Classic Norwegian Grovbrød dark rye bread with syrup

Until I started baking myself, I was completely unaware that my favorite bread as a kid was indeed a rye bread. All I knew was that the deep flavors, the super soft interior, and that dark, crunchy crust was utterly irresistible to me.

And it still is. This bread that was invented around 1900 and became one of the most popular breads on the west coast of Norway, is still one of the most popular breads around, and you will find them in every store, all over the country.

But of course, what you’ll find in the stores is the industrialized version. What I’m sharing here is the home made, and absolutely superior version, with more of everything that’s good; More syrup, more rye, and last but not least: I always bake this using my sourdough starter.

But if you don’t have a sourdough starter, you can bake it all the same by simply removing the 100 grams sourdough starter, and replace it with 50 g wheat flour and 50 g water, plus 2 grams dry yeast, and then ferment overnight in the fridge.

If you are in a hurry, use 12 g dry yeast, and ferment the bread in a few hours at room temperature – but be warned – the quality of the bread will suffer; time is your most important ingredient when baking any bread.


  • 250 g Wheat flour
  • 125 g Rye flour, coarse (sammalt grov)
  • 125 g Rye flour, white (siktet rug)
  • 15 g Fine sea salt
  • 300 g Water
  • 50 g Dark syrup (we used Dansukker Dark Syrup)*
  • 30 g Butter
  • 100 g Sourdough starter (mine is 100 % hydration)

*If you can’t source the dark syrup, molasses would very likely be a decent substitute (I haven’t tried).


Melt the butter in a small pot. When melted, add the water and set aside.

In your baking bowl, mix all the dry ingredients well. Tip the pot with the water, then the syrup and sourdough starter and mix everything thoroughly. Let sit for 30 minutes to let everything fully hydrate.

I always use stretch and fold when baking. 4 times with 30-60 mins pause in between is sufficient for this bread. Alternatively, use your dough mixer at the lowest speed.

This dough will be sticky because of all the rye, but it’s easy enough to work with cause it’s not insanely high in hydration.

Bulk ferment until double in size, then shape into a loaf, a batard, and let proof either in a form or proofing basket.

This bread is normally baked along with 4-5 others in a pan so that they stick together in the sides, and only get a crust on the top. But I bake for two people most of the time, so I make a simple batard, and get all the more crust 😀

Score the bread if you like, brush or spray with water if you like, or leave it as it is for a more rustic look. Bake at 230 C for 30 minutes, 100 % steam the first 10 minutes.

If you don’t have a steamer oven, you can put a pan with boiling water in the bottom of your oven, and remove that after 10 minutes – it works just like a real steamer oven 🙂

This bread keeps very well for 3 days.


  1. How long do you typically proof after you shape into a batard? Can you do an overnight cold proof? Or do you leave it on the counter to proof? Thanks!

    • Hi Sarah! That depends entirely on the room temperature with my starter. In the winter it usually takes 4-5 hours in room temperature to proof, but in the summer I some times have to put it in the fridge. I usually do it on the counter though 🙂

          • Hi Sverre, only 2 grams yeast (sub for sour dough starter) for 500g of flours? Can this be correct? Seems very little.

          • Hey! Good question 🙂 A sachet of dry yeast in Norway is 11 grams, so I use 1/4 of that when fermenting overnight in the fridge, so that’s 2 or 3 grams depending on how you do the math. It will ensure a nice, slow start for the flavors to develop, and then be ready for room temp the next day, when the yeast cell count should have grown to something equal to 6 grams. Makes sense?

    • What kind of cheese is with the bread in the picture. I remember eating the bread and cheese together when I was a kid…

      • Hi Susan! I suspect it’s the Norwegian cheese called Norvegia in that picture 🙂 Could be a Gouda from Synnøve Finden too, but it’s a little bit more yellow. But there are many cheeses that goes well on this bread. Any Gouda or Swiss style cheese will work beautifully, as will the brown goat’s cheese from Norway. And I really like it with Italiensk salat ( and some ham 🙂

        Hope this helps!

    • Good luck! As long as the yeast you use is not old and have reduced cell count from the start, 2-3 grams should be plenty, unless your room temp is very cold 🙂

  2. Doubled the recipe to make two loaves. I let it double for about 5 hours, shaped and proofed in baskets for another hour. The crust was crispy and the center was soft and nice. Very nice bite, I think it was near perfect. Will certainly make it again. Thanks!

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