Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Russian Black Bread


This is a very heart, dense bread that is an excellent "dipper" in winter soups!

1 tablespoon instant coffee
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water, 100 degrees to 110 degrees
1/4 cup molasses
5 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey
4 1/2 cups whole-wheat bread flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons dark-rye flour
2 tablespoons sifted cocoa powder
4 teaspoons salt
Canola oil, for bowl and plastic wrap
Coarse cornmeal, for sprinkling
1 large egg white, slightly beaten

DIRECTIONS
STEP 1
In a small bowl, dissolve coffee in 1/4 cup warm water, and set aside. In electric mixer, combine remaining water and molasses. Sprinkle yeast on top, stir, and let stand until yeast is creamy, about 10 minutes.

STEP 2
Add remaining ingredients, except cornmeal and egg white, to the yeast mixture; mix, using the paddle attachment, on low speed for 1 minute. Change to the dough hook, and mix on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and slightly tacky, 6 minutes. Or knead by hand, 15 to 20 minutes.

STEP 3
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, and knead by hand, four or five turns, into a ball. Place the dough, smooth side up, in a large lightly oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 hours.

STEP 4
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and cut in half. Cover one piece of dough loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap, and set aside. Press the other piece of dough into a 9-inch square. Fold one side of the dough into the middle, then fold the other side over it, like a letter. Turn dough 90 degrees, and fold again, pinching seam and sides closed. Place seam side down on an unfloured surface, and roll the dough back and forth, shaping the loaf: It should be tapered to a point at both ends, thick and rounded in the middle, and 12 inches long. Repeat shaping process with remaining piece of dough. Sprinkle a clean cloth with coarse cornmeal, and place the loaves on top about 6 inches apart. Cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap and then with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. Thirty minutes before this final rise is completed, place a baking stone, if using, in the lower third of oven and an empty baking pan on the lowest shelf. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

STEP 5
Transfer loaves to a baker's peel or rimless baking sheet that has been sprinkled with coarse cornmeal. Brush the top of the loaves with the egg white. Use a razor blade or serrated knife to make four diagonal cuts, 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep, across each loaf. Slide each loaf onto the baking stone. If not using a stone, bake loaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet that has been dusted with coarse cornmeal. Quickly pour 2 cups of very hot water into the heated baking pan to create steam. Bake until dark brown and hollow-sounding when tapped on the bottom, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.


From 10th Anniversary Cookbook; Martha Stewart Living Cookbook, 2000



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