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

4.52 from 25 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
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Recipe Rating


I have been making this recipe for years! It’s become a treasured favorite in our household. The texture of the carrot is one of the best components.5 stars


    Yes! I love the carrot component as well. Thanks Beth!

    Heidi Swanson

I made this bread last week and ate the last stale heel today with a bit of leftover stew. So delicious… it only took a moment to decide that I need to make it again. Right now.
I deviated only in the addition of chopped, dried mission figs and the omission of the coffee because I never have any in the house.

Thank you, Heidi.5 stars


    Thankss for the nice note Joan!

    Heidi Swanson

I’ve been making this Black Bread for years now. Recipe is spot on. Never a problem. Your home will smell so good. Make garlic croutons with this for Ceaser salads and garnish on Pea Soups. CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR THIS RECIPE.5 stars


    Thanks Siggy!

    Heidi Swanson

I made this bread tonight and it was outstanding!! It was perfect topped with salted butter, and the flavor and texture were spot-on. I will definitely make this recipe again!! Thanks, Heidi!!


    Thanks BH, so happy it was a success!

    Heidi Swanson

I cant wait to try it out, looks wonderful.


This bread really surprised me. The molasses, coffee and cocoa really come out in the flavor, which is very complex. The carrots also make it incredibly moist for a brown bread. Its subtle sweetness makes it hard to say whether its better in the morning with coffee, or alongside a bowl of vege soup for dinner.


I just made a loaf of this bread this afternoon, converted a titch to use my sourdough starter, and the flavors are absolutely spectacular. I’m in love. In the photos, yours looks like it has a nice crunchy crust, which I really want! Mine is completely soft, like Swedish limpa. I followed all your instructions, so any thoughts as to why?


Made this wonderful bread this evening for dinner. Very good, especially when soaking up the last bit our soup. The house still is enveloped in the aroma of baking bread…what a great end to the day!! Thanks.

Ali Wright

Wow, this looks pretty awesome. I like that is has typically sweet ingredients, but it doesn’t seem like it would be too sweet (with only 1 tbsp sugar). Plus I love caraway!

Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

Thanks, Heidi. Craving this right now with a nice cup of hot tea! Will pass on to my friend who is breadmaking crazy right now 😉

jeri kim lowe

Loved this! It worked perfectly for me with 320g water, and 425g bread flour, 75g spelt flour and 75g ww pastry flour. Thanks for another great one.


Heidi this bread is delicious! Even though yeast isn´t my best friend, the bread turn out great, fragrant and fluffy. Everybody at home love it. Thanks for sharing this recipe.


Wow – this looks incredible… the photos have literally made my mouth water. I have a confession – I’ve never made bread. I think it’s time to give it a go!! thanks for sharing.

Melanie Ashton

Have made this bread twice and decided it works best for me using bread pans! The first time I only used rye because I discovered too late that what I thought was another bag of flour was actually cornmeal however it did rise some and had phenomenal flavor! Great success using rye four for pie crusts, Thank You Heidi!

karen G

I have been in a bread making mood lately. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

Geraldine Saucier

I used to have blackstrap molasses, but it seems to have walked off somewhere. I’ll try it with barley malt syrup, then maybe I’ll buy the molasses and make it with that. can never have too much bread.


We made this last night and it is soooo delicious! Thanks for the recipe!


I am a big fan of self made bread and the lovely taste you have in your kitchen baking it. Your bread just looks fantastic.


Okay okay…update. So we ate it with cream of cauliflower soup (made with the steaming water and evaporated milk) with a dill butter. (The dill butter could be put on the bread or swirled in the soup with bread dunked.) Everyone who has tried the bread loves it! Would it be too soon to make another loaf tomorrow?


Can’t wait to try it!! I made the ‘easy little bread’ and it was great!
But this one, this one looks amazing!


Bread for the hood. Just took it out of the oven. Delish. Huge too. My 2 1/2 year old had the most fun punching down the dough. What he ‘makes’; he’ll eat…and this is good eating! We could eat the whole loaf…going to share. Stuff this good is meant to…thanks so much for working hard to make a dummy-proof loaf! So going to try making these into dinner rolls…oh such fun! Me later tonight, “What honey? You want more than bread for dinner?!”


My husband made this yesterday, and it is delicious! I spread on some European butter and a layer of pickled relishes, and it reminded me of my days in Prague in the early 90s. Yum!

Jennifer @ Year in a Box

I made this recipe yesterday, to go with cheese soup, and is outstanding – and came out well for me, and I am not a great bread baker! Thank you so much.


This is home food at it’s finest. I can just imagine my greedy little elbows all over the counter and my grandfather smacking them down on the table, telling me to find my manners.

Katie @ ohshineon

Trying out your bread this very moment. The house smell so good! But it is going to be one hell of a loaf! Huge…. 🙂


We made this bread this weekend. This is now my favorite go-to bread for the winter. Unfortunately, I cannot try to use the leftover bread for strata or croutons this week as my kids polished it off in a day. That speaks volumes!! Thanks Heidi for such wonderful recipes that have gotten my kids to eat healthier!


I love the addition of carrots and cocoa.

Dr. Sarah Cimperman

I used to live in Germany and now I’m back in Italy. The thing I miss the most is the black bread indeed!

The life after

This bread looks amazing but the dill butter concept has spoken to my heart as well! Dill butter and smoked salmon sandwich please!!

Em (Wine and Butter)

This looks amazing: shall try this coming weekend

Ivona Poyntz

Delicious! I subbed 1/2 white whole wheat flour for the AP/bread flour and it worked wonderfully – dense but not heavy. Yum!


Hi Heidi,
In the potato version you mentioned, what kind of potato would you use, and would it be grated like the carrot?
Thanks for all your great recipes!


I made this on Saturday and it’s a great pumpernickle variation. I’ll make it again, with a few minor tweaks (as I don’t love the taste of coffee, I’ll probably cut back to 1 T).

Jean S

I make a fair amount of bread, but this will become one of my all time favourite recipes. It is absolutely delicious and moist. I baked mine on a pizza stone. Thanks Heidi for another great recipe.


Coffee, cocoa, carrots…. This truly is a bread heaven…
I love the dark color, so warm and comforting…

Reem | Simply Reem

This reminds me of the rye bread my grandparents used to eat when we were little. We called it chocolate bread and I thought it was divine! I’m so going to have to make some of this to relive those memories.

Jennifer (Delicieux)

Two smaller loaves just came out of the oven. Can’t wait to slice into them!


Looks wonderful, can’t wait to try it. Takes me back to the first time I ever had black bread, 50 years ago in a pot-luck at the university, brought to class by a pair of shy nuns. They made it themselves.


It is heavenly. I was surprised at how fast it came together. I have been looking for a good dark bread that the whole family would like. I like how the flavor is prominent but doesn’t take over and “control the world” if I use it in a sandwich. Thanks again. Carolina

Carolina Ellis

This looks so delicious! I love different bread recipes and I can’t wait to try this one out!

Destin Wedding Photographer

In posts on Jan 13, Sigrid and Monica discussed how to measure butter,. Sigrid wanted to know if American cooks soften the butter and then smear it into the tablesproon measure. Monica explained how the sticks of butter are wrapped in paper with markings to show where to cut the butter to get the desired amount. They seemed to agree that weighing the butter (in grams) would be easier and more accurate. Now, I am curious how you do that? Do you cut an approximate amount and weigh it and then cut some off if it’s too heavy, and so forth? Doesn’t sound easier to me, but I am willing. Anyone know the answer?

Hi Ginger – yes, on American sticks of butter there are markings for tablespoons. Quite honestly, for something like this, you can just eyeball it.


