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Russian Black Bread

March 6, 2012

I have been wanting to make pumpernickel bread for years.  I have found recipe after recipe but none of them really caught my attention.  After having such great success with Smitten Kitchen’s New York Deli Style Rye Bread, a few weeks ago I thought it would be great to try Deb’s Black Bread recipe.

Russian Black Bread is similar to Pumpernickel but it has a slightly different taste and a few extra ingredients.  Russian black bread consists of seventeen ingredients.  It contains three different types of flour, chocolate, espresso, shallots, caraway and fennel seeds, did you get all that 🙂  It is extremely fragrant when baking and will fill your home with a lovely warm aroma.  According to Deb, Russians butter the black bread, top it with caviar and then slug back a shot of ice cold vodka and then dart off to work.  I’m not so tough.  This bread is delightful for sandwiches or simply toasted and lightly buttered.

This recipe did give me a little grief.  I made it twice because the first time I killed the yeast when I added the chocolate mixture to the yeast and flour.  It is not stated in the recipe but you should allow the chocolate mixture to cool before adding it to the yeast as it will cause your yeast to rest in peace.  Aside, from that this bread is definitely going to become a regular in our home 🙂

Russian Black Bread

¾ tablespoon active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
¼ cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons butter
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
¼ cup whole-wheat flour
1 ½ cups medium rye flour
1 ½  cups bread flour
½ cup bran
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
½ tablespoon salt
½  tablespoon instant espresso powder
½  tablespoon minced shallots

To Prepare

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

Heat 1 cup water, molasses, vinegar, butter and chocolate until the butter and chocolate are melted. Set aside allow this mixture to cool to 105 F-115 F.

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

In bowl of a heavy mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine two cups mixed flours, bran, 1 tablespoon caraway seeds, fennel seeds, salt, espresso and shallots. At low speed, add yeast and cooled chocolate mixtures. Mix until smooth and beat at medium
speed for three minutes.

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.

Scrape dough off paddle, flour counter well, and knead to make a springy yet dense dough. You may also, switch the paddle attachment for the dough hook and knead the dough for about 6 minutes until all the dough has come off the sides of the bowl.  If you notice that the dough is still sticking to the bowl simply add a little flour until it comes off clean.  You might not use all of the flour mixture.

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.

Gently deflate dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Form into a round or a 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.

Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until loaves are well-browned, or register an internal temperature of 200 to 210°F on an instant-read thermometer. 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 speedily baked. Remove from baking sheet to cool completely on a rack.

Makes 1 loaf
Source Smitten Kitchen

If you are a fan of bread baking you really need to try this recipe!  It is absolutely AMAZING 🙂 It is quickly becoming our new favorite bread!!!

From our kitchen to yours,
Sydney Jones

13 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2012 3:43 pm

    Hah! I have another version of it rising right now! I’m using a sourdough starter and no vinegar, let’s compare the notes!

  2. March 6, 2012 5:43 pm

    Wow I’m impressed! I’m Russian, and I have never even attempted making this bread! 🙂 I usually just buy it at our local Russian store.

    • March 6, 2012 6:29 pm

      You really should try making your own. I bet you will never buy it from the store again!! This was an amazing loaf of bread 🙂

    • March 8, 2012 1:26 pm

      I agree! There is nothing like the smell of baking bread in your kitchen!

  3. March 7, 2012 9:03 am

    This looks really nice Sydney – usually I make just plain white bread. Even though I make three loaves a week I should really experiment with different types of bread – thanks for the idea, I wonder if I’ll be able to find all the ingredients here – hope so 🙂

    • March 7, 2012 2:47 pm

      They are all fairly common ingredients, Charles. I had a little trouble finding caraway seeds at the regular grocery store but the bulk food store carried them. Aside from that I don’t think you will have much of an issue making this bread. I really hope you give it a try, it’s good to changes things up a bit every now and then 🙂

      • March 9, 2012 10:05 am

        That is awesome Anastasia, I think it gets darker as the days pass.

  4. March 9, 2012 5:25 am

    An amazing hearty bread. I wonder why the cider vinegar, does it help with the rising of the bread?

    • March 9, 2012 10:07 am

      It is such an amazing bread 🙂 well worth the work! I think the cider vinegar helps to balance the sweeter flavors. That is also why the caraway, fennel seeds, and salt are added. I don’t know for certain if it has anything to do with the rising. Great question 🙂


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