyragas Su Aguonomis: Lithuanian Easter Dessert

Lithuanian Poppy Seed Roll

Lithuanian Poppy Seed Roll

This heavenly Lithuanian dessert gets its luscious flavor from poppy seeds and honey. Rolled with strudel-like layers of pastry dough and spiked with raisins, this poppy seed roll is so moist and unusual that you may crave an extra slice.

It overflows with exquisite poppy seeds, so grab a fork to enjoy every sticky morsel.

Lithuanian poppy seed rolls are popular Easter desserts, but can be served for any occasion. If you fancy sweet breakfast pastries, this may be your new favorite — especially with a cup of hot coffee or tea.

From the Kitchen of Christiana Noyalas (Naujalis)


Stretching The Dough

Stretching The Dough

  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 ⅓ sticks butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup water
  • ⅛ tsp salt


  • 2 ¾ cups poppy seeds
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup honey, heated to a thin consistency


  • 2 TBS melted butter

Preheat oven to 325°.

This Poppy Seed Roll Is Ready To Bake

This Poppy Seed Roll Is Ready To Bake

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle it with the salt and then form a well in the center of the flour. Pour in the melted butter and water. Mix the ingredients by hand into a smooth pastry dough.

Cover a table with a clean, lint-free table cloth. Work the dough with your hands as you would to stretch strudel or pizza dough in the air. Place the stretched dough on the cloth and continue stretching it by pulling it with your hands from the center and from the edges. Continue stretching the dough until it is very thin and translucent.

Spread the poppy seeds evenly over the dough to within an inch of the edge. Top the poppy seeds with the raisins and then sprinkle with sugar. Top with drizzled honey.

Lift one end of the table cloth so that the dough can be rolled. Carefully continue lifting and rolling until the dough is completely rolled into the shape of a log. Place the poppy seed roll on a well greased baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Baste with half of the melted butter. Bake for 15 more minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and baste with the remaining butter.

Allow to cool. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to four days. Slice and serve.

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