I just made this, and after I added the flour it seemed really sticky and more batter like than dough like, so I added maybe another cup and a half of flour until it was more manageable. Even then, after I shaped in into a round and let it rise on the pan, it spread out quite a bit. Out of the oven, the flavor is amazing but it’s pretty dense. Do you think I should have let it rise longer (I did 1.5 hrs + 1hr)? 400 ml seemed like a lot of water – is that correct?

HS: Hi Melissa – I consistently use 400 ml here, but it could be my flour/environment. i think what I’ll do is tweak the recipe to call for 320 ml to start. And then have people hold on to that extra 1/3 cup / 80 ml to add to the mixing portion later (if needed).


This bread is fantastic. Probably the best I’ve ever made. Have been eating it plain, with a little Earth Balance, and tonight, with some swiss melted on top. We can’t stop eating it. Thanks for a wonderful recipe!


Inspired by this post, I made a high moisture/no knead dough with same ingredients but proportions I know work for the hm/no knead scenario. Wonderful!!!
I have made my own bread for 30 years but the last slightly over a year converted to the different process. For me, it is the first time I’ve been able to achieve the crisp crust/perfect crumb combo. I miss the knead-rise process, BUT the new way allows me as a 1 person household to have a fresh mini-boule every day.
I had not thought to try a black bread though – thank you for the inspiration! Oh and the dill butter – yum!

Ann from Montana

Just made this today–tastes wonderful, BUT, I had trouble with the 2nd rising. It spread and got flat-ish. I then re-formed it and had to go out for about an hour. When I returned, same thing. So I just left it as is and baked it. It’s about 2 inches high and about 15 inches diameter (!). Tastes great though! Next time, I might bake it in a stainless bowl and see what happens.


Just took the bread out of the oven, waited a little while for it to cool and cut a slice-it was delicious and beautiful with the carrot flecks. This is the first loaf of bread I have made in 20 years and it has inspired me to start making bread again! Having it tonight with vegetable soup I just made…it will be a lovely meal.


Hi Hiedi – Thank you for yet another wonderful recipe. You have a talent for picking out fabulous recipes to share, as well as writing them yourself! I have a question for you. I live in southern Virginia, which is very very humid. I don’t know if that’s the reason why I have a hard time shaping dough. To me, my dough is always extremely tacky. I have a hard time kneading and shaping. Both by hand and in the mixer. I just made this bread and it’s on the first rise. It is sticky as all get out. I didn’t want to keep adding flour because I didn’t want to make it more and more dense – I did end up adding about 1/2 cup more though to make it barely more pliable. Do you have any suggestions for this issue? Thanks again for such a wonderful blog. I love making your recipes.


That looks fantastic – so wonderfully dark. I Love the addition of carrot as well…

Skye @ Skye Loves...

It’s in the oven as I write this and my whole house is filled with light notes of espresso and chocolate. I used a banneton (for the first time in my life) and it WORKED! I feel like doing a jig.


I’m addicted to this bread now. Thank you, thank you!


I made this last night, with a few changes… I subbed 1 cup of white whole wheat flour for AP, and added some chopped pickled jalapenos! It was wonderful!

Holly E

Yum. Sounds awesome. I was just saying that I wanted to make some dark rye bread to go with some homemade gravlax. I am going to make this tonight.
Citrus season is definitely here! Today my local grocery stores was sampling about 30 different kinds of citrus fruits. Amazing!


dear heidi, this looks great – do you think it would work with a little less yeast, and then rising in a cool space overnight? i make most of my breads this way, but they are not as complex (or swee) as this one. thanks!


I made this bread yesterday just as written, with the exception that I used whey (left over from making paneer) in place of the water. It is wonderful! Used the dill butter on it with soup for dinner; toasted it for breakfast. It’s more moist than dense, which was a pleasant surprise. Flavor, texture, the whole shebang is just great. Do make it!

