German Black Bread

Years ago, I was in West Germany (Schwarzwald, the Black Forest) for many months on a work assignment. While there, I ate a very interesting bread known as Black Bread. It was incredibly dense and interesting and like nothing I had ever had before. This last weekend, I decided to give it a go.

First of all, this is not a normal bread. It’s made up almost entirely of crushed rye berries (most would call them seeds or grain), with a tiny bit of sourdough starter. The first stage of creating this bread called for a fermentation of the starter and berries and it looked much like porridge.

After the initial fermentation, more rye berries were added and then there was an additional fermentation cycle. Finally, the porridge was massaged by hand until the berries showed some inkling to stick together. I must admit I added a small amount of APF to help with things stick together, but not enough to change the character of the bread.

Then off to a slow oven for many (3-1/2) hours and I ended up with this loaf:

The recipe indicated I should wait until slicing, but I went ahead and gave it a try shortly after it came from the oven. Not bad and close to what I remember from my time in Germany. I did manage to put it aside for a couple more days and then tried it again and the texture was improved. My daughter was present at the time and she liked it so much that now that loaf is hers 🙂

I may try this again in the future. If I do, I think I’ll try and get some dark rye berries (not available locally) to make the bread even blacker.