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Sourdough Russian Black Bread

I came up with this recipe for my daughter. Every time we would go to the local market and walk by the Bakery section, she would spy this certain Russian Black Bread and drool over it – not literally, but you know what I mean 😉 So, even though she had never tasted it before, I made her this bread and she absolutely loves it! And I have to admit, so do I…though I normally do not eat a lot of bread, this one is hard to resist – especially topped with a generous portion of good butter (such as homemade Raw Butter or KerryGold). Mmmmmm!!!

In a large mixing bowl, combine sourdough starter with 1/2 cup water. Add in rye flour, up to 2 cups or a little more, to form a smooth ball of dough (after dough gets too thick to mix with a spoon, simply use clean hands to knead in the flour). Dough will be slightly tacky to the touch, but still form a smooth ball. Lightly oil the bowl and ball of dough with a little olive oil or melted coconut oil. Cover bowl, loosely, and allow to stand overnight…preferably 12 hours.

After 12 hours: Prepare a 9×5-inch loaf pan by greasing with olive or coconut oil; set aside.

Place “soured” dough into bowl of stand mixer. Mix in remaining ingredients, using dough hook, until thoroughly combined. Dough will get quite sticky.

Put dough into prepared baking vessel. Oil top of dough and smooth out into the pan. Cover with kitchen towel and put in a warm place, such as an unheated oven with the light turned on. Let stand for about 2 to 3 hours; letting dough rise and double in size.

Slash the top of the risen loaf using a sharp knife – 3 diagonal slashes for a regular loaf pan OR an “X” slash for a round loaf. For a more “authentic” style Russian black bread, brush top of loaf with beaten egg white and sprinkle with coarse salt (it’s delicious this way).

Preheat the oven to 375F. Bake the loaf for about 45 minutes until loaf is done; when center reaches about 200 degrees F.

Remove loaf to a wire rack. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf.