Kasseler ‘Grey Bread’ – One of Fifty shades of German bread

Very delicious this one. And the first yeast-bread I somewhat mastered! It is soooooooo good!!!

I started making this without a mixer, so it is possible, the ‘Krume’ as it is called in German – the stuff inside the crust, will not turn out as flexible and homogenous if you make it by hand, but it still turns out nice! Greybread, ‘Graubrot’ in German, is actually the name given to bread containing wheat and rye in losely same amounts. Black bread, ‘Schwarzbrot’, is called black bread because of it’s sheer rye content AND the colour it gets from its flavour-determining ingredient ‘Rübensaft’ – somewhat like treacle or golden sirup, just derived from sugar beets in a different process (I have a gorgeous recipe and I will post it at some stage). Greybread, thus, comes in many different ‘shades’ of grey, the term mostly used in central West Germany. The more rye you find in the bread, the stronger, more aromatic and rustic the bread tastes. You lose some of the more sophisticated mild and soft taste of wheat though. You may adapt the content in this bread recipe to your liking.

The Wikipedia – Kasseler Brot itself is from the region of Kassel (hence the name) and has nothing – or little – to do with the cured pork of the same name.

The recipe looks a little more intimidating than it actually is. I usually take about 1:40 – 3 h to finish, independent of whether I use a mixer. However, using a mixer has cut down the time I have to do something by an enormous amount.

Have your butter and favourite jam, cheese, cold cuts and honey ready – this bread is READY FOR THE TAKING soon after it comes out of the oven!!!

Recipe: Kasseler Bread – a ‘Grey Bread’

Kasseler Bread

Kasseler Bread

You can vary the percentage of rye, but this is how I do it:

Serves 15-30

Preparation: 10 min
Baking: 50 min
Inactivity: 40 min – 2 h (depends on the rising time/temperature)

  • Oven
  • Baking paper
  • Baking mold or similar
  • Large ceramic or plastic bowl (if found metal not to work as well, but you can try)
  • Fresh tea towel
  • Water in pump spray can (if available)
  • Brush
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • Docker, if available, otherwise sharp knife
    (I used to slice the bread instead as seen in the picture. I forgot I have a docker now and automatically sliced it, so the bread also has the little holes from the docker).
  • Mixer, if available (what I use)
  • Bread rising basket, if available


  • 600 g wheat flour
  • 400 g rye flour
  • 21 g dry yeast (if you can get fresh yeast: 65 g fresh yeast)
  • 20 g salt
  • 600 mL tapid water (may need more e.g. 700 mL)
  • 50 mL milk

Optional additional ingredients for a variation

  • Reduce salt from 20 g to 15 gor even 10 g (linseed seems to make the bread salty)
  • 30 g linseed, ground
  • 70 g sunflower seeds
  • 30 g buckwheat
  • Extra water (approx 50-100 mL)


Part 1) By Hand

  1. Sieve flours and mix with salt and all other dry ingredients apart from yeast.
  2. Dissolve yeast in water and knead into flour until the dough is smooth.
  3. Let the dough rise for 45 min. in a warm, but not hot place, covered with a fresh tea towel until the dough has roughly doubled.
  4. Knead dough again for two minutes.

Part 1) With Magic Monster Kenwood Cooking Chef

  1. Fix bowl and professional dough hook to the machine.
  2. Add all the dry ingredients (including the yeast) in the bowl. If using fresh yeast, dissolve it in a part of the warm water and add this first, when adding the water.
  3. Start the machine at 0.5 speed with about 32-35 °C setting and let it mix the dry ingredients well. Switch the machine of, to use a spatula or other item to help mix in all dry ingredients if they are stuck on the bowl walls.
  4. Add about 600-650 mL of the water, add more, if necessary to form a smooth dough.
  5. Knead for 20 min.
  6. Remove the dough hook and start the program again at 32-35 °C and let it run for another 25-40 min or until about doubled.
    Cover the entire machine with a fresh, slightly damp tea-towel during this rising, to prevent the dough from drying out.

Part 2) Both continued

  1. Form one or two lengthy rolls and either place in bread baskets or on baking paper on a baking tray. The bread will turn out flatter without the bread baskets, but do just fine.
  2. Preheat oven to 200 °C (if available, heat from above and below) and let the bread rise uncovered for another 30 min, or until the dough has a soft-spongy feeling to it (this may require some experience to get perfect! It is called proofing the bread, but your bread will taste fine, even if it’s not perfect!)
  3. When the oven has come to temperature, place the baking mold in the oven, heat the cup of water to a boil and pour it into the mold. This will create a steam-base in the oven, which is important for the crust!
  4. When the bread is ready, humidify the bread surface and distribute the water gently to form a ‘slimy’ surface.
  5. Use the knife to slice the bread or roll over it with the docker (more classic Kasseler style). This will prevent rupture of the crust in random places. If your bread hasn’t risen enough before baking, it will still rupture though. Don’t worry, it gives it a more ‘homemade’ style 😉
  6. Place the bread on baking paper – either on a baking tray or straight with the baking paper on the grid.
  7. Spray the sides and the bottom of the oven wildly with water, to create steam (make sure your oven is OK with that – I am yet to find an oven that isn’t but just in case!).
  8. Bake your wonderful bread for 20 minutes.
  9. After 20 min, remove baking mold to remove the steam and close the oven again. Do not spray again now.
  10. Dry bake the bread another 20 minutes.
  11. Glaze your delicious bread with milk (use brush) and bake another 10 minutes. (If you are vegan, use some oil or try a plant-milk. This process is there to ‘seal’ the surface with protein or other substances. It will keep the bread fresh for longer and make it shiny-looking).
  12. Take your bread out of the oven and let cool until only warm to the touch.
  13. If you cut it too early, it will still be delicious, but the dough may stick together.

After 1-2 days the bread goes a little less exciting. I usually cut it up then and freeze the slices in a freezer bag. Whenever needed, I just pop it in a toaster and there you go – FRESH BREAD!
However, it usually is fine to eat up to a week or two later (depending on your climate). I’m very picky with my fresh bread 😉



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