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We finally made it to Thunder Bay, where I could buy some rye flour to try my old Russian Black Bread recipe that I used to love so much when I had a working bread machine. I’ve been bursting to make it with my new Cheftronic Stand Mixer, using some of the tricks I’ve learned making artisan breads. I’m really happy with my first results, and I plan on experimenting further too, adding to this page as I go.
I seem to have lost most of my notes from when I baked it with the bread machine. I think I eventually increased the rye flour to 50% and tried using a mix of all purpose and whole wheat flour. I can’t seem to find gluten anymore, which I used to use with the all purpose and whole wheat f!our, though. Until I find that again, I’ll have to stick to bread flour for now. I’ll get who!e wheat bread flour next time we are in Thunder Bay.
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup rye flour
1 tablespoon caraway seed
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon anise seed
2 teaspoons active dry, quick-rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar (If I don’t have molasses, I double the sugar)
1 1/2 cups room temperature water
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons butter
1. If you have one, put the mixing bowl shield on the stand mixer, and put in the dough hook.
2. Add to the mixing bowl: both the bread and rye flour; the caraway, fennel and anise seeds; yeast; salt; and brown sugar. Mix on the first setting, until uniform.
3. Heat the water 1\2 cups of water to room temperature in the microwave in an 8 cup batter bowl or the large bowl you will later proof your dough in, and stir in the cocoa and instant coffee. Add the liquid to the mixing bowl of the stand mixer with the cider vinegar and the honey or molasses.
4. Knead the dough on the second setting for 10 minutes. Don’t worry if it’s a little dry. It will moisten with the butter, but it shouldn’t be crumbly.
5. Meanwhile, dry and butter the batter bowl for the first proofing of the dough, and prepare two 9×5-inch loaf pans by cutting parchment paper to fit or by buttering them. You can also make one large loaf in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven.
6. Add the softened butter and mix for an additional 5 minutes on the second setting. Add flour or water if the dough isn’t the right consistency.
7. Meanwhile, microwave 1 cup of water in a coffee cup for 2 minutes. Transfer the dough to the greased batter bowl, and put on the lid. Leave the cup in to steam. Allow the dough to rise in the microwave until doubled, about 30 min to 1 hour. Reheat the water at 30 min if needed. Since there are measurements on the bowl, it’s easy to see when it has doubled. After the first 30 min, I check every 15 min and when it almost touches the lid of the batter bowl, it’s done.
8. Reheat your cup of water for another 2 minutes. If you’re using two loaf pans, cut the dough in half or make one large loaf for a Dutch Oven. Fold the sides of the dough under, to form a loaf, pinching the seam together. Place the loaf(ves), seam-side down, and cut slashes on the top of the dough. Allow the dough to rise in the uncovered pan(s) in the microwave again, until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.
9. Meanwhile, move the oven rack to the lowest position if you are using a roasting pan and a bit higher for a Dutch Oven. Put the pizza stone on top. Put a trivet or rack in a large roasting pan if that’s what you’re using or put a cake pan on the rack below. Pour hot water from the tap into the roasting or came pan and preheat the oven to 400 degrees (200 degrees C).
10. Place the loaf pans on the rack, inside the roasting pan. Bake the loaves with the lid on for 15 minutes to give your bread steam-driven oven spring, or make a foil tent if you’re worried the lid on your Dutch Oven isn’t high enough. I have a casserole dish the same size as my Dutch Oven that I can use as a tall lid.
11. Take the lid off, and put in the internal thermometer. Bake for about 15 more minutes or until an internal temperature of 190 degrees (88 degrees C). The crust will be dark on top and sound hollow. Remove the bread from the pan, and cool on a wire rack.