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Jeffrey Hamelman’s Black Bread

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Jeffrey Hamelman’s Black Bread

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This recipe comes from Jeffrey Hamelman, a Certified Master Baker (one of only about 130 in this country), and an engaging writer as well. After stints at various bakeries both in this country and abroad, Jeffrey ran his own bakery in Brattleboro, Vermont, for 14 years. He was named captain of the 1996 Baking Team USA, where he led that team of American bread bakers to its first and very memorable victory at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie in Paris. Following that, he was an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, until a deep desire to return to Vermont brought him to King Arthur. We’re very happy to have a baker of his incredible knowledge and skill with us.

Jeff says, “This is an interesting bread, not for everyone. I made it every Friday for many a year. It uses up leftover bread, which gives the new bread a richness of flavor.” In spite of the ingredients, this bread doesn’t taste like coffee. It has a real ‘bite,’ which enables it to go well with winter soups and stews. It might also be perfect with pickled herring and onions. Slice it thinly and spread with butter.

Read this recipe all the way through before starting, so you’ll know how much time it’ll take.

At a glance

Prep
Bake
Total
Yield
two 1 3/3 pound loaves

Nutrition information

Ingredients

Slurry or Altus

  • 3 to 4 slices re-baked bread (See “tips”, below.)
  • a scant 1/3 cup coffee beans, ground
  • 1 3/8 cups boiling water

Sourdough

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/4 cups medium rye flour
  • 2 ounces levain or a stiff (dough-like) sourdough culture

Dough

  • all the slurry
  • all the refreshed sourdough
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups medium rye flour
  • 3 1/4 cups King Arthur Bread Flour
  • black caraway seeds (a.k.a. charnushka)

Slurry or Altus

  • 2 1/2 ounces re-baked bread (See “tips”, below.)
  • 3/4 ounce ground coffee
  • 11 ounces boiling water

Sourdough

  • 12 ounces water
  • 8 1/8 ounces medium rye flour
  • 2 ounces levain or a stiff (dough-like) sourdough culture

Dough

  • all the slurry
  • all the refreshed sourdough
  • 5/8 ounce vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 5 3/8 ounces medium rye flour
  • 13 3/4 ounces King Arthur Bread Flour
  • black caraway seeds (a.k.a. charnushka)

Slurry or Altus

  • 71g re-baked bread (See “tips”, below.)
  • 21g ground coffee
  • 312g boiling water

Sourdough

  • 340g water
  • 230g medium rye flour
  • 2 ounces levain or a stiff (dough-like) sourdough culture

Dough

  • all the slurry
  • all the refreshed sourdough
  • 19g vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 152g medium rye flour
  • 390g King Arthur Bread Flour
  • black caraway seeds (a.k.a. charnushka)

Instructions

  1. To make the slurry: Break the bread into pieces, sprinkle with the ground coffee, and pour the boiling water over it. Mix it all up so the bread is good and wet. Cover tightly and let sit overnight.
  2. To make the sourdough: Mix the water, rye flour and stiff sourdough together in a non-reactive, medium-sized mixing bowl, and let the mixture sit overnight, covered, preferably for about 16 hours, at a temperature of about 65°F to 70°F.
  3. To make the dough: Put the slurry in a blender or food processor and blend until the bread is fairly well pulverized.
  4. Scoop this into a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, add the sourdough mixture, oil, salt, yeast, and the flours.
  5. Mix until well-blended, then let the dough rest for about 20 minutes.
  6. Continue kneading and mixing — by hand or mixer — until the dough is well-developed. Because of the high percentage of rye flour in this dough, it’ll never become smooth and elastic, as an all-wheat dough would; just knead it for 8 to 10 minutes, doing the best you can.
  7. Place the dough in a greased mixing bowl, cover the bowl, and let it rise until you can leave a fingerprint in it, about an hour.
  8. Turn it out onto a floured board, and divide it into two pieces. Shape these pieces into rough rounds, and let them rest for 5 minutes.
  9. Shape into firm rounds, trying to form tight, seamless balls, and place the loaves on a piece of parchment. Cover them, and let them rise until they’re about two-thirds of the way to doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
  10. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
  11. Slash the surface of the dough, making either one cut across the center, or a cross. Stay away from the “shoulders,” or edges. Repeat with the other loaf.
  12. Thoroughly mist the surface of both loaves with water until they’re quite wet, sprinkle with seeds if you wish and, by sliding a peel under the parchment, slip the loaves onto the preheated baking stone.
  13. Bake the bread for 30 minutes, reduce the oven heat to 400°F, and continue baking for a further 10 to 20 minutes. When the bread is done, the temperature at the center should register about 200°F to 210°F. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack.
  14. Store, loosely covered, at room temperature for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size40g
  • Servings Per Batch34
Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories105
  • Calories from Fat
  • Total Fat1g
  • Saturated Fat
  • Trans Fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium168mg
  • Total Carbohydrate20g
  • Dietary Fiber2g
  • Sugars
  • Protein3g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.

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