Pam @ Sticks Forks Fingers

This looks amazing and I bet it tastes wonderful. I haven’t been terribly fond of caraway seeds, so I wonder whether it would still taste wonderful without them?

Lizzy (Good Things)

Just posting again to say that we had this bread with dinner and it was … so … delicious!! At first I was a little nervous because with all the extra flour it turned out so large, but now I’m glad – I’m looking forward to serving this bread all week – thank you for another great recipe!


I was just posting about your latest cookbook and came to get the link to your blog … and ooooh… I am going to make this TODAY. It is freezing cold outside and we will be having soup later on – not enough of a meal on it’s own, but with this black bread – winter perfection. Thanks for posting such doable recipes. Carolina

The Muse of The Day

Looks delish! I can get molasses here in Israel if I go to a specialty store, but I often use date honey as a dark-and-sticky alternative. It’s local, and way less expensive…


I have yet to dip my toe in the bread-making pool. This could be the one. Thanks for the lovely pictures. Wonderful to wake up to on a Saturday morning in Hollywood!

Tv Food and Drink

My husband made your black bread recipe this afternoon. We had it tonight with white Vermont cheddar cheese and red wine. Loved it!


Hi Heidi (from another Heidi),
I just pulled this out of the oven 2 minutes ago 🙂 Thanks for the recipe! I followed the recipe except for the flours… unfortunately I didn’t have rye flour or unbleached a.p. flour. I used some whole wheat flour (which I milled myself – more on this in a sec) and a combination of bread flour and regular all purpose flour because I ran out of bread flour! The 400mL of water ended up being far, far too much – I should have known better than to add it all from the beginning, I usually start with half! Anyway, I believe the flours I used (esp the hand-ground flour?) require a lot less moisture. I ended up having to add in twice as much all purpose flour, ending up with a frighteningly enormous loaf! Next time I will start with 200mL water and add in as needed.
(Also I used decaf filter coffee grounds instead of espresso, because that’s what I had!) Incidentally, here in Greece, molasses is easy to get – who would have thought, right? 🙂


Perfect timing! Just the other day I was looking for a good recipe for nice, dark black bread but couldn’t find one that I liked. I can’t wait to make this!


I love your description of this bread–it almost sounds like a person I’d like to meet. Maybe I’ll have to invite this bread over instead.


I saw this recipe yesterday and couldn’t wait to make it! My husband and I visited Poland and Russia in September and had so many variations of delicious brown breads. This one was great! I loved the molasses and caraway. I used instant coffee I had on hand instead of grinding espresso beans (maybe i would’ve had an even stronger coffee flavor if i had). But nonetheless it came out terrific – chewy on the outside and a light crumb interior! It is a huge loaf – could definitely make 2 – but will certainly make again.

Lisa Arnoff

Granted, I’m pregnant and fairly hormonal, but my eyes teared up when I saw these photos. Love home-baked bread, heart of the hearth, heart of the home. Super special post. Thanks.


Just popped this in the oven! Used dairy free alternatives-My son and I can’t wait to taste it.


Heidi, your photographs are lovely, you capture the beauty of food! I will try this recipes for sure!


Heidi, I’ve just thrown together this dough (sounds phenomenal!!), but it took a LOT of flour to come together. I ended up needing probably 2 more cups of bread flour before this dough was willing to come together into something not completely slack and tacky. Does this sound completely abnormal? My carrots were pretty fresh, but I didn’t think they were THAT juicy!


Just lovely! Heading out to pick up the ingredients now! One question…could I use instant espresso powder in place of the finely ground espresso beans? Are they the same thing? Would I use the same amount? Thanks so much!


Perfect. My husband and I are expats living in Sweden. The Swedish word for cumin is spiskummin and the Swedish word for caraway is kummin. What this means is that we’ve got an excess of caraway seeds we accidentally purchased when we were trying to get cumin seeds. This bread will be a great way to use up some of them and will compliment Swedish rye flour perfectly! Thanks for the recipe.


