Black Bread

Black Bread is an interesting bread made with sourdough and old bread soaked in boiling water and coffee grounds. The sourdough gives it a bit of a tang and the coffee grounds provide the deep coloring. I didn’t have any new old bread (meaning only a few days old) so I used some rye bread that I cut into cubes and froze a few months back.  I do believe it qualified as old bread. 


Black Bread is the third bread on the list for the Mellow Bakers this month. It is another one of those breads that I was hesitant to make. It didn’t appeal to me at first, but I was curious to find out how ground coffee would taste in bread. So I decided to give it a try. It also seemed like a good way to use some of the old bread I had stashed in the freezer. I only made one loaf so I adjusted the formula accordingly.


Black Bread

Makes: 1 Loaf

Adapted from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman



  • 5.6 oz (1 3/8 cup) Medium Rye Flour (I used whole grain rye flour)
  • 4.5 oz (~5/8 cup) water
  • .3 oz (1 T) mature sourdough culture

Old-Bread Soaker:

  • 1.3 oz (3/4 cup) Old Bread
  • .4 oz (3 T) Coffee, ground
  • .4 oz (1 T) Vegetable oil
  • 6.4 oz (7/8 cup) Water, hot

Bread Dough:

  • 4 oz (1 cup) Medium Rye Four (I used Whole Grain Rye Flour)
  • 6.4 oz (~1 3/8 cups) High-gluten flour
  • .3 oz (1/2 T) salt
  • 7/8 tsp instant dry yeast
  • Old-bread soaker, all of the above
  • Sourdough, all of the above (minus 1 T)


Bread Method:

  1. Prepare the sourdough and let it ripen for 14 to 16 hours.



  2. Slice the old bread, put it on a baking sheet and bake it until it is a deep, dark brown.  Try not to burn it because it will give it a bitter taste. Put the rebaked old bread in a large bowl and pour the hot water over it.  Add the ground coffee and oil and stir thoroughly with a spoon until the coffee is dissolved and the bread is completely moistened.  Cover with a lid or plastic.  It’s best to make the bread soaker at the same time as you prepare the sourdough and to let it stand at room temperature until it’s time to mix the dough.



  3. Add the ingredients to the mixing bowl. Mix the dough for 3 minutes on first speed, then about 3 minutes on second.  The high gluten flour will give the dough a perceptible, but not overly strong, gluten development.  The desired dough temperature is 80˚ F.




  4. Let the dough bulk ferment for 30 to 45 minutes.

  5. Shape the dough into a round or oblong shape.

  6. Final fermentation should take about 50 to 60 minutes at 80˚ F.

  7. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a baking stone on the center rack and a steam pan underneath. Bake the loaf for about 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer.


    This bread has been YeastSpotted. Please visit Wild Yeast to view all of the lovely breads in the roundup.


  8. Slice and enjoy. 


    I tried a slice and I actually liked it. The rebaked old bread adds a toasty flavor when soaked and mixed into the new dough. And, the ground coffee gives the bread a bit of a bite as well. The resulting bread is very dark but without the sweetness that you would get from using molasses.

    I gave the rest of the loaf to my friend from Romania. He loves dark breads and it was his birthday so I thought it was only fitting that he should have it. Of course I had to try it first to make sure it tasted okay.

    He enjoyed the bread with tomatoes.  He said it was just the right combination. He also said he couldn’t taste the coffee, but that it kept him up late at night. Not sure if he was just kidding me about that. He said the rye flavor is what comes through the most with a hit of sourdough.

    I just might have to make this one again.  Next time I might try using some old French bread instead of rye.


    Mellow Bakers was started by Paul at Yumarama. We’ve been baking breads from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.


    Thanks for visiting the Bread Experience bread-baking blog.  I hope you’ll join me again soon.

    Happy Baking!



Owner/Blogger at Bread Experience
Hello, I’m Cathy, the face behind the Bread Experience. I'm a project manager by profession. My job can be very stressful at times and I've found that baking bread is a wonderful stress reliever.

I especially enjoy baking bread on the weekends and allowing the dough to slow ferment to bring out the flavor and nutritional properties of the bread.

Over the years, I've become enamored with grains.So you'll find me experimenting using different types of heritage and ancients grains.Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't, but it's all part of the experience.I invite you to join me on this bread-baking journey.


  1. says

    Glad it came out well! I know people on Mellow Bakers are a tad concerned with the ground coffee, being grounds. I think if we can have entire sunflower seeds or cracked wheat in the bread, finely ground coffee beans should be OK. And if it still holds one back, instant coffee would work too.

    A lovely loaf your friend received!

  2. Jill says

    Hi Cathy,

    If you use an instant decaf, you won’t have the grittiness from the ground coffee or stay awake from it either! That’s what I do for my dark breads.


  3. says

    Thanks for the tip Jill! I thought the ground coffee gave it a wonderful texture and flavor. I didn’t have any problems with grittiness. I think my friend probably had too many pieces and that’s what kept him up. 😉

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