Honey Wheat Black Bread

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Honey Wheat Black Bread

star rating (27) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

This loaf, often known as Canadian Brown Bread, is dark and quite sweet, but pleasingly so; we love it with just a plain pat of butter.

1 1/2 cups (12 ounces( warm water
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup (6 ounces) honey
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 2/3 cups (6 3/4 ounces) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon powdered caramel color* (optional)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast*

Manual/Mixer Method: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, or the bowl of your electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients. Stir the mixture together, using your hands, a spoon, or your mixer, till the dough forms a shaggy mass that begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Knead the dough, by hand or mixer, for about 10 minutes, till it's become smooth. Transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise until doubled in bulk, at least 1 hour.

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine. Program the machine for manual or dough, and press Start. Examine the dough about midway through the kneading cycle; it should be soft and smooth, but not overly sticky. Adjust the consistency with additional water or bread flour, as needed. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a small log-shaped loaf. This dough is soft, so use flour or a non-stick spray on your hands. Sprinkle a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet with cornmeal, place the loaves on the sheet, and cover. Let the loaves rise for 1 hour, or until they look "puffy" but aren't doubled in size.

Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes. The loaves will appear slightly darker on the top when they're done. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a wire rack. Yield: 8 mini-loaves.

This bread stays moist and delicious for at least four days. If you want a less sweet bread, just cut the honey to 1/4 cup and leave out the 1 tablespoon sugar. The bread won't stay moist as long, but has very good flavor. We also tried this bread with molasses in place of the honey, and it was very good.

*Available through our catalogue.


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  • star rating 05/04/2015
  • member-kdcbelle1 from KAF Community
  • Update......my previous review was not for this bread, my mistake, Sorry! I made this bread the other day using my bread machine set for dough, and as others stated the dough/batter was very wet. I followed the directions as written and ended up adding about 3/4 c. more bread flour to get to a workable consistency. In the end it all worked out and was fantastic with incredible texture and taste. I'll definitely make this again now knowing the changes or additions I need to make. I made two 8.5 x 4.5 loaves. I recommend this recipe but please be sure to read the comments previous to mine as I should have.
  • star rating 01/12/2015
  • member-kdcbelle1 from KAF Community
  • Excellent and easy to make. I made this in my bread machine, used KA pumpernickel flour and added a scant TBL of KA Deli Rye Flavor which I'll definitely do the next time I make this. I needed to add about 1/4 c. of water during the kneeding time, the dough was ultra thick. My husband and son loved this bread. We kept one and my son took one home. Both want me to make this again.....soon. Highly recommend this bread!
  • star rating 12/26/2014
  • Harmless Dilettante from Northern California
  • Absolutely heavenly! My husband hates coffee, but couldn't taste it in this bread, even though I substituted a couple of ounces of freshly pulled espresso shots for the espresso powder, (I reduced the water by 1/4 cup to compensate.) I couldn't taste the cocoa or the coffee and the whole wheat flavor disappeared too. I also made the dough into rolls as well as mini loaves. Perfect dinner rolls! This bread far better than the squaw bread I was substituting it for. I suspect this bread will be a mainstay in our house. Yum!
  • star rating 04/08/2014
  • Cindy from Metairie, LA
  • This was almost exactly what I am looking for! The only thing that caused me to give away all four loaves this morning was the taste of coffee (which I abhor). I am going to try again tonight without the coffee! I am in the humid south and used 1 cup of water. I found the dough a little more sticky than other doughs, but with a little Pam, it was really easy to work with. The texture was perfect!
  • star rating 12/25/2013
  • Kate from PA
  • This bread is delicious, but as others have mentioned, it's definitely a handful to make properly. As written I can't imagine it working. I live in a temperate climate and it's currently the middle of winter (so not humid) and I have to greatly reduce the liquid (or increase the flour) to make a workable dough. It is absolutely batter if you make it according to the recipe. I definitely recommend following the advice of a reviewer below and letting the dough sit for 20 minutes while kneading. It does wonders to make your dough more manageable. Alterations - I'm not a big fan of sweet breads so I've reduced the sugar in a couple of ways. The first time I removed the honey entirely and used just molasses plus one TBS of raw sugar. This was delicious and fantastic for sandwiches. But with just a spread of butter I found it was slightly bitter and could have used more sweetness. I wanted this recipe to match Cheesecake Factory's brown bread so after doing some research for that recipe I found out they used honey and brown sugar in their bread. The next batch I only replaced 3/4 of the honey with molasses, and used a TBS of brown sugar. This was my wonderful and is the version I now use every time. Just sweet enough with a little honey taste. I think it would also be delicious with more brown sugar if you prefer sweeter breads. - I have made this without chocolate and it tastes pretty much the same. I think it is mainly for color as without the cocoa it is a honey colored bread rather than a dark brown (I skip the caramel coloring as well). - Earth Balance Buttery Sticks or coconut oil work well in place of butter if you're looking to replace that. - Right before baking I spray a little bit of water on top of the dough and crumble some oats on top, it makes a nice touch if you're making mini loaves. - I have made the recommended 8 loaves as well as simply sliding the dough into two loaf pans. Both ways work well. Overall this bead is absolutely delicious, but I really think the recipe needs work. Normally King Arthur Flour recipes are flawless, but I can't imagine this one working as it's written. I have been baking for over a decade and have yet to find any recipe that has given me this much trouble. If you're an experienced baker it isn't difficult to figure out how to make the dough work for you, but I don't know if I would recommend this recipe for a beginner.
  • star rating 11/30/2012
  • AnnaS22 from KAF Community
  • This bread had great flavor, just like the bread we get in several restaurants. After reading the reviews, I reduced the water by 1/4 c. but I still had to add at least an extra 1/4 cup of flour. At this point the dough was still very wet (more like batter) and so I let it rest for 20 minutes in the mixing bowl (covered with plastic wrap), a trick I learned from Amy's Bread when working with very wet dough. I then mixed again and then this time the dough started to at least come together and slap the sides of the bowl. After this it was much easier to work with. I baked a single loaf in a 9x5 pan but it took over 45 minutes for the internal temp to reach 190. I think next time I will do two smaller loaves, making 8 mini loaves with this sticky dough sounds like a nightmare and not really worth the effort. The only other changes I made were I used 1/4 c. honey and 2 T. molasses instead of 1/2 c. honey. I also omitted the cocoa (daughter has chocolate sensitivity) and used 1 via pack of coffee for the instant coffee.
  • star rating 07/22/2012
  • Michelle in Jax from KAF Community
  • Update from my 7/14 review: I've made the recipe again, but this time substituted molasses for half of the honey. Like last time, I did scale down the water by 1/4 cup from the recipe, and substituted carob powder for the coffee and cocoa (it's what I have on hand). I used no powdered caramel. My intent was to try and imitate Cheesecake Factory's dark dinner bread. The molasses definitely simulated CF's bread color. My husband and I agree their bread has some molasses in it, but not quite this much. Next time I will cut back to about 1/4 cup molasses and the rest honey. We did put oats on top, which makes a nice touch. Definitely still a great recipe we are enjoying very much!
  • star rating 07/14/2012
  • Michelle from Jacksonville, FL
  • This bread is great! Like others, I was looking for a simulation of Cheesecake Factory's dark dinner bread. I think the flavor and texture of this one is quite close. Changes: I reduced the water by 1/4 cup (used 1-1/4 cup), reduced honey to 1/3 cup total (that and the sugar just seemed like too much sweetener to me), substituted carob powder for both the chocolate and the coffee (it was what I had on hand), and omitted the caramel coloring. The color isn't quite as dark as CF bread, but otherwise, just what we were looking for! I did make this start to finish in my breadmaker. Since so many other reviewers commented about how difficult the dough was to work with, I figured why bother and just cooked it as one loaf. It rose beautifully on the 2lb setting (need to use the whole wheat setting so it gets plenty of time to rise), and now we have a nice thick loaf of bread to enjoy. Next time I am going to try substituting molasses for half of the honey and see if that doesn't darken it up on top. That, and some oats on top to garnish and it'll be perfect.
  • star rating 06/10/2012
  • wendolapeterson from KAF Community
  • After reading the previous reviews, I cut back the water by 1/2 cup as I live in a humid climate. That seemed to be the right amount, as I had to add very little flour outside the original recipe. However, I found the recipe a little confusing due to the segregated directions. I didn't know when the recipe reconciled, so I only let the dough raise the initial 1 hour. After receiving an email from KAF (although too late), it was brought to my attention that it needed to have a double raise. This resulted in my bread being quite dense. It still has good flavor and is somewhat tender, but I wish that I would have let it raise longer.
    Sorry my email did not reach you in time to be of use. Emails are answered in the order they arrive. If you are ever in the "middle of it", and need help please call us on the Hot Line 800-827-6836. Frank @ KAF.
  • star rating 04/26/2012
  • mom244evermom from KAF Community
  • I have very mixed feelings about this recipe. For me, as for a lot of the bakers who reviewed this recipe as written, it was a batter. Definitely not something that could be shaped into a roll. I ended up adding a lot of AP flour. If I had it to do again I would add bread flour. I was looking for more "chew" from the roll, I was hoping it would be similar to Cheesecake Factory's brown bread. The color was spot on, the flavor was a little muddled to me. I subbed 1/4 cup molasses for 1/4 cup of the honey. I did include the caramel color. If I make this bread again I think I would reduce the amount of coffee, I felt it was a little too dominant and confusing in the roll. My rolls were not nice loaves as I was looking for. If I make them again I will try harder to make them long and lean so hopefully they'll be loaf-ish. I also was hoping for more of a hard crust. Maybe I would like them better if I made the dough and allowed it to "age" in the fridge for a day before I shape and bake? Not sure.
    Allowing the dough to proof slowly in the fridge will contribute to the final flavor. This dough should be very soft, but using flour or an oil spray on your hands and surfaces will help manage it for you. ~Amy
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