Sunday, May 2, 2010

Russian black bread

OK, you know that the post will be pretty cool when the title is "Russian black bread." This is a particularly zany bread from BH&G that I've had to build up quite a store of ingredients for. It seemed like a lot of really weird things at the beginning of this bread challenge, but now I seem to have (almost) all the ingredients in my cupboard waiting for just such a bread.

Let's look at the list, shall we?
  • All-purpose flour (unbleached, of course)
  • Rye flour
  • Whole bran cereal
  • Yeast
  • Instant coffee crystals
  • Caraway seed
  • Sugar
  • Fennel seed
  • Water
  • Molasses
  • Butter
  • Unsweetened chocolate
  • Vinegar
  • Water & corn starch for glaze
Yeah, it's a lot. I had the rye flour and caraway seeds left over from rye bread and pumpernickel, I had the bran cereal left over from peasant bread, I had the coffee crystals left over from Swedish meatballs and date-apple coffee bread, and the molasses from a few other breads. The fennel seed was the only thing I had to buy to make this bread.

Oh, and I used a special unsweetened chocolate for this one. On a whim the other day, I bought a bar of Ghirardelli 100% cacao chocolate. I thought Dave and I could handle it, because our usual chocolate is in the range of about 70% to 85% cacao, but no. 100% is ridiculous. It gave me a headache. At any rate, I figured since it was being split up into two fairly large loaves, it wouldn't be too bad.

So, the bread was made the usual way, and it was as dark as pumpernickel. It got all of its beautiful, dark color from molasses, chocolate, rye flour, and coffee.

So instead of pan loaves, this bread made two round loaves. I got to show some guests, Andy and Joanna, how to punch down the bread and shape it. Then it baked for a while - quite a while, actually.

After this picture, I glazed the loaves with a cooked mixture of corn starch and water. It made them nice and shiny, but I'm not sure how it's going to taste on the bread. Usually bread glazes are some mixture of confectioners' sugar, and usually they're for sweet bread. But it looked like other Russian black breads I've seen.

At any rate, glaze or no glaze, I'm pretty excited about this one. I'm making sandwiches tomorrow using this bread, so I'll find out then. It's got to be pretty good for you, what with all the bran and rye, and also the spices. I plan on doing thick slices with deli turkey, hummus (homemade, of course), and sliced Gouda. Sounds pretty awesome.

No comments: