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Black Bread Recipe

Black bread was originally made with all-rye flour. It was eaten by peasants because it was less expensive and kept longer than breads containing wheat. I researched what exactly makes a bread black, and today’s cooks often use chocolate and/or coffee. I raided my pantry to see what else I could use to give it that black color. Instant chocolate pudding? Too sweet and artificial. Food coloring? It would take massive quantities. Guinness? My husband drank the last one. So here is my recipe…with coffee and chocolate.

Prep: 2.5 hours (including rise time) | Bake: 20 minutes | Makes: about 20 rolls

brown sugar, yeast, coffee, espresso coffee, bread recipes


  • 1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (you will only use a pinch initially then will add the rest later)
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour + more until bread is slightly sticky
  • 2 teaspoons salt


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine a pinch of brown sugar to the 1/4 cup warm water, then dissolve the yeast and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the water, sugar, molasses, coffee, cocoa powder, rye flour and stir well.
  3. Combine the salt and bread flour and add 2 1/2 cups to the mixer bowl.
  4. Place the bowl on the stand mixer with the dough hook attached and mix until flour is incorporated. Add additional bread flour if needed, 1/4 cup at a time. As dough starts to pull away from the sides add the bread flour 1 tablespoon at a time until you get a dough that is slightly sticky (normally you want the dough to feel tacky – like a post it note, but with rye bread, you want it a little stickier than that). Knead with the dough hook about 5 minutes.
  5. Let it rest for 5 minutes as you prepare a lightly floured surface.
  6. Knead for about 30 seconds, then form into a ball. Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap, also coated with cooking spray. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-2 hours.
  7. Punch down the dough, then tip the bowl, allowing the dough to fall onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into about 20 rolls (depending on how big you want them). Fold each roll over and place on a greased cookie sheet so the seam is on the bottom (see picture below). Cover and let rise until double in size, about 45 minutes.
  8. After they have risen, make a small x in the top with a sharp knife. Coat with an egg wash or spray with cooking spray (my favorite).
  9. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes until dark brown.

Enjoy the rich dark taste of this black bread!

brown sugar, cocoa, espresso

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