The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

ITJB Black Bread p.64 - Experiences (Success at last)

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

ITJB Black Bread p.64 - Experiences (Success at last)

This is not for the fainthearted.

When I got ITJB (Inside  The Jewish Bakery) and flicked through, my rye addiction kicked in, and the unusual process (kind-of Auermann three stage) of the Black Bread intrigued me. This was the first recipe I tried from ITJB - and failed spectacularly.

The top half of the (freestanding) loaf was nice, but turning the temperature down as stated in the recipe let the loaf sink in, and the lower half was dense and badly undercooked.

Encouraged by a PM by Stan, whom I contacted, I gave it a second try - and failed again - this time I attributed it to family business interfering with the proving schedule.

After a long break from this recipe - and some recalculations, and lots of learning about rye and my oven I tried it again last weekend, using my proofing box. This time I baked in a tin, and extended the hot phase of the bake.

The bread came out very wet - looking undercooked, almost greyish in the middle (cut after 12 hours). I was disappointed and tended to attribute this to the superhyrated dough: 117% (if my calculations are correct).

BUT ...

I had made 2 loaves and kept one aside, in a plastic bag.

Today (4 days after the bake) I opened the bag - amazing smell. I cut the bread - still moist, but the crumb had changed completely. Beautiful chocolate brown, with a rich, tangy taste:

My advice if you want to make this bread:

1. Don't Panic

2. Follow the recipe (take oz amounts as a base - I calculated the bakers % from those)

3. Use loaf tins first

3. You might want to extend the hot phase of the bake by 10 minutes (and/or consult ananda's posts about Borodinsky bread for ideas about the baking regime)

3. Wait at least 3 days before cutting into it!

ITJB rocks!




dabrownman's picture

Yes, patience does come to those who wait when it comes to black and rye breads :-)  Very nice baking and glad you got it right with the 3rd bake and 4 days of wait.  Stan's bagel method turned out well for me today too! He is on a hot streak.

Nice baking Juergen.

varda's picture

in the book.    So do you also recommend waiting 4 days?    I'm intrigued.   Will have to take a look.   With all your rye baking,   you saying it's delicious makes me take notice.  -Varda

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Varda, Brownman,

Thank you for your kind comments.

I added the waiting period to the list.

Getting the bake right might be the most difficult thing about this bread, and I think every oven will perform differently.

I had some slices of this bread  for lunch today - just with butter - and really start to like it. It is somewhat similar to a German Pumpernickel, but with a slightly looser crumb and more moisture.  (I think that Pumpernickels are easier to make, though. I made them a couple of times even using rye flakes only!)

So far I haven't done a Pumpernickel writeup, but I can post the formulas if you like.

Happy Baking,


PS: Here is what my first try of the Black Bread looked like:



ananda's picture

Hi Jurgen,

I believe Andrew Whitley is currently working on 100% hydration for his wholemeal Rossisky loaves, and I remember being amazed at Giovanni's loaves, here: 96% hydration.

I've settled for 85% as a balance.   Waiting 4 days for the crumb to settle is ok, but I then find that the ends of the loaves are fine, but you have to wait even longer before the centre is ready to eat.   I have worked with rye flour which is so thirsty it wants to keep on taking up more and more water; but ultimately that is always disastrous when it comes to trying to bake out the loaves.   You've done a great job, but I'm sticking at the 85% mark for now.

All good wishes


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Andy,

Good to hear from you. Thank you for your comments. 

You know I baked a lot of 100% HL Rye using Andrew Whitley's recipe. For my weekly 2Kg batch of rye  I lowered the hydration, after my experience with 1939 Russian Rye. I now use 85% water (with Bacheldre rye, with Shipton a bit less).

But this recipe intrigued me (for its extrmes), as do the different formulas out there for Pumpernickel.

The paste for the ITJB Black Bread is surprisingly stiff, by the way. The coarse rye meal and flour can take all that water in the scald stage... The chats we had about starch damage and your storys from the Village Bakery certainly helped me to handle this. 

I will return to the Pumpernickel/Schrotbrot recipes soon, I think. I want to work a bit more on the one below, an all-rye-flake bread:

Best Wishes,