- Yield: 2 Loaves
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
Russian Black Rye Bread
I am obsessed with this bread. This dark, rich rye bread infused with caraway and fennel seeds and a hint of shallot delivers on flavor. It is one of favorite breads to make now ... and eat!
According to Harold McGee: "Up through the last century (rye) was the predominate bread grain for the poor of northern Europe, and even today the taste of rye persists, especially in Scandinavia and eastern Eurpoe." from On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of The Kitchen
This bread not only tastes good but (rye) is good for you according to The Whole Grains Council http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/health-benefits-of-rye
The shelf life of this bread is much longer than other wheat flour breads. The carbohydrates in rye flour breads do not retrograde at the same speed as wheat flour breads.
- Yeast - 2 packet (1/4 ounce each) or 3 tablespoons, active dry
- Water - 2 1/2 cups, room temperature
- Sugar - 1 pinch
- Molasses - 1/2 cup, dark, unsulfured, first boil (like Brer Rabbit All Natural Unsulphured Molasses Mild Flavor)
- Apple cider vinegar - 1/4 cup
- Butter - 1/4 cup, unsalted
- Unsweetened chocolate - 1 ounce
- Whole wheat flour - 1/2 cup
- Medium rye flour - 3 cups
- Bread flour - 3 cups, unbleached
- Wheat bran - 1 cup
- Caraway seeds - 2 tablespoon, toasted
- Fennel seeds - 1/2 teaspoon, toasted
- Salt - 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon, fine
- Instant espresso powder - 1 tablespoon
- Shallot - 1 tablespoon, finely minced
- Cornmeal - 1/4 cup
- Flour - 1 tablespoon
- Caraway seeds - 1 teaspoon
- Combine 1/2 cup water, yeast and pinch of sugar in a mixing bowl and let stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
- Toast the seeds in a small pan.
- Combine 2 cups water, molasses, apple cider vinegar, butter and chocolate in a medium sauce pan. Stir over low heat until butter and chocolate have melted. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, rye flour, and bread flour. Set aside.
- In mixer bowl, add 2 cups of the flour mixture, wheat bran, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, salt, espresso powder and shallots.
- Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the yeast mixture and chocolate mixture. (Note: Chocolate mixture must be cooled down or yeast will not be happy!)
- Once everything is combined, turn mixer to medium speed and continue mixing for 3 additional minutes.
- Switch the mixer paddle out for a dough hook and add remaining flour.
- Knead the dough with the mixer until dough springs back when you poke it (which means that the gluten formation is strong.)
- Form the dough into (one large) ball and place in a large greased bowl, turning once to cover dough with oil.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow dough to double in size. This should take about 2 hours.
- Combine cornmeal, (1 tablespoon) flour, and caraway seeds in a bowl and then spread onto sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- Deflate the dough once it has doubled in size and shape into two, equal sized balls.
- Place the formed balls of dough onto prepared sheet pans, seam side down.
- Cover dough balls with plastic wrap and allow to rise (proof) for 45-60 minutes.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- With a very sharp knife, slash an X on the top of each loaf, 1/4 inch deep.
- Bake loaves for 50 minutes or until instant read thermometer reads 200-210 degrees F.
- Cool completely before slicing or storing.
Note: When colder weather arrives my bread takes longer to rise and proof so plan for extra time during those chilly months.
This recipe is adapted from Beth Hensperger's The Bread Bible.