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Feb 4, 2014

Marbled Rye Bread

I've made a version of this marbled rye bread before, while baking my way through Peter Reinhart's amazing book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice. 

I used to think that marbled rye bread was made by using two different rye flours, one white, and one dark. I've since learned that both doughs are the same, with one having been darkened by an added dark colored ingredient. In his earlier version of this bread, Peter Reinhart suggested using caramel color, cocoa, or coffee to color the dark dough. I had used a liquid caramel color and some brown food coloring because I didn't believe adding cocoa or coffee would not add a detectable flavor.

Marbled Rye Bread

Serendipitously, Fine Cooking just published a newer version of this loaf by Peter Reinhart, and at the same time, the #TwelveLoaves group decided to bake bread containing chocolate. Time to try this bread again.... with the cocoa.

Marbled Rye Bread

Result? The cocoa did not add a discernible flavor to the bread. Mystery solved and fears abated.

The recipe calls for two to three tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa. I used black cocoa, and although I only used one tablespoon, I probably could have used less based on the look of these loaves.

Most commercial rye bread is flavored with caraway seeds, but you can leave this bread plain or add poppy seeds, orange zest, or other add-ins. I added dried minced onion and was really pleased with the results.

Marbled Rye


For the Light Dough

8 ounces bread flour
4 ounces light rye flour
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp caraway seeds, poppy seeds, dried onions, or other add-in (optional)
3/4 C plus 2 T water, adjusted as needed
1 1/2 T vegetable oil
1 T unsulfured mild molasses

For the Dark Dough

All of the above ingredients plus 2 to 3 T of cocoa and extra water as needed. 


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the ingredients of each dough with a large spoon or the paddle attachment until blended. Switch to the dough hook, and mix on medium for about 5 to 7 minutes, until smooth. Each dough should be tacky, but not sticky. 
  2. Form each dough into a ball and place each into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
  3. Spray two 8 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch loaf pans with spray oil and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  4. Cut both doughs into 4 equal pieces. 
  5. On a surface that has been lightly rubbed with oil, flatten two light and two dark pieces into 6 inch rectangles. 
  6. Layer the pieces, light on the bottom, then dark, then light, then dark. 
  7. Flatten the pieces together with a rolling pin to press together. 
  8. With your hands, roll the dough layers into a loaf and place in the pan. Repeat with the rest of the dough. 
  9. Allow the loaves to rise until nearly doubled and they have crested about an inch over the top of the pan, about 60 to 120 minutes. 
  10. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the loaves reach an internal temperature of 190 degrees F. 
  11. Place the pans on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. De-pan and cool completely. 

#TwelveLoaves February: 

Chocolate. We were good all January with our Keep it Simple theme, now it's time to get a little decadent. February #TwelveLoaves is all about Chocolate!

Choose a recipe featuring chocolate. (It could be a bread accented with chocolate chips, baked with cocoa powder, chocolate spreads, whatever you love!). Whatever you bake (yeasted, quick bread, crackers, muffins, grissini, braids, flatbreads, etc) have fun and let's have a delicious month of bread with chocolate.
Let's get baking!

If you’d like to add your bread to the collection with the Linky Tool this month, here’s what you need to do!

1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone's posts. Please make sure that your bread is inspired by the theme!
2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog. It must be a bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme.
3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this February, 2014, and posted on your blog by February 28, 2014.

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess.  #TwelveLoaves runs so smoothly thanks to the help of the lovely Renee from Magnolia Days.

I know... I'm probably an outlier for #TwelveLoaves this month with my marbled rye, even though it does contain chocolate. For a real chocolate fix, check out all of the other fabulous chocolate breads from our bakers. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. What a great idea? Rye flour, cocoa and molasses. I like too the marbled effect.

  2. Wow, Karen, you aced this bread!!! A picture perfect beauty!!!

  3. I have yet to make a marbled rye. Yours is stunning and I love the how dark the dark part is in contrast to the light part. Thanks for sharing the link to the video too.

  4. Look at that swirl! Absolutely beautiful. Seriously, perfect!

  5. I had no idea that the doughs weren't different either! I am learning so much from our group of bread bakers. Whatever the flavors, that is one gorgeous loaf, Karen!

  6. I learned a lot from your post, thanks! I will have to find that book you mentioned. I don't have it in my collections of cookbooks and I would really enjoy it.

  7. I love your marbled rye-cocoa bread, Karen. This is so lovely for our CHOCOLATE February. Thanks for sharing with us another gorgeous loaf!

  8. Karen these breads are absolutely perfect!

  9. That looks lovely ! #TwelveLoaves, another bread baking challenge :) I sometimes make a cherry chocolate bread with a sourdough starter, that would be something for here. Hhmmm, maybe, if I have time ...

  10. Karen your bread looks amazing. Reading through your post gives me the confidence that I could achieve something like this in the near future.


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