Dark German Rye Bread


Anyone have a recipe?

I'm a happy camper with Marilyn's Whole Wheat and Rye Sourdough. It amazes me that I have no clue when it comes to bread it works every time.

Unfortunately, a family member wants dark German rye. I'm not understanding the request.

I'd really appreciate if some body could give me some insight.


badge posted by: rockyroadfarms on July 20, 2011 at 10:13 pm in General discussions
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reply by: MangoChutney - Sandra Too on July 20, 2011 at 10:33 pm
MangoChutney - Sandra Too

Could they be meaning Pumpernickel bread?

reply by: uninvited-guest on July 20, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Dark German Rye bread traditionally uses dark rye flour (more bran included) and the addition of a few other ingredients such as cocoa powder, molasses, coffee, and carmel coloring to get that rich dark color. Not all recipes use all those ingredients. Essentially it's a Pumpernickel.

If you don't have carmel color, in a pinch, you can use regular food dyes that you get at the grocery store. To the liquid in the recipe, add 75 drops red, 45 drops blue, and 30 drops yellow. I know, it's a PITA to count all those drops, but hey, we're talking a quickie substitution.

reply by: rockyroadfarms on July 20, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Pumpernickle was mentioned.

reply by: rockyroadfarms on July 20, 2011 at 10:50 pm

When asked for dark, I automatically thought Pumpernickel. Then it was stated Pumpernickel is too dense.

I did some experimental loaves tonight. If the flavor is right but not the color, I do own Americolor in both browns. If not, I'll look at mixing it up with a Pumpernickel recipe.

reply by: rockyroadfarms on July 20, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Thank you both for responding so fast!

I appreciate the insight.

reply by: Mike Nolan on July 21, 2011 at 12:58 am
Mike Nolan

There appears to be two ways to get dark bread.

One is to add something to color it, like coffee, cocoa or caramel coloring. I really like the powdered caramel coloring that King Arthur sells, but be sure to keep the jar tightly closed, or it will become a solid lump.

The other way is to bake it at a lower temperature a long time, so that it caramelizes all the way through the loaf. That's how real black bread is made, or so I'm told. (The black bread I had when we were in Germany was fantastic!)

Most of the time these days when I want rye bread I make the Marbled rye recipe in BBA, using molasses and caramel powder in the 'dark' dough and corn syrup in the 'light' dough.

If I don't want that much rye bread (it makes 3 free form loaves), I will make just the dark dough and make one somewhat larger loaf.

I've also made it in cocktail rye tubes, and once as marbled Kaiser rolls. Those were a big hit and really pretty when cut open.

I will use coarse pumpernickel flour if I have it (I'm out at the moment, I get it in 5 pound bags at a Mennonite store in Tennessee) but medium rye works well, too.

I use more rye flour and less wheat flour than Peter calls for, it makes the loaf a bit more dense but very tasty.

reply by: janiebakes on July 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I saved this recipe from the Old Baking Circle. I haven't seen John on the new baking circle but I hope he joins us again one day. He ran a bakery for years and his recipes and advice are so valuable. This recipe makes a delicious and dark rye bread.

John's rye bread recipe

John, thank you for the wonderful recipe. I had to take some time to make a whole wheat starter, then convert it to a rye sour before I could bake. I started it yesterday morning and had it ready in time for dinner tonight. It is the best tasting and prettiest loaf of rye bread that I have ever made. I loved your tip to dust the rye sour with some flour and wait for the big cracks to show that it is ready to refresh. It made the whole process very easy. I had never used a starch wash before, but it made such a crisp brown crust that I will use it again for sure. We made corned beef sandwiches for dinner using the bread, then my son had two slices plain for dessert. Thank you for sharing your baking knowledge with me ( and the rest of the BC). This one is a keeper.

Rye bread
I all ways keep a small amount of rye sour in the refrig, and refreshen it once a week. When I am going to make rye bread, I refreshen it every 6 to 8 hours for at least 2 days, then it is ready to make the rye sours for the rye bread.
1st Rye sour
10 gram of rye sour
20 gram water
20 gram rye flour(use some to dust the top(when it shows large cracks then it
50 gram total ready to refreshen it.)

2nd Rye Sour
50 gram rye sour (all from above)
60 gram water
60 gram rye flour(save some to dust the top)(when it shows large cracks then
170 gram total it is ready for final refreshing)

3rd rye sour
170 gram rye sour (all from above)
300 gram water
300 gram rye flour(save some to dust the top, when it shows large cracks on
top, it then is ready to make into rye bread.)

