The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Black Carbon Bread

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monnyB's picture

Black Carbon Bread

Two weeks ago I was in Singapore in a PD trip with my Faculty. As a side trip 4 of us went to Malacca for the day. We ate the most delicious 5-star Malaysian Rijst tafel I have tasted in years. It was just amazing. While looking around the hotel lobby we found the Hotel Equatorial's 'Cafe etc...' with some very well presented ploaves of bread. One if the loaves was called 'Black Carbon Bread' and was silly enough not to buy it as I could never eat it and I hate to waste good food.

The photo does not quite reflect the black carbon look thwt the real thing actually has, that's how I am sure the loaf  is not burnt.

Can anybody give me some insight as to how this effect would be achieved? I am sure ist's not a Russian bread as the crust really looks like a wheat flour was used. I have seen carbonised bamboo from Hong Kong and suspect that may be the ongredient that would gove this carbonised effect on food.

I'd love to your opinions about this intersting bread.

Should have bought some :o)


tomsbread's picture

Just Google Bamboo Charcoal bread in Google Images.  Apparently featured in the 29th episode of Japanese anime Yakitake.

Pastry Monkey's picture
Pastry Monkey

Hi monnyB!

Wow..its a pretty big loaf, so I understand why you were hesitant in purchasing it.

I just baked a bunch of bamboo charcoal bread based off a rustic white loaf with the charcoal added to the dough. Bamboo charcoal (the type for breadmaking) can be purchased in any Malaysian baking supply shop. It's been touted to have certain medicinal properties (detox?) I don't know if there's an official "Bamboo Charcoal Bread" (just like we know what makes a brioche a brioche or a baguette a baguette). My friend who owns a bakery in KL uses it in his sweet dough.  Too me, it doesn't have a discernable taste but it does change the characteristic of my dough (makes it over the top malleable).

Here's a pic of my bamboo charcoal bread with sunflower and sesame seeds. :)



monnyB's picture

Thank you Pastry Monkey. I will ask my colleague if there is a special Malaysian shop in Auckland I can go to, otherwise I will need to grind the bamboo pieces I already have at work. I'm looking forward to the malleble dough, that wil be nice.

monnyB's picture

that solidified my thoughts. Looking at the crumb, I find the bread a bit less appetising looking because it is SO pitch black! I read a few entries stating that 20 gr bamboo charcoal powder would be sufficient. I jusy might try it. Apparently the flavour is not adversley affected and a sweeter dough is more appetising. 

Apart from that I made some good looking grain bread today with the chocolate roast malt I have.

MNBäcker's picture

When I was learning to be a baker back in Germany, I made my fair share of "Black Carbon Bread". It's pretty much like regular bread, only it bakes about 2-3 hours, usually somewhere in the back of the oven...:)


monnyB's picture

Stefan, I remember those days well. For me it was usually the flaked almonds and the last tray of cookies!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

of crushing the charcoal into powder and using it in the next loaf!    

timko's picture


I'm currently in Rome checking out bakeries. I have found a very interesting new bread being made here which is called  carbon bread. They do two versions, one a multi grain version and the other a glossy beautiful shiny black bread based on an olive oil bread formula. It looks like basalt.

The texture is light and silky as an enriched dough often is.

There is a slight, very slight gritty texture which is barely noticeable and quite pleasant against teeth. The idea, the baker told me, came originally from the Netherlands as a healthful option for digestion. The carbon is an additive and is a very fine black powder which he described is finer than flour. 

 I am very curious to try this out on my sad return home; and plan to consult Carol Fields and experiment with olive breads as a foundation.

The bakery if any one is interested  Roscioli

 Generally, I think, people fear food that is black, we think of it as burnt or unappetising. Is probably a protective measure?

But as an ex pat Australian  I can say that I grew up on Vegemite, a shiny black substance which is not to everyones taste either.

I hasten to add that this bread tastes nothing like Vegemite.

RoundhayBaker's picture

... bread from The Manna House Bakery on Easter Road, Edinburgh. No photo, sorry, but it was very striking to look at and it tasted fine. But I've got no idea why the carbon was added other than for appearance. Or maybe as a post-curry breakfast bread to settle upset stomachs?