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Anybody have a recipe for 'cherniy hleb'

bpezzell's picture

Anybody have a recipe for 'cherniy hleb'

I met a customer at the farmers market yesterday who was Polish and had spent many years in Ukraine. She's wanting a bread called 'Cherniy Hleb' (her spelling) and described it as a black bread. Anybody have a clue?

Candango's picture

While Black Breads (Cherniy Khleb) can range from a dark colored, medium rye to a dense, super moist pumpernickle,  the following recipe is one I have used in the past and turns out very tasty, aromatic loaves.  You can use the whole wheat flour if you have it or use bread flour.  The fennel provides a nice aroma, if you have it.  The other ingredients are for flavor and coloring.  Hope you enjoy.


Russian Black Bread

Makes 2 loaves

2 packages (1 1/2 tablespoons) active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
2 cups water
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
3 cups medium rye flour
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose or bread flour
1 cup bran
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1/4 cup cornmeal (optional)
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour (optional)
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)

1. In a small bowl, combine yeast and sugar with warm water. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

2. Heat two cups water, molasses, vinegar, butter and chocolate until the butter and chocolate are melted. Set aside.

3. Combine whole-wheat, rye and white flours in a large bowl. Set aside.

4. In bowl of a heavy mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine two cups mixed flours, bran, 2 tablespoons caraway seeds, fennel seeds, salt, espresso and shallots. At low speed, add yeast and chocolate mixtures. Mix until smooth and beat at medium speed for three minutes.

[Note: This bread, can also be made by hand, simply mixing the ingredients in a large bowl with a wooden spoon and kneading the dough on a counter until springy and smooth.]

5. At low speed, add half cup of remaining mixed flours at a time, until dough clears sides of bowl and begins to work its way up paddle. It will be very sticky but firm.

6. Scrape dough onto floured counter and knead to make a springy yet dense dough. You might not use all of the flour mixture.

7. Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Turn once to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Combine cornmeal, flour and remaining caraway seeds, if using, and set aside.

8. Gently deflate dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into two portions and form into two rounds. Place rounds seam down on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle loaves with cornmeal mixture, if desired. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled and puffy, about 45 minutes to one hour. Slash an X into the top of a round before baking it.

9. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until loaves are well-browned, or register an internal temperature of 200 to 210°F on an instant-read thermometer. Baking time in your oven may vary - check in on the bread when it is 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through the baking time to make sure it has not super-speedily baked. Remove from baking sheet to cool completely on a rack (several hours) before slicing.


Lucifer's picture

The above is not what your customer would have in Ukraine.

That one would be more like:

Rye: 80%

Wheat: 15%

Malt rye: 5% (try aromatic first, there is enough amylase in good rye flour already)

--- 100 % ---

salt: 1%

yeast 0.1%

sugar 6% (not needed with sour)

molasses 4%

Coriander or caraway. Fennel goes as a cheap substitute over there.

You need to try a few to get the hydration right. Depends on the type of rye flour and the activity of malt.

It works best with sour starter.

The bread tasts sweetish with a unique arome, but not from the sugar, which is for the yeast.

The real black bread would be consistency of a brick in most cases. Don't worry if it doesn't look too puffy.

Do not throw away any of the test ones. Slice thinly and dry. Sell to the same customer at a premium in summer time for "kvas". He-he.