Black Bread

14 10 2012

Black bread: not just an excuse to eat dill butter. In the process, you’ll also get to go ingredient questing (hint: Spicy Yuli carries caraway seeds, and the word you want is alcaravea), finally make use of that half-jar of molasses bequeathed to you over a year ago, experiment with overnight rising in the fridge, infuse every room in your house with the deep scent of rye, and MacGuyver yourself a cooling rack.

It’s also an excellent excuse to eat dill butter.

Black Bread
very slightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks.

1 packet fresh yeast
1.5 c warm water
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons finely ground espresso
1/4 cup molasses
3 teaspoons caraway seeds, plus more for topping
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
~2 cups grated carrot (2 large)
1 1/3 cup rye flour
3+ cups all-purpose flour (or bread flour if you’ve got it), plus more for dusting

1. Dissolve the yeast with the warm water and sugar; set aside until proofed.

2. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the cocoa, coffee, molasses, caraway, butter, and salt. Stir constantly until just melted – make sure the mixture isn’t too hot when you add it to the yeast.

3. Combine the yeast mixture with the grated carrot and molasses mixture in a large mixing bowl.

4. Add the flours, and stir until you’ve got a soft, tacky, cohesive dough. I ended up needing quite a bit more flour than called for here, and just kept adding and kneading until everything came together into a reasonable, pliable dough.

5. Shape the dough into a ball, rub with a bit of olive oil, and place seam-side down into an oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rise until the dough increases in size by at least half – I did this overnight in the refrigerator, but you could certainly do it in much less time in a warmer spot.

6. When doubled, gently press the dough down to release the build-up of air. Turn the out a very lightly oiled baking sheet, coax into a circular shape, then cover loosely. Allow to rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, another hour.

7. Uncover, brush with water, and sprinkle with a dusting of flour and caraway seeds. Use a serrated knife to slash an ‘X’ deeply across the dough without deflating the loaf. Bake for 20 minutes at 425F/220C. Dial back the heat to 350F/180C, and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until the loaf develops a structured, toasted-bottomed crust, and the loaf sounds a bit hollow when you knock on it.

8. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes on a rack – or chopsticks balanced on a plate – before slicing into and dousing in dill butter.

Make one extra-large loaf – or two smaller ones if you like. I liked. Don’t forget to bake them for less time.


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