Macedonian Black Bread

  • I found this recipe in Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant: Ethnic and Regional Recipes from the Cooks at the Legendary Restaurant. My niece and I made it together.
  • We used espresso for the coffee because that's what I had in the house.
  • I moved the salt to the middle of the recipe because it's easier to add before all the flours go into the bowl.
  • Rye doughs are sticky, and can be a challenge for the novice baker, but don't let that scare you! You don't want to miss that complex flavor and moist texture. This recipe has a lot of liquid; it can hold up to the addition of a lot of white flour, during the kneading -- to keep it from sticking to your hands.
  • Follow the recipe closely. It has 3 risings -- one more than usual.
  • After we got all done, we noticed the "variation" at the bottom of the page and decided we will have to make this recipe again, sometime soon, and try out the sweet version!
  • The recipe recommends eating with sweet butter, sharp cheese, or soup. We suggest mashed avocado.
2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
3 ounces unsweetened baker's chocolate
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
¼ cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
3½ tablespoons mild-tasting honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg, preferably fresh ground
½ cup freshly brewed coffee or decaf
2 teaspoons whole caraway seeds
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons dry yeast
½ cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup cornmeal
2 cups rye flour
2 cups whole wheat flour (and more for kneading)
2 cups unbleached white flour

Glaze: 1 tablespoon molasses and 1 tablespoon water.
Variation: For a sweeter dessert bread, increase the honey or sugar by 1 tablespoon, add ¼ cup currants and omit the caraway seeds.
Note: Some black bread recipes use fennel seeds in addition to the caraway seeds.
  • Boil the potatoes until soft. Drain the potatoes, saving 1 cup of the potato water. Mash the potatoes with a fork to yield 1cup.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate and oil on low heat, stirring constantly.
  • In a large bowl, combine, the chocolate mixture, 1 cup mashed potatoes, 1 cup potato water, molasses, honey, caraway seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, coffee, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
  • In a small bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and sugar. Set aside until bubbly, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour the yeast mixture into the cooled potato mixture and combine.
  • Add the cornmeal, rye flour, whole wheat flour, and white flour. Mix well. Dough will be lumpy.
  • Turn dough onto a well-floured surface. Cover it. Let rest 15 minutes. Meanwhile, clean, dry, and oil the large bowl.
  • Knead the dough about 5 minutes, adding white flour as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Form into a ball. Place in oiled bowl, turning to coat on all sides.
  • Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1½ hours.
  • Knead gently for 1 minute.
  • Let rise again until doubled, about 40 minutes.
  • Form into two round loaves. Place on greased 9-inch round pie pans or backing sheets.
  • Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon molasses with 1 tablespoon water to make molasses glaze. Brush loaves with molasses glaze.
  • With a sharp knife, cut a shallow X in the top of each loaf.
  • Bake 45 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

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