Usually I buy Silver Hills Squirrelly bread but occasionally I'll buy black Russian bread from the grocery store which I love. And when I do buy the black Russian bread I usually use it for one of my favourite meals - autumn panzanella. I want to bake bread more often so thought this was a good one to try making at home. The ingredient list is crazy including unsweetened chocolate, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, espresso powder, shallot, cornmeal, molasses, apple cider vinegar, wheat bran and various flours.
I was really happy with how it turned out - very soft but with a slight chew. Not surprisingly very flavourful. Definitely a success. It's not the kind of bread that I like eating on its own everyday (ex. toasted with butter or cheese) as it does have a strong flavour, but to use it occasionally to make a sandwich is a nice change. Years ago I remember making this vegetarian reuben (with avocado instead of corned beef). This bread would be perfect for a reuben.
One thing I did not like was that it has you set the dough on a mixture of cornmeal, flour and caraway seeds. The caraway seeds were too strong for me so I'd recommend omitting them (not from the dough just from this extra step).
I'm submitting this bread to YeastSpotting.
If this sounds good, you might also like:
Yeasted Garlic Zucchini Bread
Freshly Fruited Yeast Bread
Carob Pumpernickel Bread
Buttermilk Honey Bread
Black Russian Rye Bread
Adapted from The Bread Bible
Makes 2 medium round loaves
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115F)
2 tbsp active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter (or regular unsalted butter)
1 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups dark rye flour
3 cups bread flour
1 cup wheat bran
2 tbsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp instant espresso powder
1 tbsp minced shallot
1/4 cup medium-grind yellow cornmeal
1 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1. Put the warm water in a bowl or measuring cup. Add the yeast and sugar, stirring to dissolve. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, or until foamy.
2. In a small pot, add 2 cups water, molasses, vinegar, butter, and chocolate. Heat to 105F to 115F. Ensure the butter and chocolate has melted. Set aside. In a separate large bowl, combine the whole wheat, rye bread flours. Set aside.
3. In the work bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add 2 cups of the mixed flours, bran, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, salt, espresso, shallot, yeast mixture and chocolate mixture. Beat vigorously until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining mixed flours 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. You might not use all of the flour. The dough will be very sticky but firm.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in any remaining flour mixture to make a springy yet dense dough, about 3 minutes. You might not need to use all of the flour. Form the dough into a ball.
5. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning it to ensure all sides have been oiled. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
6. In a small bowl, combine the cornmeal and flour. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat. Sprinkle the cornmeal/flour mixture on the baking sheet.
7. Gently deflate the dough. Divide into 2 equal portions and shape each into a tight round loaf. Place the loaves, seam side down, on the baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy and almost doubled in bulk, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
8. Twenty minutes prior to baking, preheat the oven to 350F.
9. Using a serrated knife, slash the top of the loaves with an X no more than 1/4 inch deep. Place the baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the loaves are crusty and sound hollow when tapped with your finger. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.