Black Bread Recipe

A hearty black bread - caraway-crusted, and flecked with dashes of grated carrot. It's dark, dense with rye, and perfect when toasted then topped with a fat smear of dill butter.

Black Bread

As promised, black bread. It's what I crave when I think of winter-time baking, and I've been making consecutive loaves over the past few weeks. Caraway-crusted, flecked with dashes of grated carrot, it's dark and hearty, and perfect when toasted then topped with a fat smear of dill butter. This is a hodgepodge of a recipe that isn't shy with the rye flour, and stems from a version of black bread in Dan Lepard's Short & Sweet. I use Dan's ingredient list and the method of bread-making I learned as a kid. Pretty much - mix, rise, punch, rise, bake.

Black Bread Recipe

What you end up with here is a rustic, elbows-on-the-table style of crusted loaf with an assertive caraway-molasses streak. Once it's out of the oven, use your best butter to top it. Or, let a slab of it sit under a broiler topped with your favorite melty cheese - either gruyere or goat cheese does the trick. Beyond that, allow me to tell you what I've made of it. For lunch: An open-faced sandwich on toasted Black Bread, with the dill butter from SNED, a bit of sautéed kale, and a fried egg. Remains of a two-day-old loaf? Cubed, tossed in a bit of garlic butter and toasted into croutons. And dare I tell you that this bread was made for fondue? Because it was.

Black Bread

If you're ready to use your oven some more, here’s where you can browse all the baking recipes. This focaccia is a beauty, and you likely have most of the ingredients for this Easy Little Bread. Don’t miss this braided onion bread, or the Big Sur Bakery Hide Bread. And this oatmeal bread is so good, with lots of opportunity for variations. Have fun baking!

I hope all of you are enjoying the start of the new year. The citrus flood has hit, and I find myself binging on sweet, sweet clementines. Now I'm just waiting on the kishus. xo -h

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Black Bread

4.48 from 23 votes

This recipe calls for carrots, which add nice flecks of color, but you can do a potato version as well. Also, I use molasses here, but a lot of you (particularly outside the U.S.) tend to ask me for alternatives - black treacle, or honey will also work. Honey will give you a lighter bread though. For those of you skittish about yeast doughs, I tend to let my dough rise on top of my stove when then oven is on, but a sunny spot usually works nicely too.

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 320 - 400 ml warm water (105 - 115F)
  • 1 teaspoon natural cane sugar / brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground espresso beans
  • 1/4 + cup / 70 ml molasses
  • 3 teaspoons caraway seeds, plus more for topping
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • ~2 cups / 150 g coarsely grated carrot (2 large)
  • 1 1/3 cup / 150 g rye flour
  • ~3 1/4 cup / 15 oz / 425 g bread flour (or unbleached all -purpose flour), plus more for dusting
  • olive oil for kneading and oiling baking sheet
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk, water, or milk
  1. In a small bowl whisk the yeast with 1 1/3 cups / 320 ml of the warm water and sugar, and set aside until foamy. If the yeast doesn't activate, try again.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the cocoa, coffee, molasses, caraway, butter, and salt. Stir constantly until just melted. You want the mixture to be lukewarm when you add it to the other of the ingredients.
  3. Combine the yeast mixture with the grated carrot and molasses mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add the flours, and stir until you've got a soft, tacky, cohesive dough. If you'r dough is too dry, add more of the warm water a bit at a time. Alternately, if your dough is a bit too wet, and you need to add a bit more flour, do so. Turn the dough out onto your counter and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and springy. Note: you can do this step using the dough hook on your mixer.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball, rub with a bit of olive oil, and place seam-side down into an oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rise in a warm, cozy place for 1- 2 hours or until the dough increases in size by at least half. At this point, gently press down, with a closed fist, across the surface of the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, and coerce into a pleasant-shaped round. Place directly on a very lightly oiled baking sheet, then cover loosely with a floured tea cloth or plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, another hour. Uncover, brush gently with buttermilk, sprinkle with a dusting of flour, ~1 teaspoon caraway seeds, and use a serrated knife to slash an 'X' deeply across the dough (do your best not to deflate the loaf). 

  5. Bake for 20 minutes at 425F / 220C. Dial back the heat to 350F / 180C, and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until the loaf develops a structured, toasted-bottomed crust, and the loaf sounds a bit hollow when you knock on it. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes on a rack before slicing into.


