Friday, February 3, 2012

Double Take: Bread and Cheese, Black "Steakhouse" Bread

Deliberation, n.: The act of examining one's bread to determine which side it is buttered on.
Ambrose Bierce

It's week one of February. That means this week double take is bread or cheese or something made with bread or cheese. Around here, we know which side our bread is buttered on....

the one the cat didn't lick...

Just kidding.

The bread is a mixture of rye, bread, and whole wheat flour resulting in a dense, flavorful bread somewhat reminescent of what you'd find at certain steakhouses. You know what I'm talking about. The bread that begs to be generously covered on at least one side with sweet butter and smells so awesome its hard to wait for it to leave the oven. Anyway, talking about it makes me want another piece. You go ahead and read the recipe, I need to go get some butter out of the fridge.

Black "Steakhouse" Bread (aka Russian Black Bread)

Black Bread ( slightly adapted from In Katrina's Kitchen and Chef Dennis who invited her as a guest blogger)

Prep Time: 30 min
Rise time: 2-8 hours (more on this in a moment)
Bake time: 35-45 min
Yield: 1 large loaf


1 ½ cups warm strong brewed coffee, separated  (I made 2 c. of dark roast coffee and boiled them down to 1 1/2  c. on the stove top)
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
2 cups bread flour (or self-rising flour)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt

How To:

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.
     (I mixed by hand for all steps. A mixer isn't needed and stirring bread can be good therapy. It doesn't take long to stir.)
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 countertop.
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 1 ½ to 2 hours. (This took 6 hours on a dry day for me. Be aware that this may take a long time or that you should run your oven or something and still expect it to not be risen in 2 hours. It will get there.)
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. (This took 2 hours for me)
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 skipped this but you can do it if you want. It results in a crustier bread. I like my crust a bit softer.)
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.
10. Slice and slather with butter. Go ahead, there's no need to wait.

If this bread could talk it would say "Go ahead, slather me with butter. The wait is making me anxious!"
See? The bread knows you're going to eat it so go ahead...Enjoy!


I liked it!...Its not the same as some I've had at some steakhouses but it quite similar. Its delicious with butter and you could easily vary types of coffee to change the flavor. I brought some to work and shared with a couple people. They liked it a lot and one said it reminded her of Russian Black Bread. After looking at the recipes, it appears to be the same thing. Don't count on a quick rise time but this is great for days when you have other things to do. There's no need to rush back home. It'll be a while...Grab a snickers, watch a movie, go play frisbee, or whatever you like but don't count on it to be done quickly. Your reward for patience will be an incredible smelling kitchen and some tasty bread.

What are you waiting for...a second opinion? Go over to Mel's blog and see what she thought.

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