This Russian Black Bread is a hearty, deep and dark rye bread, heavy with flavors of caraway and coffee and perfect for serving with a thick stew.
Russian Black Bread
Bread holds a seriously high place in Russian culture. But not just any bread. They like their bread dense and hearty, with a flavor that will knock your socks off.
Russian Black Bread is their classic bread: hearty, dense and flavorful. All qualities that make for the perfect bread for snacking or pairing with a winter soup.
Black Bread is a rye bread, and ryes tend to be higher in fiber, darker in color and stronger in flavor that bread made with solely wheat flour. They can be light or dark, depending on the ingredients and the ratio of rye flour to wheat flour.
Traditional Russian Black Bread
The most traditional Russian Black Breads are incredibly simple, using just rye flour, water, salt and a sourdough starter for leavening. The 100% rye flour creates a dense bread without much rise, and the sourdough adds a sweet and lightly sour flavor to the robust flavors of the rye.
Making Our Russian Black Bread Recipe
For our Russian Black Bread, we tried to bring more of a modern spin to the basic, traditional recipe.
We started with a half rye, half wheat mixture to give the bread a bit more rising power and a slightly more familiar texture. Then, we added in some wheat bran to pump up the fiber and bring out that hearty texture.
Instead of sourdough, we’ve made this a yeast-risen loaf, so that non-sourdough bakers don’t have to be afraid of it.
The results are a hearty, deep and dark bread heavy with flavors of caraway and coffee. It is a real treat served with salted butter, and makes the perfect accompaniment to a brothy soup.
Russian Black Bread
- 1 ¼ c water, warmed to 90-100F
- Pinch brown sugar
- 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
- 2 Tbsp molasses
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ c rye flour
- 1 ½ c + 2 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ c wheat bran
- 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 Tbsp ground espresso or coffee
- 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp salt
- In a small bowl, combine yeast and sugar with warm water. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
- Heat the molasses and butter in a small bowl, until melted and smooth. Add the vinegar, and let the mixture cool slightly to around 100F.
- In a large bowl, combine rye flour, 1 ½ c all purpose flour, bran, cocoa powder, ground espresso, caraway, fennel and salt. Mix to combine.
- Add yeast and molasses mixtures to the flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
- Add additional all purpose flour as needed to bring the dough together. It will be very sticky but firm
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 7-10 minutes to create a firm, but springy dough. (Alternately, combine the ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer and knead with the dough hook on low speed for 3-5 minutes.)
- Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp tea-towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a round. Place it directly on baking sheet dusted with flour. Cover loosely with a damp tea towel. Let rise until nearly doubled in size roughly 1 hour.
- Near the end of your rising time, preheat the oven to 425F.
- Uncover the dough sprinkle it with a dusting of flour and some caraway seeds (if desired). Using a serrated knife, quickly cut an 'X', roughly 1 ½ inches deep across the top of the dough.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 425F.
- Reduce the heat to 350F, and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until the loaf develops a deep color and sounds hollow when you tap on it.
- Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool for at least 15 minutes on a rack before slicing into it.
As we come to the end of the year, the Sunday Supper crew is tackling recipes they’ve been craving all year. Thanks to Cindy of Cindy’s Recipes and Writings for hosting this week’s crave-fest!
Comfort Food Cravings
- Golabki (Polish Cabbage Rolls) from Healthy. Delicious.
- Sausage and Cheese Stromboli from Casa de Crews
- Steak Tartare from The Texan New Yorker
- Swiss Onion Bread from The Foodie Army Wife
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Cravings