Make one extra-large loaf.

Prep Time
4 hrs 5 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
4 hrs 50 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

Post Your Comment


This bread is gorgeous! I love it.


I have been obsessed with black cocoa for the last several years. I'm thisclose to making this (I'd have to turn the heat on in my loft though HA!) and using the black cocao to make this black bread even that much more black. Any objections from those who are better bread bakers than I?

Mid Mod Tom

This is so gorgeous and so full of interesting flavors...I can't wait to bake this bread. I will be using another dark colored millet flour as we don't get Rye here in India. Molasses(local) we get and I am glad :-)

sangeeta khanna

LOVE that this bread has caraway seeds! I will definitely be eating it with goat cheese when I make it, and I'll be using it to make croutons just a few days later!

Anjali @ The Picky Eater

This recipe looks awesome. One question, though: do you mean 3 TB of caraway seeds, or really 3 tsp?

HS: Hi Jen - no 3 teaspoons is correct. But if you like more, you can certainly up the amount in future loaves. Or add other types of seeds.


sounds perfect for winter weekend baking! what setting (speed) would you use if using the dough hook on your mixer for the kneading?

HS: Hi MeliSsa, shoot for medium.


Love the rich, dark flavours of the ingredients in this bread. I'd eat this anytime but agree it would be particularly wonderful in cooler weather.

leaf (the indolent cook)

Absolutely Beautiful - I love the rye, carrots and molasses. And just the sound of dill butter makes me melt. Love everything about this.


This bread looks gorgeous, Heidi. I've stuck to a Tartine Bread routine for a good long while now, but I do love a good dark rye. Maybe I'll have to try tweaking the usual Tartine loaf to see if I can get something that looks a little more like this. Thanks for the inspiration.


Coffee, cocoa powder, molasses...all in bread? Oh I am sooo sold. This is my perfect bread! Bring on the black bread, any day. And citrus per your last too. Been going to town on it!

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

I have just recently got into bread making and it's amazing!! Nothing like home-made fresh bread... I like the addition of caraway seeds to. I recently had bread with it on the outside and it was so delicious.


Whoa. Crusty bread with fondue sounds amazing right now. Your loaf looks gorgeous!

Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

This looks so lovely and heart-warming and nutritious and warming. It is everything that pains me about being ovenless. Bookmarking for a different life...


What a gorgeous colour and I can imagine the flavour as well! Beautiful bread Heidi! x

Maria @ Scandifoodie

This looks great!!! Could you use whole wheat flour in place of the AP flour? (I've got a bunch I'm looking to use up.)

HS: Hi Erin, I think the loaf might end up too heavy. If you want to work a bit in, I might trade out 1/3 of the apf for ww, and start there. If that works, try 50/50 on the following loaf.


Thanks for clearing this up, Monica! That sounds much easier, of course. Although one day the whole world will finally be convinced who soooo much easier it is to use a scale for measuring. (Or, for that matter, saying "1 onion, chopped" instead of "half a cup of chopped onion" - I never know which of my onions will fit the half cup ... ;-) Meantime, I've found conversion tables on the net for converting tablespoons to grams, butter-wise. What would I do without my laptop in the kitchen?


Sigrid, our butter comes in sticks, four to a pound, that are wrapped in paper with the measurements on them, so you just cut where the one tablespoon mark is. They also have marks for 1/4, 1/3 cups. It does sound silly when I explain it. By weight would be much easier and more accurate.


I live in Paris, the capitol of (boring, sorry) white bread. Every recipe for rhy bread has me drooling all over the keyboard. I will definitely try this, just two short questions: cocoa and coffee are mainly for adding colour? Can't say why but I'm hesitant about using cocoa in a bread. And could you give me an estimate how much one tablespoon butter could be in grams? (By the way: How do you Americans do that? Do you smear the butter into a tablespoon for measuring, then scratch everything out again and put in the next batch? Just wondering ...) Thanks so much, anyway. I hope this bread will be what I've been looking for for the last three years!


This not only sounds delicious, it gives me an excuse to turn on the oven and actually get the house warm...ah, bliss.


This looks great, I can't wait to try it out. I've been on a huge bread baking streak, this looks perfect for winter. Love the idea of using it for a sharp cheese fondue... yum. Thanks and I'll let you know how it goes!


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