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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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