A Stir The Pots Post

A black Russian, bread that is.

by | Nov 25, 2010 | Bread

During my classes on German breads at FCI, I came across this Russian black bread formula. It's not quite necessarily what I would call something from the Urals, more a faux pumpernickel of the kind more commonly seen,with coffee molasses additions, and curiously riddled with raisins.

My first attempts at this bread were all with leaven, but I decided this time to try a boost of yeast, as I needed a loaf quickly. In the end, it got the thumb's up from my wife who liked the softness of the crumb. Maybe it's that New York sort of softy pumpernickel loaf we know so well here.

The original formula calls for a stiff leaven, which I found made for a dry loaf in previous attempts.I decided to add some rye for flavor, and boost the total amount in the final dough with this addition. There is some cocoa, coffee, and molasses for flavor and color. I didn't know how the cocoa would work out, as I've heard it  has an effect on the rising of bread; alkalides or something.

Fine, I realized I didn't have blackstrap molasses, either, so I dug in my cupboard and used my carob molasses from Turkey. It's funny how carob substitutes for chocolate, but has a uncanningly faint resmeblance to something else. Fish sauce? 

Anyway, this time I opted to add raisins. Previously I made due without them, but the  bread ended up dry and dense. I figured that the raisins would add some moisture even though I didn't soak them in water. The finished loaf has a wonderful smell. And cocoa and carob make nice flavorful bread. Crumb is tight, and the flavor is just right with nuances of rye.

All in all, not a bad bread, an we even paired it with some hot sopressata and sheeps milk cheese from Sardegna, made for some great flavor profiles!


Russian Black Bread

Adapted from FCI bread course on International breads.

1 loaf 600g                           Bakers %

209g White flour (A.P.)                80%

52g  Rye                                     20%

5g  Cocoa                                   2.2%

115g Water                                 44%

30g Cold brewed coffee              11%

39g Molasses                              15.1%

5g Salt                                        2.2%

99g Raisins                                37.4%

3g yeast                                     1.1%

52g Rye levain                           15.9%



  1. Mix ingredients for 2-3 minutes on 1st speed, minus salt.
  2. autolyse for about 20-60 minutes
  3. add in salt mix on second speed for about 1-2 minutes
  4. Add in raisins on slow speed till incorporated.
  5. Bulk rise about 11/2 hours
  6. divide into rolls or a loaf (depending how much dough you make.)
  7. pre shape and rest about 20 minutes.
  8. Rise 1 hour or more depending on variables, weather, water…etc..

425 F oven, bake for 35-40 minutes.



1 Comment

  1. Cris

    It can’t be bad with all these ingredients, love this recipe, thanks to post it.


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