Rye Dough
All the rye sour from above.
625 gram clear flour (variable, more or less depending on the moisture in the
4 gram instant dry yeast
18 gram vital wheat gluten
225 gram water
20 gram salt
a good pinch of ascorbic acid.
about 5 gram of caraway seeds, if make seeded rye.
about 3 gram of charnuska seeds, if making seeded charnuska rye.

mix about 6 to 10 min. 2nd or 3rd speed, or whatever it takes to produce a livily dough, when the dough feels that it has life, stop the mixer. Dough should not cling to the sides of the bowl.
ideal temperature should be between 80 - 84 deg.
Ferment in oiled bowl for about 30 min.

Then make up bread, ( i usually make it, short, fat loaf)
Put made up bread onto a parchment paper that is sprinkled with corn meal & rye flour.
Put a cup of boiling water next to the bread and cover with plastic dome.
Proof for about 45 - 60 min, cut top, (not to deep) and wash with starch wash.
Put oven peel under paper, (trim & cut paper around bread) and put (with Paper)into 500 degree oven with steam (steam for 1st 6 min. only,) then reduce oven temp to 425 deg.. Turn bread around after 20 min. total bake time should be about 50 - 55 min. Or when center of loaf is 205 deg. this is for electric oven only.

If you should have a gas fired oven, bring oven temp up to 525 deg, and just befor putting bread into oven, turn oven completely off (no fire, no flame) after 6 min, open door to let steam out and bring oven temp up to 500 deg. then immediately set oven temp to 425 deg. (Both electric & gas ovens need steam for the first 6 min of baking. (The reason for turning off the oven in
a gas fired oven is, the open fire or flame will immediately suck up the moisture you are putting into the oven, The bread needs all the moisture you can give it for the first 6 min, to cause the expansion of the bread.

For the starch wash, boil a small amount of water, add a little of corn starch in a small amount of cold water, and add to boiling water, if thin add a little more cold water & corn starch, if to stiff add some hot water to thin it down, I never bothered to scale it. Good Luck, I hope it comes out perfect the first time you make it. Best regards, John.

Hi Janiebakes, I am very glad to hear that the rye bread came out to your satisfaction. I tried to explain it so that it would not be complicated to make, and to come out very good the first time you make it. But I forgot to mention, that when you remove the bread from the oven (while it is very hot) wash it with the starch wash again to give it a beautiful shine. Thanks I appreciate your reply that it came out good.
With Best Regards

reply by: rockyroadfarms on July 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Thank you I will give this a try!


reply by: uninvited-guest on July 21, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I gotta try this. I'm assuming "rye sour" is just a rye sour dough starter?

reply by: janiebakes on July 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Yes, rye sour is the same as rye sourdough starter. The bread is much easier to make than you would think from seeing the recipe.

reply by: rottiedogs on July 22, 2011 at 10:53 am

This rye bread sounds fantastic. So you have to already have a rye starter before you can even begin this recipe if I am understanding correctly? Is there a recipe for it? I don't have any type of starter yet but I would love to try my hand at it.

reply by: janiebakes on July 22, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Yes you need a rye starter first. Look for Baking Circle member Macy's recipes. She really knows her stuff and has a way to maintain a starter without keeping a huge volume on hand. Or you could look at The Bread Bakers Apprentice or at KAF instructions for a white flour starter. You could just sub rye flour for white flour. Or you could make a white flour starter first and then feed it rye flour for a couple of days to convert it to a "rye sour".

reply by: rockyroadfarms on July 24, 2011 at 3:52 pm


Wish I had seen this before I started a rye sour.

I used the recipe from The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. It does seem to be working without being a huge amount of trouble.

My active dry yeast was a little old, so this morning I did about 4 granules of instant yeast which is fresh. I have bubbles.

I would post the recipe, but I'm sure it's copyrighted. I don't want any legal issues. If this recipe doesn't work by Wednesday, I'll start over.

Thank you, you've been a big help.


reply by: janiebakes on July 25, 2011 at 9:46 am

Glad you are finding this helpful MaryAnn. I have Laurel's book so no need to post the recipe. I think you will be fine using her rye sour. The recipe I posted uses the rye sour for flavor and conditioning and uses yeast for the majority of the leavening, so as long as your rye sour smells good it should work. Happy baking!