Black pepper wholemeal bread

This is zingy and hot! Perfect for anyone that loves a bit of heat. I have been meaning to make it for ages. This week I have ben testing cracker recipes ready for my live online demo for my Bread Made East membership. One of those crackers had black pepper added and it is delicious. So it was time to try freshly ground black pepper in a loaf. You could use with any favourite bread recipe – white, sourdough, wholemeal, focaccia etc. I have added 10g of freshly ground black pepper to 500g. This results in a hot hit of flavour. You can reduce the amount if you would prefer something a little milder.

pepper wholemeal loaf

I recommend that you grind the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar or electric spice grinder to achieve a mix of coarse and finely ground pepper. The finely ground pepper will incorporate throughout the flour, the larger bits provide a fiery bite.


500g wholemeal flour
5g easy bake/ instant/ fast action yeast or 15g fresh yeast
5-10g fine sea salt
5-10g freshly ground black pepper
between 380-420g water


Place the flour, yeast, pepper and salt in a bowl and mix through. Pour in 340g water and start to mix. You will need more water. As the dough starts to come together splash in small amounts of water and mix until the dough has a soft, slightly sticky consistency and there are no dry bits. Keep on squeezing the dough for another minute or so to make sure the flour is fully hydrated. 

Cover with a proving cloth or shower cap and leave to rest for at least 10 minutes, up to an hour. Uncover and do the first round of stretch and fold. Leave to rest again for at least ten minutes. Do a second round of stretch and fold. 

Cover and leave to ferment for at least an hour to get light and filled with air. You could put it in the fridge overnight at this stage. 

When airy and light, shape and leave to ferment again. You could place it in the fridge for several hours or overnight. 

Preheat the oven to 220C, 425F, gas mark 7. When the loaf is fully proofed (see video) bake for 30-40 minutes depending on your oven. Check that it is fully baked by placing an internal thermometer in the centre of the loaf. It should read at least 88C for the loaf to be fully baked. The loaf should be golden all over and feel light. 

Leave to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before slicing.

You can watch a video on how to make wholemeal bread below, you just need to add the freshly ground pepper:

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