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3 from 1 vote
Czech bread
Český Chléb
Prep Time
1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
2 hrs
Český chléb is the traditional Czech bread. Crisp to perfection, it is prepared, like many slavic breads, with rye flour.
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Czech, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 3 loaves
Author: Renards Gourmets
For the leaven
  • cups whole rye flour
  • cups warm spring water , at 95 F / 35 C
  • cup bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
For the bread
  • 4 cups bread flour (+ 1 cup / 150g for the work surface and decor)
  • 9 cups whole rye flour
  • Prepared leaven
  • teaspoons salt
  • About 2½ cups water , at 95 F / 35 C (adjust based on flours)
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  1. Leaven is prepared over 3 days.
First day
  1. In a large glass bowl, whisk together ¼ cup (60 ml) lukewarm water with ½ cup (50 g) whole rye flour.

  2. Cover the bowl and let it ferment for 24 hours at room temperature (about 70 F / 22 C).

Second day
  1. In another bowl, whisk together ½ cup (120 ml) spring water, 1 cup (100g) whole rye flour and the sugar.

  2. Add this mixture to the preparation obtained in the first day and mix well.

  3. Cover and let sit again for 24 hours at room temperature (about 70 F / 22 C).

Third day
  1. In a first bowl, whisk together 1 cup (100 g) bread flour and ½ cup (120 ml) water.

  2. In a second bowl, whisk together 1 cup (100 g) whole rye flour and ½ cup (120 ml) water.

  3. Add these two preparations to the preparation of the day before and mix.
  4. Cover and let ferment for 10 hours at room temperature (about 70 F / 22 C).

  5. Leaven is ready to use.
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, pour all the bread ingredients except the salt and water.
  2. Knead at medium speed by gradually adding the water.
  3. Adjust the amount of water, the dough should be slightly sticky.
  4. Add the salt, and knead on medium speed for 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, and cut it in 3 equal pieces.
  6. Place these three pieces on the work surface and space them well. Cover them with a cloth and let them rise at room temperature for 3 hours.
  7. At the end of this first rise, generously flour the work surface. For 3 dough balls quickly without working the dough too much.
  8. Place each ball of dough in a large separate floured bowl. The seam should be facing upward, so that when it is placed on the baking tray, it will be at the bottom of the bread.
  9. Flour the top of each ball of dough and cover the 3 bowls with a slightly damp cloth. Refrigerate for 12 hours.
  10. After 12 hours, preheat the oven to 460 F / 240 C for about 15 minutes with a baking sheet filled with water.

  11. Carefully place the 3 balls of dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper by turning each bowl over. Space them well.
  12. Cut each ball of dough quickly with a blade.

  13. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
  14. Let sit on a cooling rack as the bread loaves come out of the oven.