On my last visit to Slovakia I learned how to make loaf bread. Actually, I learned how to make white bread, but I knew I could adapt what I learned to make black bread. Making my own black bread had been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Since I’ve gotten more proficient and confident working with yeast, it was a good time to try black bread.
Here’s the recipe.
- 3/4 cup milk warmed in the microwave for 30 seconds
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 package of dry yeast
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup rye flower
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons oil (canola oil is best)
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 small cooked potato, grated
- 3/4 cup milk (additional to what the yeast mixture is made with)
Mix the honey in the warm milk and then add the dry yeast. Stir together and let it sit for 10 minutes. If you don’t have honey, sugar is fine.
In a bowl, combine all the other ingredients. Start with all the dry stuff, then add the wet, finishing with the yeast.
The grated potato is to keep the bread from getting stale and hard (a trick I leaned from my Slovak baking teacher). I like using golden yukon potatoes but I don’t think it really matters.
Work the dough by hand, mixing and squeezing to get everything incorporated. Add additional milk if you feel the dough is still too dry. I’ve done this recipe about ten times now and have it worked out that 3/4 cup of milk should be enough. This amount is separate from the yeast-milk mixture. All together you’ll need 1 1/2 cups milk.
The dough is going to be pretty dense and heavy and is not going to rise much. Still, after you’ve worked the dough for at least 5 to 10 minutes, cover it and let it sit in a warm, dry place for 2 hours. I put mine inside the dark oven, off, but with the door closed.
It will rise a little.
Butter a baking pan and set your dough inside. Let it sit for another 10 minutes, covered.
I love my little toaster oven and prefer to bake my bread there. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Then cover the bread with a small piece of foil (just lay a small piece over the bread itself, not over the whole baking dish) and reduce the temp to 350. Bake for an hour more.
After it comes out of the oven, remove it to a wire rack and let it cool completely before cutting it.
If it turns out that the bread is still too moist inside, next time increase the baking time to 1 hour 15 min at the 350 temperature. Often time my bread was still too moist inside. Still, after I cut it the next day, I simply toast it and it dries it out enough to make it crunch.
I really love this bread. V is not crazy about toast yet, but with the right jam, she will be… .