05 February 2012

Double Take: Black Bread

Black Bread

Welcome to the first week of the month! From here on out (at least for the foreseeable future) it will be known as Bread and Cheese Week for our Double Takes! For our first installment of Bread and Cheese Week, we are bringing you Black Bread! Aka Pumpernickel! Wow. That's a lot of exclamation points. Please forgive my excitement.

In my desire to overcome my fear of making breads, I've agreed to make a bread or cheese once a month with Tabitha. Actually, I've become quite fond of making bread. And now that I have access to my stand mixer again, I look forward to making bread. So much so that I picked out this recipe the day it was posted way back in May. Tabitha and I have finally gotten around to making it. Woohoo!

And that's where my excitement ends. This bread failed me completely. Oh, it rose beautifully with the aid of a little heat in the kitchen. But it tasted like a cup of black coffee. I like coffee. I like it strong. But I also like a little milk and sugar in my strong coffee. I don't like it black.

So, perhaps I took Katrina a little too seriously when she said strongly brewed coffee? I did use 3/4 of the original amount of water to brew a cup of Emeril's Big Easy Bold, an extra dark roast. I do want to try making it again. And I will. But butter could not even save this bread the way I made it.

Freshly risen bread.

Black Bread
minimally adapted from Katrina of In Katrina's Kitchen, posted on Chef Dennis

1 ½ cups warm strong brewed coffee, separated (but not too strong)
2 ½ teaspoons dry active yeast (one packet)
¼ cup canola oil or vegetable oil
¼ cup dark molasses
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
1 cup bread flour
1 cup self-rising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon ground fennel *optional
½ teaspoons ground caraway *optional


  1. Dissolve yeast in ½ cup warm coffee until foamy, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl mix flours, cocoa, and salt (and fennel/caraway if using). Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer combine 1 cup warm coffee, oil, molasses, and brown sugar. Switch to the dough hook attachment on your mixer.
  4. At a low speed add the yeast mixture. Slowly add about half of your flour mixture until you can turn it out onto your floured counter top.
  5. Knead in the remaining flour mixture by hand. It will be a sticky, firm dough.
  6. Form into a ball a place in a well-greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 2-3 hours. (If you are like me and keep your kitchen at 63 in the winter, turn on your oven to low and set the bowl on top of you oven.)
  7. Gently deflate dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Form into 4 greased loaf pans, or 1 regular loaf pan. These could also just be free form on a baking stone. Let rise again until doubled and puffy, about 45 minutes to an hour. Using a sharp knife slash across top of the loaves.
  8. Preheat oven to 350. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack while heating. Just before baking the bread add about 2 cups of hot water to the sheet to create steam in the oven. I don't have a bottom rack in my oven, so I skipped this step.
  9. Bake at 350 for 30 – 45 minutes. Bake time will vary depending on your loaf size or if you used a loaf pan at all.
I thought butter would fix it. It didn't.

As mentioned previously, I made my coffee way too strong. If you are going to brew it extra strong, just brew 1 cup of coffee and proof your yeast in water. When I'm ready to face the craziness that is Whole Foods in Nashville again, I'll buy more rye flour and retry the recipe. I also plan on attempting the Black Bread on Smitten Kitchen's website.

It's-crazy-bitter: 1 vote
It-tastes-like-black-coffee: 1 vote (from Bender's boss)

To see if Tabitha's Black Bread was more successful, head on over to Double the Garlic

PS: If you're noticing a difference in my pictures, good eye! Momma and Dr. Pops got me a fabulous telephoto lens for my birthday, so I went with them to take pictures at the Parthenon. And then proceeded to leave my camera in their car. So my DSLR is in Atlanta. And I'm in Nashville. So, please bear with me and my point and shoot for the next few weeks. I'm not willing to let them ship it to me for fear that the postal system will lose my baby. :(

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