Monday, August 24, 2009

BBB - Russian Black Bread

At last this gal with a Russian name gets to bake Russian bread!
This month Gorel of Grain Doe has put together a dark and brooding loaf full of fabulous flavour. It is rough and rustic and wonderful with gravlax, cream cheese, or these hammie sammies below. We ate this bread for days and it only seemed to get better with time.
Check out Gorel's site for step by step directions, and to find out how you can bake along this month and earn yourself a Bread Baking Buddy badge.

Black Bread – intermediate style
by Gorel, Grain Doe (notes Gorel's)

SOURDOUGH
Medium rye flour 300 g (10,6 oz)
Water 350 ml (1,5 cup)
Active sourdough culture* 2 Tbsp

SOAKER
Old bread**, toasted 100 g/3,5 oz
Coffee, ground 15 g/0,5 oz
Vegetable, neutral oil 25 g/0,9 oz
Molasses 60 ml/1/4 cup
Caraway seeds 2 tsp
Fennel seeds 1 tsp
Minced shallots 1 Tbsp
Water, hot 400 ml/1 2/3 cup

FINAL DOUGH
Medium rye flour 300 g/10,6 oz
High gluten bread flour 400 g/14,1 oz
Salt 20 g/0,7 oz (appr. 1 Tbsp)
Yeast
Fresh: 15 g/0,5 oz OR Instant dry: 1,5 tsp (0,17 oz)
Soaker - All of the above
Sourdough - All of the above

* If you don’t have any active starter at hand, I think you can cheat by using a small amount (say 5 g fresh or 0,5 tsp instant dry yeast) instead.
** I used rye sourdough bread, but I guess any old unsweetened bread will do, or any old bread in general.

Sourdough
Mix the ingredients to the sourdough, cover the container with plastic and leave for 12–14 hours at room temperature.

Soaker
Toast the old bread in a toaster or in the oven. The bread should be browned, but absolutely not blackened. Dice the bread or just tear it in pieces and put it in a bowl. Add the rest of the soaker ingredients except the water. Heat the water to near boiling and pour over the soaker ingredients. Cover and leave for the same duration as the sourdough.

Final dough
Mix the two flours in a separate bowl.

If using fresh yeast: Take a small amount of the soaker liquid and dissolve the yeast in it.
Add the yeast mixture OR the instant dry yeast, soaker, sourdough and salt to a mixing bowl.
Add half of the flour mixture and work the dough by hand or in machine. Continue to add about 100 ml or ½ cup of the flour mixture at a time and work until the flour is completely absorbed before you add the next round. The dough shall be firm but still quite sticky. You might not use all the flour, or you might need to add more flour, all depending on the flour used.
Place the dough in an oiled container, cover with plastic and leave for 2–3 hours or until doubled in size.

Shaping and proofing
Drizzle some rye flour on the table top and place the dough on top. If the dough is very sticky, pour just enough rye flour on top of it to make it possible to handle.
Divide the dough in two and shape the parts into oblong loaves. (I placed them on parchment paper to make it possible to just slide the loaves into the oven.) Stretch the surface using both hands to get a tight loaf. Use more rye if the dough is too sticky to handle.
Cover with a tea towel and leave for 60 minutes. Don’t over-proof! (Fire up the oven after 30 minutes to have it ready.)

Baking
Place an empty metal container in the bottom of the oven. Put in your baking stone or an empty baking sheet. Heat the oven to 225 °C/435 °F.
Put 3–4 ice cubes in the metal container.
Move the loaves to the hot stone or sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
Open the oven door to vent out some moist. At the same time, lower the temp. to 200 °C/400 °F. Bake another 30-40 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped underneath, or when the inner temperature has reached appr. 97 °C/207 °F.
Let the loaves cool down before you slice them. Eat with butter and maybe some sharp cheese, or why not cured salmon.
This bread has been Yeastspotted!
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The Bread Baking Babes - check out how they fared with this bread!