Hanseatic city of Hamburg, ahoy! Hamburg black bread made from rye with oat grains is the bread of my childhood and my hometown, I grew up with it. Unfortunately, it has not been sold in bakeries for quite some time - at least not in the quality I know and expect. That's why I'm so excited that after a long search I finally succeeded and can bake my childhood bread myself at home.

I have tried quite a few recipes and adapted, until I came across the recipe for East Frisian black bread with sunflower seeds by Stefanie Herberth. You can really chase me away with sunflower seeds, though, so I replaced them with my beloved oats, also marginally twisted the other ingredients here and there and voilá! Taste and consistency fit, it became a perfect Hamburg black bread.

Sourdough bread is easily digestible

Many people have increasing problems tolerating bread. Surprisingly, however, the grains are not even the most common trigger for the intolerances! The culprit is rather the little time that is taken in the bread production. In many cases, it is the sugars in the grains that cause intestinal problems. A bread dough needs to leave for at least four hours to break these down. Longer is even better. Leaving the dough longer also improves the flavor of the bread and increases the zinc and iron content.

Rye bread made with classic sourdough is particularly healthy because it is very digestible and optimizes the utilization of nutrients. So, more time baking means more flavor, more nutrients and better digestibility.

Rye is also an excellent source of minerals like flouride, for example, and oats are the superfood amongst the grains anyway. Not only does it taste delicious and provides long-lasting satiety, it also comes with the greatest amount of protein, minerals and vitamins than any other grain.


For this Hamburg black bread you need a 1 kg loaf pan and two days time. I mill the rye myself at home, and depending on my mood it is sometimes finer, sometimes coarser. However, it should not be finer than medium-fine, then the hearty character, which makes this bread, would be lost.

Evening, Day 1

rye sour


  • 100 gr. rye groats
  • 200 gr. oat grains (naked oats)
  • 300 gr. boiling water
  • 20-23 gr. salt

Combine all the ingredients for the rye sour into a uniform dough and leave to rise at room temperature for 12-18 hours. For the soaker pour boiling water over the oat grains, salt and groats and leave to swell overnight.

If the sourdough needs more than 12 hours, it is no problem to leave the soaker for this long, too. I always prepare both in the evening, and between morning and noon the dough will then be finished. This rye bread is patient.

Morning or a.m., day 2


  • 400 gr. rye groats
  • 200 gr. warm water
  • 60 - 80 gr. sugar beet syrup or malt syrup
  • rye sour
  • soaker
  • oat grains, groats or rolled oats for topping

Thoroughly mix the groats with the hot water and the soaker. Then add the syrup and sourdough and knead everything for 30 minutes on a slow speed. This is called swelling kneading and causes the groats to absorb the water particularly well. The bread becomes firm and very juicy.

Let the dough rise for 45 minutes, covered with a cloth. If you take whole oat grains for sprinkling, soak them now in a little water.

Shape the risen dough into a loaf with moistened hands and place in the greased loaf pan sprinkled with oat grains or oatmeal. I sometimes like to use a smaller one and a tiny one instead of a large pan. Then I have cute little slices of bread to make Smørrebrød bites, or as a side dish. Tiny breads are popular with kids anyway.

The dough should fill the mold or molds to 2 cm below the rim. On top sprinkle with oat grains or oat flakes. Once I have sliced the top of the bread before baking, which didn't turn out nice, it torn open while baking. So better let be.


Now the dough pieces must rise for 2 - 2.5 hours until they stick out about 2 cm above the edge of the molds. If this is not yet the case, you just give them more time. In the summer it has happened to me that the dough piece needed less than 2 hours, so it is recommended to check every now and then.

Preheat the oven to 220°C, insert the bread, steam and turn the temperature down to 160°C. Bake for 140 minutes with steam.

Before cutting the Hamburg black bread should rest at least 24 hours. If you've also baked a mini loaf, as I sometimes do, the 24 hours is definitely enough. I like to give the large loaves even more time to set.

By the way, what is also really great about this bread is its shelf life. In 2021 I took a freshly baked bread on the boat on sailing vacation. We have not eaten every day of it, because the competition in some ports were fresh Birkes rolls and Håndværker Brød. I was all the more pleased to find that the bread, despite the heat and humidity, only in a paper bag in the cabinet, remained a whole three weeks not only edible, but very enjoyable.

Awesome, right?

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