Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dark German Rye Bread

Dark German rye bread with cocoa, molasses, and caraway seeds. A light rub of flour prior to baking and a couple minutes under the broiler just before removing adds a rustic touch to this loaf.

I am a big fan of retarding yeast doughs. I think it's wonderful to spend maybe ten minutes in the kitchen the night before, throw the dough in the fridge, and wake up the next day to begin punching things down and shaping. For all of you that are not fans of letting dough sit around forever, this could be the recipe for you. According to the dark German rye bread recipe at recipezaar.com, this only takes about two hours, start to finish (10 minutes to pull it together, 20 minutes rest, punch down + shaping + rest for about 60 minutes, then into the oven for about 30 minutes).

The dough after an optional four hour retard in the fridge.

Being somewhat of a traditionalist, I threw the dough in the fridge for a four hour retard. I would have left it there overnight, but I had started it in the morning and wanted it with dinner. I think four hours is a reasonable compromise.

This dough holds imprints extremely well; feel free to play a bit when punching it down.

Dark German Rye Bread
Adapted from recipezaar.com

Yields 1 loaf

3/4 C (74g)  bread flour
3/4 C (98g)  whole wheat flour
2 T  cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 T  caraway seed
1/2 T  salt
2 1/2 T  molasses
1 T (15g)  unsalted butter
1/2 T  sugar
1 C  water
1 T  olive oil
1 3/4 C (160g)  rye flour
  1. Combine bread flour, whole wheat flour, cocoa, salt, and seeds in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat the molasses, butter, sugar, water, and oil until lukewarm (microwave or stove is fine).
  3. Add yeast to the warm liquid mix and stir well.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour the wet mix in, and mix on low for 30 seconds, then 3 minutes on high.
  5. Knead in the rye flour (about 8 minutes).
  6. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and rest 20 minutes OR retard 4 hours to overnight in the fridge (long retards develop flavor).
  7. Punch down the dough and shape into a loaf (I like a round, tubby looking loaf) and cut an X or # in the top with a sharp knife.
  8. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour or until nearly doubled in size.
  9. Optional: Rub with a little flour to get a rustic looking loaf and/or sprinkle with a little water just prior to baking to get a crispier crust.
  10. Bake at 400F (205C) for 25-30 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  11. Optional: Place loaf on the top rack and bake 2 minutes longer to get a darker crust.
  12. Cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.
  13. Enjoy!
Dark German Rye Bread Reflections

Just 20 minutes out of the oven, with steam rising up during.

This bread is dense. And smells like chocolate when you bake it. Both of these things are not cause for alarm. The bread doesn't taste sweet or chocolatey. Plus a good, dense rye bread was what I was going for. You get a decent crust on it without any crazed water bottle spritzing in the first fifteen minutes of baking and the bread keeps pretty well. I think this would be excellent with peppered salami and seedy mustard.

The texture of this loaf is dense and soft with a thick, slightly crunchy crust.

I think this bread has a nice texture; a small crumb with a crust you have to saw a bit to get through. I'm fairly certain if you tied a rope around it and gave it a good swing, it would double as a medieval weapon. Just because you can physically assault someone with it doesn't mean it's not a good bread - it is! (And just because you can physically assault someone with it doesn't mean you should - you shouldn't go beyond a playful thud to the arm.) Please enjoy this bread responsibly, possibly with mustard, salted butter, and/or an array of cold cuts and cheeses.


  1. Mmm, this sounds very similar to my favorite rye recipe I've baked so far, which has the same name.

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  3. You're not the only one! I googled rye bread with cocoa, caraway seed, and molasses because I'd misplaced my link to the recipezaar.com version and a couple other recipes with strikingly similar ingredients and proportions came up.

  4. Nice fist print.
    Made me think how its weird that humans make food without eating it all while they're making it. Like if I was a dog baking some bread I'd have gobbled the ingredients before it even got to the oven. Must have something to do with our concepts of time and deferred gratification. I have a newsletter you can subscribe to if you want to know more. Not really though. x

  5. Thanks! I have unusually sharp knuckles. I hit pretty soft and I haven't the heart to inflict pain on anything that would actually feel it, so defenseless mounds of dough are the only ones that take on my wrath.

    I am notorious for eating raw cookie dough; it's a miracle half of what goes into a bowl makes it into the oven. I think it's the thumbs that hold most animals back from baking. X M