Russian Black Bread

Download Russian Black Bread.pdf

Black Russian Bread

This Eastern Europe type of bread is amazingly hardy, tasty and full of great ingredients. A bit more complex to produce, you will be rewarded with many compliments from your friends and family. I owe many thanks to Chef Jacob Burton at for this recipe. Visit his website for a video on making this great loaf. Reference SB 005| Eastern European Style Sourdough Brown Bread. A great site for learning everything you need to know about sourdough.




350 g Water (Cold Tap, Filtered)                                   100 g Poolish Sourdough Starter (100% Hydration)

250 g Rye Flour                                                            100 g Whole Wheat Flour

50 g Balsamic Vinegar                                                   100 g Coffee

130 g Warm Water                                                        100 g Molasses

700 g Bread Flour                                                           20 g Coco Powder

15 g Salt                                                                        10 g Fennel Seed

5 g Celery Seed                                                                9 g Caraway Seed

100 g Butter (Melted) (I use Ghee)



  1. The night before baking, combine 100g poolish sourdough starter with 100g whole wheat flour, 250g rye flour and 350g cold water. Stir together in a plastic or glass container with enough extra room to allow mixture to expand slightly. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow this “sponge” to ferment overnight, or for about 10-18 hours.
  2. The following day, the sponge should be bubbling and active. Because whole wheat and rye flour are used for the majority of the sponge, the active mixture won’t look quite as airy or active as a starter using 100% bread flour. This is normal.
  3. If the sponge is active as described above, add bread flour, balsamic vinegar, coffee, warm water, molasses, and cocoa powder. Mix thoroughly to combine, cover with plastic wrap and allow to autolyse for 20-30 minutes.
  4. After autolyse period, add salt, fennel seed, celery seed and caraway seed. Mix with hands to combine.
  5. Turn dough out onto clean work surface, using the “slap and fold” kneading method to work the dough until it forms a strong gluten structure and can pass the widow-pane test.
  6. Lightly dust dough with bread flour, perform a single stretch and fold, round and allow to bulk ferment in a covered container for about 4 hours or until its volume has doubled in size. You can also retard bulk fermentation overnight at this point to develop more flavor and make the process more convenient.
  7. After bulk fermentation, divide dough into 3 equal loaves weighing 600-640g each.
  8. Form portioned dough into loaves and place in 9″ loaf pans that have been sprayed with pan release (non-stick) spray. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof for about 2 hours or until the volume has grown to at least 1.5 times its original size.
  9. Brush the top of the bread with melted butter and dock using a sharp razor, making a 1/2″ deep incision vertically, down the middle of the loaf.
  10. Bake at 350-375ºF/175-190ºC for about 40-45 minutes or until the crust is a dark brown and loaf achieves a minimum internal temperature of about 200ºF/93ºC.
  11. Immediately after baking, remove finished loaves from pans and set on a wire rack, allowing to cool for at least 1-2 hours before slicing.
  12. Once bread has fully cooled to room temperature, wrap in plastic wrap and store in a cool place, away from direct sunlight.


There you have it! With Chef Jacob’s tutorial you too can make this wonderful bread to share with your friends and family and you will receive many thanks and compliments for your efforts.

Make it Happy, Make it Sour!

Russian Black Bread