What an unusual loaf, it leaves me quite intrigued and I have to say very keen to try it.
Take care


This looks great. I am making it tonight. It would be another great experience. Thanks for your sharing.

Elva @ Gluten Free dessert

Your bread looks beautiful! I love the rustic nature of it. I’ve never attempted black bread before. Does the ground coffee give the bread a distinct coffee flavor? Or does it just harmonize with the cocoa and molasses?
I would imagine that black bread would be good smeared with cream cheese and some cherry jam… a la Nigella Lawson 🙂


This looks and sounds beyond wonderful. I have eaten one similar but with raisins. I will try this one tomorrow. Thanks for your inspiration.


Caraway seeds are such an overlooked ingredient! I will try this lovely looking bread on the merit of the mighty caraway alone. Thank you!

Holly (The Apiarist)

Hmmm…wonderful! I am always delighted to see when you write about baking your own bread.
I live in Germany and I also had the problem to find molasses. When I baked my way through Kim Boyces “Good to the grain” I was determined to find it and eventually got hold of it in a health food store (in Germany this is called “Reformhaus”). I was told Dark Corn Syrup or Dark Brown Sugar would be a good substitute as well.
BTW: I think you posted the wrong link for the Dill Butter. When you click it, your first book comes up on the Amazon page, not Super Natural Every Day.

Michael Kolodziej

This bread sounds just PERFECT for January, when one wants things that are comforting and hearty and deeply nourishing. I can’t wait get the dough going, so that this will be baking away in my oven as the wind howls outside and the snow whips by the windows.


I’m half Russian, so I wonder if this is similar to the Russian black bread called Borodinsky? Anyone know? I’d love to recreate it for my mom.

Irina G (Fit Flexitarian)

Looks delicious. A great bread to start the new year. Must make it along with a soup soon!


Oh WOW!!! I am leaving right now to go get rye flour…there is no way i can wait another second to try this!!! That just sounds AMAZING!!! Do you think wheat flour instead of bread flour will work? Wonder if it will make it too dense? Maybe I’ll try it both ways and let you know 🙂


Just finished making this recipe – thank you so much, Heidi, for the inspiration! My only trouble with it was that it didn’t quite hold its shape, and flattened out a bit while in the oven. I substituted whole wheat flour for all-purpose – could that be the problem? Delightful regardless!


The bread looks rustic and delicious and perfect for a cheesy fondue I bet! There is nothing quite like bread coming out of your very own oven and that baking smell is euphoric!

Anna @ the shady pine

This sounds fantastic! Have you ever tried putting orange zest in it? I made a similar rye bread a while ago that had orange zest and it was a nice compliment to the caraway and molasses.
I’m going to make this as soon as my oven is working again!


This looks delicious! Cocoa and coffee and carrots. Heaven.


beautiful shots, heidi. you captured the rustic-ness of the bread perfectly. (and you make me wish i could eat gluten!)

samantha jillian

This looks amazing!! I might try making a gluten-free version of this. Any suggestions?


What a lovely and tempting loaf! I bet fresh out of the oven with butter makes this bread heaven 🙂

Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Oh my goodness, this looks and sounds like heaven. Rye bread has now surpassed wheat as the better bread to eat. I think if I make this, my New Years resolutions will go right out the window. I promised to cut back on bread, but I think I would eat the whole loaf…2 days into croutons…can it possible last that long as good as it looks?

Maria @ Sinfully Nutritious

Has anyone tried this recipe using brown flour? I always like to increase the health benefits by using brown flour, but don’t want to wreck what sounds like an absolutely delicious bread!


i doubt i can pawn this off on my kids, but HOO boy, may just have to make a loaf all my own!


Beautiful bread, as always, Heidi. I, too, am binging on the citrus. Especially my favorite: cara cara oranges!


Beautiful! This is making me so hungry right now. Gorgeous photos…thanks for sharing!


