Black Bread

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Dough Yield: About

    24

    loaves at 1.5 lb each

Appears in

Bread

By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

There are Two Ways in which old bread is incorporated into a fresh batch of dough: It can be soaked, with the crust, until thoroughly moistened and then added, or it can be sliced and baked again before the soaking. In this formula, the old bread is sliced, then returned to the oven on sheet pans and baked until it is a deep, dark brown, but take care not to blacken it as it will taste bitter. It adds a potent toasty flavor when soaked and incorporated into the new dough. The ground coffee also adds its own bite to the bread. The result is a bread that is quite black, without any hint of the sweetness that molasses often brings to dark breads.

Pre-Fermented Flour: 35%

Ingredients

Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Medium Rye Flour 12 lb 6 kg 1 lb, 3.2 oz 60 %
Bread Flour 8 lb 4 kg 12.8 oz 40 %
Old Bread 1.6 lb .8 kg 2.6 oz 8 %
Coffee .48 lb .24 kg .8 oz 2.4 %
Oil .48 lb .24 kg .8 oz 2.4 %
Water 13.6 lb 6.8 kg 1 lb, 5.8 oz 68 %
Salt .36 lb .18 kg .6 oz 1.8 %
Yeast .3 lb, fresh .15 kg, fresh .19 oz, instant dry 1.5 %
Total Yield 36.82 lb 18.41 kg 3 lb, 10.7 oz 184.1 %

Sourdough

Medium Rye Flour 7 lb 3.5 kg 11.2 oz ( cups) 100 %
Water 5.6 lb 2.8 kg 9 oz (1⅛ cups) 80 %
Mature Sourdough Culture .35 lb .175 kg .6 oz (2 T) 5 %
Total 12.95 lb 6.475 kg 1 lb, 4.8 oz

Old-Bread Soaker

Old Bread 1.6 lb .8 kg 2.6 oz ( cups) 100 %
Coffee, Ground .48 lb .24 kg .8 oz (6 T) 30 %
Vegetable Oil .48 lb .24 kg .8 oz (2 T) 30 %
Water, Hot 8 lb 4 kg 12.8 oz (1⅝ cups) 500 %
Total 10.56 lb 5.28 kg 1 lb, 1 oz

Final Dough

Medium Rye Flour 5 lb 2.5 kg 8 oz (2 cups)
Bread Flour 8 lb 4 kg 12.8 oz (2⅞ cups)
Salt .36 lb .18 kg .6 oz (1 T)
Yeast .3 lb, fresh .15 kg, fresh .19 oz, instant dry ( tsp)
Old-Bread Soaker 10.56 lb 5.28 kg 1 lb, 1 oz (all of above)
Sourdough 12.6 lb 6.3 kg 1 lb, 4.2 oz (all of above minus 2 T)
Total 36.82 lb 18.41 kg 3 lb, 10.8 oz

Method

  1. SOURDOUGH: Prepare the sourdough and ripen it for 14 to 16 hours at 70°F.
  2. OLD-BREAD SOAKER: Put the re-baked old bread in a dough bucket or large bowl. Pour the hot water over it. Add the ground coffee and oil and stir thoroughly with a spoon until the coffee is dissolved and the bread is completely moistened. Cover with a lid or plastic. It is most efficient to make the bread soaker at the same time that the sourdough is prepared, and to then let it stand at room temperature until mixing time.
  3. MIXING: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl. Note that all the dough water is used in the sourdough and the soaker, and no additional water is added. Some of the soaker water may need to be warmed or cooled when computing the desired dough temperature. In a spiral mixer, mix for 3 minutes on first speed, then 3 to 4 minutes on second. The 40 percent white flour will give the dough a perceptible, but not overly strong, gluten development. Desired dough temperature: 80°F.
  4. BULK FERMENTATION: 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. DIVIDING AND SHAPING: Divide the dough into 1.5- or 2-pound pieces; shape round or oblong.
  6. FINAL FERMENTATION: 50 to 60 minutes at 80°F.
  7. BAKING: With normal steam, 460°F for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 440°F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes for a 1.5-pound loaf, 5 to 10 minutes more for a 2-pound loaf.

Variation

Charnushka seeds (also known as nigella or black caraway) can be added to the tops of the loaves. They provide a taste that goes nicely with the strength of the bread’s flavor. To apply once the bread has been shaped, moisten the surface and sprinkle the seeds over the top, or press the surface into a damp cloth and then into a tray of the seeds.