Growing up my dads favorite bread was either rye or pumpernickel, neither of which was very available. When you lived in a very rural area in the 1960’s, pretty much the only options were, “Wonder” white or “Wonder,” wheat. This recipe for me, has just the right earthy bitterness of coffee and the tang of sourdough. Paired with a nice hard cheese or salty butter it a meal in and of itself.
Sourdough Black Bread
2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1/4 cup sourdough starter
1 teaspoon raw sugar
1/2 cup mashed sweet potato
1 1/3 cup warm water
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons finely ground espresso
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup oats
1 1/3 cup rye flour
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
olive oil or canola oil for oiling bowl and bread pans
In a blender combine warm water and sweet potato and pulse. Add yeast, raw sugar and sourdough starter and allow to bloom.
Dissolve cocoa, ground espresso, butter, and salt in the molasses over low heat in a small pan. Allow to cool slightly and incorporate into the water mixture. Be sure the molasses mixture isn’t too hot or you will kill your yeast mixture.
Start to add your flours to the liquids combining until you have a soft dough. Turn on to a floured counter or board and knead for about 4-5 minutes.
Shape dough into a ball and massage a bit of olive oil over the surface and allow to rise, in a large covered bowl for about an hour. It should double in size. Once the dough has doubled, divide the dough in half and place in two, greased and floured, 8″ loaf pans. Cover and allow to rise again, 30 – 45 minutes. While the bread in rising, combine milk with cider and allow to thicken. Once the loaves have risen gently score with a sharp knife, brush with milk and sprinkle with oats. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until done.