Weekender Bahrain, Saturday, December 14 2019

Russian Black Bread

admin 10-Nov-2016

Russian Black Bread

Black bread has a strong association with the Russian peasantry and historically has been more prevalent than white bread. The colder temperatures of Russia are more suited to growing rye than wheat and so rye flour was easier and cheaper to obtain. Even so, Kings and Generals, who could afford the more expensive and harder to obtain white bread, often ate black bread because of its association with the values of the Russian peasantry.

What you need:

400g rye flour
375 white flour
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
100g whole bran cereal
2 tsp instant coffee
2 tsp onion powder
2 tbs caraway seed, crushed
1/2 tsp fennel seed, crushed
2 packets active dry yeast
600ml water
60ml vinegar (or 30ml balsamic vinegar)
60mldark molasses
1 square unsweetened chocolate or 1 tsp cocoa
55g butter

how to make:

Mix together the rye and white flour.  
Add the sugar, salt, cereal, coffee, onion powder, caraway seed,fennel seed and dry yeast.
In a saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, molasses, chocolate and butter.  
Using a low heat, heat until the liquids are warm (don’t worry about the butter and chocolate melting, it isn’t necessary.)
Gradually add the liquid to the dry ingredients until soft dough is formed (you may not have to use all of the liquid.)
Work the dough to ensure all of the ingredients are combined well.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board.  Cover and let it rest for about 15 minutes, then knead until smooth and elastic (this is a good workout for the arm muscles.)
Well kneaded dough has a sheen to it as the gluten is formed and will take about 10 to 15 minutes. The dough may still be a little sticky at this stage.  
Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top of the dough as well as the bottom.
Cover and let it rise in a warm place, free from any draft.
The oven is a suitable place, but if you are using an electric oven ensure the fan is turned off. Set the temperature to the lowest setting and keep the door closed.  
When the dough has doubled in bulk (about an hour), punch it down and turn out onto a lightly floured board.
Divide in half.  
Shape each half into a ball about 5 inches across.  Place each ball into the centre of a greased 8-inch round cake tin or use a 2lb loaf tin.
Cover, and let it rise in the same warm place until they’re both doubled in bulk again.  
Bake at 180°C oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until done.  
Remove from the tins and cool on wire racks.