Friday, September 4, 2009

BBB: Russian Black Bread

There's one good thing about hot weather. It doesn't take long for bread to rise.

This month's Bread Baking Babe/Buddy challenge was hosted by Görel. With some research and great determination, she devised a tasty recipe for Russian Black Bread. This was a multi-step recipe, requiring a sourdough starter, a soaker, and a dough.

Way back in November '08 I had made a rye sourdough starter for another BBB challenge. It had been hibernating in the refrigerator ever since, so I took a chance to see if it could be revived. I'm glad to say that it has returned to life, and is merrily bubbling away and enjoying the hot weather. Probably the only one in this house who is. (By the way, does anyone have more recipes using rye starter? I would hate to relegate back to the big chill.)

Last evening I prepared both the sourdough component

and the soaker. Apparently, I never replaced my caraway seeds, so they are missing from the soaker. However, the large chunks of coffee bean should be a suitable replacement. (Warning: don't grind coffee beans late at night when you are tired and it is dark.)

After mixing the starter and the soaker with the flours, I place the hefty hunk of dough into its rising container. Behold the result after 90 minutes:

I'd say that was double, wouldn't you?

Knowing that the loaves would rise equally quickly, I preheated the oven just after I shaped them and set them aside for their final rise. The dough handled remarkably well and I didn't find it overly sticky. Also, as an experiment, I slashed one loaf and left one untouched. It didn't explode, but both loaves had great oven spring.

Here's the end result.

It took tremendous self-control not to slice a loaf until it had properly cooled.

With some whipped cream cheese spread on top, the bread was declared a winner all the way around, with its earthy flavor and tender crumb.

Thanks again for letting me play along. I'm looking forward to the next challenge.

Check out
Görel's blog for the recipe.


görel said...

That's a couple of great looking loaves! I love the way you slashed one of them, it looks very professional. I'm glad that you liked it, thanks for baking with us! A badge is on its way.

Madam Chow said...

I am so impressed. Those loaves are perfect, and your crumb looks awesome. Like you, the rise for my bread happened really fast because of the heat. Even with the A/C on, the heat and humidity accelerated the rises.
As for the rye starter, to be honest, I have used all my starters interchangeably. So, if my rye starter was in the best shape, that's the one I used for any given bread. He passed away late last year, and I have not replaced him yet.

Anonymous said...

Great looking bread!

Karen Baking Soda said...

I am glad you played! they look wonderful and indeed you had such ovenspring!
I agree with madam Chow, your ryestarter will behave quite well in any bread, giving it a hint of earthy flavor.