Russian Black Bread

January 5, 2017
Savoury Bakes
Family Verdict:


1 packet (7g) active dry yeast

Pinch of sugar

60ml lukewarm water

240ml water

2 tablespoons black treacle

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

10g unsweetened chocolate

60g cup whole-wheat flour

150g medium rye flour

180g cups unbleached, all-purpose or bread flour

30g bran

1 tablespoons caraway seeds

1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon instant coffee powder

1. In a small bowl, combine yeast and sugar with warm water. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

2. Heat 240ml water, molasses, vinegar, butter and chocolate until the butter and chocolate are melted. Set aside and let cool to lukewarm.

3. Combine whole-wheat, rye and white flours in a large bowl. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of a heavy mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine two cups mixed flours, bran, 2 tablespoons caraway seeds, fennel seeds, salt and coffee powder. At low speed, add yeast and chocolate mixtures. Mix until smooth and beat at medium speed for three minutes. (If you don’t like whole seeds in your bread, grinding them in a spice grinder, coffee grinder or mortar and pestle allows their flavor to come through without the texture.)

5. At low speed, add half cup of remaining mixed flours at a time, until dough clears sides of bowl and begins to work its way up paddle. It will be very sticky but firm.

6. Scrape dough off paddle, flour counter well, and knead to make a springy yet dense dough. You might not use all of the flour mixture.

7. Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Turn once to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. 

8. Gently deflate dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a rounds or loaf. Loaves should be placed in a loaf pan sprayed with nonstick spray, while rounds should be placed seam down on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled and puffy, about 45 minutes to one hour. Slash an X into the top of a round before baking it; no such slashing is needed for bread in a loaf pan.

9. Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until loaf is well-browned. Baking time in your oven may vary — check in on the bread when it is 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through the baking time to make sure it has not super-speedily baked. Remove from baking sheet to cool completely on a rack.


What on earth is black bread? And why have a recipe for it?? Well, this is something to make if you are making something like Gravad Lax. This bread is a meal in itself. The taste is very complex - with malt and aniseed and all sorts of deep savouriness going on. And the texture is deep and dense to go with the flavour. Slice it thinly, butter or sour cream then thick slices of gravad lax and top with pickled cucumber. Yum.

It would carry anything deeply savoury with equal aplomb.It makes fantastic toast which can carry marmite, honey or marmalade. It is difficult to over-state its qualities It is though a little complex in its ingredients list although the method is not hugely more complicated than a conventional loaf. It keeps well, would be good for turkey sandwiches - so make it at christmas at least.

This recipe works, having evaluated several and is derived from the one on the Smitten Kitchen. I have omitted shallots which she uses, and I dont think it suffers at all as a result. I have cheated a little on the rating here - this is my call as the Offspring are not really into bread which isnt white and sliced! Depresssing but there it is.

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