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Black Bread

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Makes 2 small loaves or 1 large loaf 1x

Time 3 hours, largely unattended

Units Scale


  • 1/2 cup wheat bran
  • 2 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for kneading and shaping
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened, or 1/4 cup good-quality vegetable oil, plus more for greasing
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups strong brewed coffee, lukewarm


  1. Put the bran, flours, cocoa, sugar, yeast, and salt in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and molasses and pulse a few more times. With the machine running, pour the vinegar and 1 cup of the coffee through the feed tube. Process for about 30 seconds; the dough should be a well-defined, barely sticky, easy-to-handle ball. If it’s too dry, add more coffee 1 tablespoon at a time and process for 5 or 10 seconds after each addition. If too wet, which is unlikely, add a tablespoon or 2 of flour and process briefly.
  2. Grease a large bowl with butter or oil. Shape the dough into a rough ball, put it in the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Let rise until nearly doubled in bulk, 2 to 3 hours. The rising time will be shorter at warmer temperatures, a bit longer if your kitchen is chilly.
  3. Press down on the dough to deflate it. Shape it once again into a ball; let rest on a lightly floured work surface for about 15 minutes, covered lightly with plastic wrap. (You can make the dough ahead to this point, cover it, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight; return it to room temperature before proceeding.)
  4. Using only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the work surface, knead the dough a few times. Shape it into one large oval loaf or divide it in half and make 2 smaller, round loaves. Grease a baking sheet. Put the loaf or loaves on the sheet. Cover again and let rise until the dough has plumped up again considerably, about an hour.
  5. Heat the oven to 325°F. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes for a large loaf or 40 to 45 minutes for smaller ones, until the bottom sounds hollow when you tap it and the internal temperature is about 210°F on an instant-read thermometer. Carefully slide the loaf from the sheet and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

— Recipe from How to Cook Everything: Completely Revised Twentieth Anniversary Edition 

Recipe variations

Pumpernickel Raisin Bread
Soak 1 cup raisins until soft in enough hot water or coffee to barely cover them. Drain well. Omit the bran and sure to use dark rye flour; increase the quantity to 1 cups. In Step 4, knead the raisins into the dough along with 1 tablespoon caraway seeds.

Black Bread with Chocolate
Lovely with a smear of cream cheese or sour cream: Coarsely chop a 4-ounce piece of dark chocolate into chunks. In Step 4, knead the chocolate into the dough.