The effect of wheat and rye breads made from white wheat flour with added refined fibre (WFL), whole-wheat grain, wheat aleurone flour (WAF) or rye aleurone flour (RAF) on digestion and fermentation processes in the gut was studied in a model experiment with pigs. The diets were similar in dietary fibre (DF) but differed in arabinoxylan (AX) content and composition. Twenty pigs were fed the breads three times daily (08.00, 13.00 and 18.00 hours) and the digesta collected through a T-cannula for two successive periods (breakfast: 8.00–13.00; lunch: 13.00–18.00 hours). Faeces were collected for 24 h and caecal and colonic contents at slaughter. The rigid nature of the aleurone cell walls encapsulated nutrients, which resulted in reduced (P < 0·01) digestibility of protein (WAF and RAF breads) and fat (RAF bread). For the RAF bread, the digestibility of starch was also lower (P < 0·001) than of the wheat-based diets primarily due to the higher intestinal viscosity. The DF composition had an impact on (P < 0·001) the site for fibre degradation in the large intestine. Thus, AX of the WAF bread, with the lowest degree of substitution, were fermented as much in the caecum as in the colon, whereas AX of the RAF bread, with an intermediary degree of substitution, were mainly fermented in the caecum. The WFL bread, rich in cellulose, was fermented more distally. Fermentation of experimental breads in the large intestine had no effect (P>0·05) on the production of metabolites, except for butyrate which was higher (P < 0·01) after the WAF bread consumption.