Lovely lovely! This might just be my Bread Attempt of the weekend (new year’s resolution: bake bread). One question, however, more from my inexpertise than your writing, I’m sure: “2 tablespoons finely ground espresso coffee” – is that 2 TB of the coffee *grounds* themselves or 2 TB of brewed espresso (from coffee grounds)? Wording would tilt me to the former, but I don’t want to err!
Thank you, and again – lovely recipe, this one and all others!

HS: Thanks Robin, you should add the ground up beans. Will tweak the wording to be more clear.

Robin K.

Black bread croutons are great on top of a raw brussel sprout or beet salad.


alternatives to molasses? the horror!! can’t wait to try this recipe out – I am a big fan of homemade breads :).

heather @ chiknpastry

I love the description of the loaf at “elbows on the table style.” More than anything else, this phrase helps me to picture perfectly what kind of bread you made! And it looks absolutely delicious.

Ashley @ cooking for one

Looks fabulous – I plan to give this a shot on the weekend! Thank you for posting!


Thank you, ma’am! My life needs more caraway in it! 🙂

Elizabeth @ Coppertop Kitchen

I’ve been making Deb’s recipe for Black Bread lately, and with 17 ingredients it can be hard to make when I’m in a hurry to get the dough together. I’m excited to try your recipe. I can always combine the two…her recipe is carrot free and I think that’s a marvelous addition.


I do enjoy a dark and hearty loaf like this one in the dead of winter. You had me at fondue!

la domestique

P.S. @ Erin. You need some white flour for the gluten. Or you can use all whole grain flours and add pure gluten — otherwise your bread won’t rise. @ everybody: we often utilize our clothes dryer as a rising chamber because we have a cold kitchen. Turn the empty dryer on for a few minutes, then turn it off and set the bread to rise.

Sharyn Dimmick

This bread sounds perfect for cold winter days. I’ve been itching to bake with rye. Love the complexity of the cocoa, espresso and carrot.


I’ve been wanting a black bread recipe. This is the first one I’ve seen with molasses and cocoa and espresso, so I’m going to try it soon. Thanks.

Sharyn Dimmick

I woke up wanting to make a loaf of bread and this looks perfect! I’ve got everything and I can’t wait to give it a try. Thanks, Heidi!


This looks like the perfect, rustic loaf of bread. Beautiful!

Brian @ A Thought For Food

This looks incredible! I love breads like this – and usually the darker the better 😀 I’m going crazy just thinking about fondue now though 😀


This is the bread I have been waiting for. It looks like it belongs in a rustic bakery. I am going to make it and pair it with my kale and cranberry salad. The heartiness of the bread paired with the crisp greens to me is the perfect weekday lunch.

jackie @ main mama cooks

If I wanted to make this bread vegan, would it be better to substitute the butter in the dough for Earth Balance or oil? And would it be a 1:1 substitution?


I bought some rye flour several months ago with the plan to make some black bread. Just discovered it in the back of the fridge the other day… your loaf has re-inspired me!


me and my dad used to make black bread on the weekend with walnuts and raisins. this looks delish. can’t wait to try this version.


Looks wonderful! It’s an inspiration to try my hand at a rye bread.


I’m not a big bread eater but might make an exception for this one: sounds unbelievable!

Mike @TheIronYou

Be still my heart. Your loaf looks amazing Heidi.
I will be trying it soon since I’m in a serious baking mode these days. I will be adding honey though, there is no way I can find molasses where I live.
Thank you!

Magda | My Little Expat Kitchen

Would love to make this with the lovely organic rye flour someone just bequeathed to me … but I can’t do the coffee (husband allergic). What will it be like without it? Is there something else I should add? Anyone in the same boat?


Oh my goodness, this looks so good!


