“Inside, the hall was immense and drafty, even with a fire roaring in its great hearth. Crows nested in the timbers of its lofty ceiling. Jon heard their cries overhead as he accepted a bowl of stew and a heel of black bread from the day’s cooks.” (GoT)
While this recipe is undoubtedly far too complex for much of Westeros (coffee? chocolate?!) , it’s one of the only recipes we found and loved for “black bread”. Sadly, it comes out a sort of ordinary brown color, but the flavors in it are wonderful. If you concentrate, you really can pick out the taste of molasses, coffee, and chocolate. Very yum.
We have heard that bamboo charcoal is occasionally added to baked goods in some Asian countries, and literally turns a loaf of bread black. We’ll keep our eye out for that, and report back… :)
Black Bread Recipe
This is a variation on traditional Russian black bread.. The preparation takes a while, so start early!
Makes 2 large loaves, or 4 smaller ones
- 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
- 1/2 cup bran
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
In a small bowl, combine yeast and sugar with warm water. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Heat two cups water, molasses, vinegar, butter and chocolate until the butter and chocolate are melted. Set aside and LET COOL. If it goes in hot, you will murder the yeast, and end up with the densest biscotti bread you’ve ever encountered.
Combine whole-wheat, rye and white flours in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine two cups mixed flours, bran, salt, and espresso. Slowly add yeast and chocolate mixtures. Mix until smooth for three minutes. Gradually add half cup of remaining mixed flours at a time, until dough clears sides of bowl and begins form a ball. It will be very sticky but firm.
Flour counter well, and knead to make a springy yet dense dough. You might not use all of the flour mixture.
Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Turn once to grease top. Cover with towel and let rise in a warm area until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Gently deflate dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into two portions and form into two rounds or loaves. Loaves should be placed in a loaf pan sprayed with nonstick spray, while rounds should be placed seam down on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. 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.
Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until loaves are well-browned. 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.