The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Black bread HELP

Sammy's picture

Black bread HELP

When I was a kid in the 60's, my mother would buy black bread at the store in NW Ohio. Does anyone know what that was? I have googled it but only found German or Russian black bread which is actually brown. This bread was not grayish black. It was as black as black can be, like black vinyl. Does anyone know the recipe? Can it be made in a bread machine?

Thank You

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

From squid ink.  That is the only true black bread I've ever seen or heard of.  Try searching in site search box for ink bread.  

copyu's picture

The only type of dough I've ever seen that was truly black was intended for gyo-za (tsau-ze) wrappers and they were made with squid ink (which, I was told recently, has the most delicious taste! Never tried it. I'm going to try it, soon, as I really respect the person who told me this...)

In Japan, I can sometimes find 'black' cocoa powder which, itself, is *virtually* black and a scant dessert-spoonful in 500 grams of dough makes everything shockingly dark, but not quite as dark as you describe.

Can you tell us more about the texture of the bread, please? Was the crumb black, as well as the crust? What's the nearest thing you've seen to the black bread you remember? More info might yield better never know!



Sammy's picture

The bread was jet black throughout. It looked just like the short round loaf of sliced pumpernickel you can buy at most grocery stores today, but black. It had the same texture and I think was presliced. All I remember about the taste was it was unique, maybe a little sweet, and it was my favorite. What puzzles me is we were far from wealthy and would not have bought expensive bread. My parents shopped at a local grocery chain (A&P). They would also go to a Wonder, Bunny bread, or Hostess outlet store and buy "day old". My point is I doubt they would go to a fancy bakery or spend much on bread. Although I think there were more bakeries in the 60's, this had to be something available to the general public in Toledo, or anywhere. Unfortunately, my dad died 30 years ago and my mom, now 81, has a rough time remembering 5 minutes ago. Any readers older than me, 52, remember this being available? Also, would this squid ink bread have been more common 45 years ago? Would it be or have been expensive?

lazybaker's picture

I've seen some photos of bamboo charcoal bread that looks black. I doubt it's the bread the original poster was asking since bamboo charcoal bread is produced mainly in some Asian countries. 

GermanFoodie's picture

is truly  VERY dark rye bread with lots of seeds in it, but I've never seen it pitch-black. Unless you mean true, square pumpernickel (the stuff used here for appetizers etc.), they likely put, as Mini Oven suggested, some kind of dye into this.

richkaimd's picture

I've made lots of black breads, but none of them are truly black.  They are at most really dark brown, due, I think, to the coffee, chocolate, and dark rye flours I've used.  What, besides an ingredient used merely for coloring, could make a bread black?

If you find the recipe that makes the bread you have in mind, please tell us.


linder's picture

I agree with all the comments above re: Black Bread is really very dark brown.  Even putting toasted bread crumbs in it still results in a dark brown rather than black loaf.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Many times suggestion becomes memory.   As a small child, if you were convinced or imagined that dark brown bread because it was called black was black, it was then recorded in your memory files as "black."  Could be that you thought brown was black as a kid and later got the colors straightened out as you grew and updated your brain files, but the "black" remained.  It can happen.  As a K-12 Art teacher, I have witnessed it.   

Brain games aside, I do believe you had a dark rye/wheat bread, with perhaps molasses and a slow bake.  It darkens as it ages too when exposed to air.  There are recipes that refer to this dark bread as "black bread."  I think there you will find the gem you're looking for.