This looks fabulous. Love love LOVE it. Years ago, I discovered Latvian black bread at a store in northern Connecticut: dense, sweet, utterly delectable. It turned out to be made by a bakery mentioned in Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking (Kupris Bakery) and I’ve gone on for years looking for them, to no avail. I’ve always been afraid of baking black bread of my own….but now I’ve got this great recipe to try. Thanks so much Heidi.

Elissa at Poor Man's Feast

This looks really amazing, Heidi! Printing now!


This looks fantastic, but I implore you to stop punching your dough! Folding is much gentler and allows for more gluten development (aka better texture). Google it and give it a try for your next loaf!


I am eating one of the best clementines I’ve had in a long time while I am reading your recipe. This bread sounds wonderful!


Oh, Chloe! Like Swedish Limpa Bread–I haven’t thought of it in years! Orange zest, fennel seed and caraway flavored. Thanks!


mmmm! How unique! It looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it–but…I only have regular coffee beans on hand…is that bad? Should I wait until I can get hold of espresso beans?

HS: just use what you’ve got Janelle – it’ll be fine.


Whaaaaaat?! This just knocked me into next week. I love it!

Bev Weidner

This sounds so healthy! I haven’t even heard of black bread, let alone try it. Yum!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

bread with cocoa powder and coffee- my 3 favorite things together! love this!

Simply Life

I live in Germany and while I haven’t tried this recipe yet, I usually substitute Zuckerrübensirup (sugar beet syrup–not quite as viscous as molasses, but getting there) for molasses in recipes. I love black bread & can’t wait to give this a try!


Heidi, this bread looks fabulous. I’ve never made a bread with a combination of ingredients like that before and now I’m curious. Cocoa, espresso, caraway seeds-how wonderful. I especially love the picture of that blue and white bowl you have been photographing! And the dill butter is great on top of eggs too.


i think this looks scrumptious and plan to make it tomorrow for a get-together. however, i need one clarification: is the espresso meant to be brewed (liquid) or just the fine ground coffee (powder). many thanks!

HS: Hi Jodi – fine ground powder.


do you think the recipe would work using non-dairy milk like almond or soy (unsweetened)?


I have never made bread from scratch and I’m still not ready to, but what made me smile was your mixing it in a pretty old looking blue and white bowl.


definitely a weekend project! thank you!


Question….do you actually put the coffee grounds in the recipe? Thanks!


Can’t wait to get in the kitchen and try this one!! I have made your “easy little bread recipe” many times. Different variations…with walnuts….olives…jalapeño. It’s like the little black dress of bread making. Easy to dress it up. 🙂 thanks once again heidi for your inspiring recipes.


oh wow! i’m fairly new to baking. i had great success with your cardamom rolls over christmas — thank you! i think i may now be over my fear of working yeast. this recipe looks quite delicious. what do you bake the bread on/in?

HS: Hi Nicole – I bake this straight on the lightly oiled baking sheet. Haven’t tried it in a loaf pan, but I suspect you could split the dough between two, and that should work nicely as well.


Lovely! I enjoy the earthy sweetness that carrots add to bread–been using them in cornbread for years. Feeling inspired to make a cumin-infused carrot soup to go with this. Thanks!


This looks so amazing. I’m baking this afternoon!


Thanks for this recipe Heidi. I lived in Libya for 4 years and one thing I always used to love eating fresh from the bakery ovens was the black bread that they made. Quite different to your recipe, not as refined as yours, but the same rustic shape. It was such a heavy, really black and unrefined/unprocessed bread – so delicious, I adored it.


Heidi, I recently bought black bread at a Russian store on Geary and was so disappointed. It’s some weird german thing, nothing like the absolutely fantastic black bread I ate in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) so many decades ago. They say sawdust is part of the trick. 🙂 I hope to get a chance to try this…


Dan’s book is wonderful isn’t it? It’s become a kitchen essential already. I love a dark flavourful bread and this looks perfect.


Wow. This looks wonderful. Any idea how one might work in a wild yeast starter in place of the active dry yeast?


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 line…me 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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