The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

"Dark sweet German rye"

Custard Cream's picture
Custard Cream

"Dark sweet German rye"

Hi everyone,

This is my first post to the forum, though I have been lurking for quite some time. I started baking bread a year ago in a quest for decent toast and Marmite.

A friend has asked me to bake the sort of 'dark, sweet, German rye' that you find in a US grocery store. I'm sure I've seen a recipe for this sort of bread somewhere, but really don't remember where. I think she means those black, sweet soft loaves rather than pumpernickel or roggenmehl brot.

Any help would be appreciated!



Breadbabe's picture

I am experimenting with rye also, and try to shorten my learning curve by reading previous threads here. I'm using fresh milled wheat and rye, and the only way I can come to a dark loaf is with cocoa, coffee or molasses in the recipe. Otherwise its much like a pumpernickel.

My latest round was with all molasses in place of honey and I got a very dark, soft, sweet loaf. The softness I'm sure, came from added gluten. It was not what I was looking for but it might help your endeavor!


Custard Cream's picture
Custard Cream

Thanks, Maureen. Those sound like the ingredients she's after, cocoa and molasses sound like just the job.

I'm from the UK, so most of my non-Jewish ryes have originated from Andrew Whitley's 'Bread Matters' and Emmanuel Hadjiandreou's "How to bake bread". I don't know if you've tried either of those books, but I really like those rye recipes. Borodinksy is one of my favourites.

andychrist's picture

Why would your friend be seeking a German Rye from the US? Anyway, from my experience, Maureen has it right how best to reproduce that style at home. But in addition to coloring agents such as cocoa and caramel, commercial bakeries here in the States often incorporate DATEM, which AFAIK is not available over the counter. 

dabrownman's picture

dark, sweet, soft, German rye loaves but that is their problem :-) Cocoa is dark but not sweet, molasses fits the bill for dark and sweet as does barley malt syrup for dark rye breads, instant coffee and espresso are dark but not sweet.  Another thing that fits sweet and dark, sometimes used in German rye breads, is caramel flavoring that Italians also put in their espresso to sweeten it up.

For the soft rye portion of the description it can't have too much rye in it and is probably mostly wheat.  Too get it dark you could also use porter or stout as the liquid in the recipe. 

Some combination of these might fit the bill but I havn't seen any dark, rye, sweet and soft German bread around here anywhere  But if anyone knows of one it would be hanseata.  Mini oven  or one of the other rye lovers who might be German.

Good luck with the recipe. 

Custard Cream's picture
Custard Cream

Hi Andy,

Thanks for the feedback. I suspect that style of bread is more American than German, because I haven't encountered it in Europe. It's certainly a common supermarket bread round here. 

Think I can continue to live without additives!


Custard Cream's picture
Custard Cream

Thanks dabrownman,

That's how I feel about them, but each to their own. :) I haven't spotted anything on here either, but am thinking of crossing an ITJB pumpernickel with some of the sweet black bread recipes on the web.





adri's picture

One really great thing that darkens the bread and gives a really great taste and aroma that I read on the webpage of a German master baker is the following:

Cooking rye flour with water (200%) and diastatic malt (5 to 6%) for about 2 hours at 60°C (the temperature where the enzymes just don't degenerate). After 2 hours just cook it at a higher temperature to really thicken the starch, stop the enzymes from working and get a really nice dark colour.

But I doubt that this is what is used in cheap breads in the US of A.
So you actually want a wheat bread with colour. Should there be any part of Roggenmehl (rye flour) in there or not? Could you please post a photo.


Custard Cream's picture
Custard Cream

Thanks for that tip about cooking rye flour Adrian.

I doubt that's what happens with cheap brands, too. After reading all the comments on this thread, my guess is that it would be something like this recipe, but not sure I'd really call that a rye.

I'm tempted to try your tip and then make a sort of pumpernickel. I found a wetter Borodinsky dough with a touch of yeast created a larger, softer loaf so maybe that's the way to go?