Monday, January 19, 2009

Pumpernickel Raisin Bread

Also called "Black Russian", it goes well with Brie, as a sandwich, and makes great French toast.

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (105* to 115*)
1/2 cup molasses
1 package active dry yeast
1 T instant coffee granules
1 T salt
2 cups medium rye flour
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
2 T vegetable oil
1 cup raisins
3-4 tablespoons cornmeal
1 T cold water
1 egg white

Stir together the lukewarm water and molasses in a large mixing bowl.

Sprinkle in the yeast and stir to dissolve.

Let stand for 10 minutes, or until slightly foamy.

Stir in instant coffee, salt and rye flour.

Sprinkle in the cocoa and stir well to combine.

Add whole-wheat flour and 1 cup of the bread flour, or enough to make a sticky dough.

Turn the bread out onto a lightly floured work surface and let it rest.

Wash and dry the bowl.

Sprinkle additional flour over the dough and begin to knead.

Continue until most or all of the remaining bread flour is incorporated and you have a smooth elastic ball.

(Breads with rye flour will always be slightly sticky.) Pour the vegetable oil into the mixing bowl, turn the ball of dough to coat well, cover bowl with a towel, and set aside to rise until dough is tripled in bulk, 3 to 4 hours.

Lightly flour the work surface and turn the dough out onto it.

Flatten it into a large rectangle and sprinkle with the raisins.

Roll up the dough and knead it, to distribute the raisins and let rise until doubled.

Sprinkle a large baking sheet with 3 to 4 tablespoons cornmeal.

Turn the dough out,cut it into 3 pieces, and shape each piece into a small round loaf.

Set loaves on the baking sheet, leaving as much room as possible between them, cover, and let rise until doubled.

Preheat oven to 400*.

Beat egg white together with 1 T cold water in a small bowl.

When the loaves have risen sufficiently, brush the tops with the egg white mixture.

Bake loaves on the middle rack of the oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until they are dark brown and sound hollow when bottoms are rapped.

Cool completely on racks before cutting or wrapping.

Makes 3 loaves.


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