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Black Bread
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Black Bread

The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook

The Editors of Martha Stewart Living,
2000, Crown Publishing Group


Martha Stewart Living - One Year Subscription 

Makes 2 loaves

“This bread gets its color and flavor from
molasses, coffee and cocoa.”

1 tablespoon instant coffee
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm
water (110 degrees F.)
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/2  1/4-ounce packages (1 tablespoon
plus 2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey
4 1/2 cups whole-wheat bread flour,
plus more for dusting
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons bread flour
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons dark rye flour
2 tablespoons sifted cocoa powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Olive oil, for bowl and plastic wrap
Coarse cornmeal, for dusting
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1. In a small bowl, dissolve the coffee in 1/4 cup warm water. and set
aside. In the detached bowl of an electric mixer, combine the remain-
ing 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons of warm water and the molasses.
Sprinkle the yeast on top, stir, and let stand until yeast
is foamy, about 10 minutes.
2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the remaining ingredients. Except the cornmeal and egg white, to the yeast
mixture; mix on low speed for 1 minute. Switch to the dough hook, and
mix on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and slightly tacky, 6
minutes. (or knead by hand, 15 to 20 minutes.)
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, and knead by hand, 4 or
5 turns, into a ball. Place the dough, smooth-side up, in a large lightly
oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until
doubled in size, 1 1/2 hours.
4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and cut in half. Cover
one piece of dough loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap, and set aside.
Press the other piece of dough into a 9-inch square. Fold one side of
the dough into the middle, then fold the other side over it, like a letter.
Turn the dough 90 degrees and fold again, pinching the seam and sides
closed. Place the seam side down on an unfloured surface, and roll the
dough back and forth, shaping the loaf. It should be tapered to a point
at both ends, thick and rounded in the middle, and 12 inches long. Repeat
the shaping process with the remaining piece of dough. Dust a clean cloth
with coarse cornmeal and place the loaves on top about 6 inches apart.
Cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap and then with a towel. Let
the dough rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.Thirty minutes before this
final rise is completed, place a baking stone, if using, in the lower third of
the oven and an empty baking pan on the lowest shelf. Preheat the oven
to 400 degrees F. In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups of water almost to
a boil.
5. Transfer the loaves to a baker’s peel or baking sheet that has been
dusted with coarse cornmeal. Brush the top of the loaves with the
egg white. Use a razor blade or serrated knife to make 4 diagonal
cuts, 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep, across each loaf. Slide each loaf onto the
baking stone. If not using a stone, bake the loaves in a parchment-
lined baking sheet that has been dusted with coarse cornmeal. Quickly
pour the very hot water into the heated baking pan to create steam.
Bake until dark brown and hollow sounding when tapped on the
bottom, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30
minutes before slicing.

Baking Stones Baking stones provide even, insulated heat, which helps the
bread to cook more evenly than it would on a metal baking sheet. The stone
also absorbs moisture from the dough as it bakes, creating a crisper bottom
and chewier crust. You can find baking stones (which are the same as pizza
stones) at kitchen-supply store, or you can use unglazed ceramic tiles.

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