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Caspian Black Bread
From the kitchen of Sharmagne Leland-St. John

2 packages dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 cups all purpose flour
4 cups coarse pumpernickel rye flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole bran cereal
2 tablespoons caraway seed, crushed
¾ teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
2 tablespoons instant coffee
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 cups water
½ cup vinegar
½ cup black strap molasses
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
¼ cup shortening

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water;
While waiting for it to bubble, combine the water,
chocolate, and shortening in a saucepan over low
heat until the liquid is warm and the chocolate has

In a large mixing bowl, combine the bran cereal, rye
flour, sugar,  salt, caraway seed, fennel seed, instant
coffee,  and onion powder.  Add the chocolate
mixture, the vinegar, molasses, and the yeast.  With a
sturdy wooden spoon beat 100 times.  Gradually add
the white flour until the dough is soft and slightly sticky.
Blend the flour into the dough with a spoon at first and
then with the hands lightly floured.  When it begins to
take shape and has lost its stickiness, turn out onto a
floured surface.  Cover the dough with the bowl and
let rest for 15 minutes.

Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes, until it is smooth
and elastic.  Continue to sprinkle flour on the work
surface and on your hands to keep the dough from

Grease the bowl and replace the dough, turning it to
cover all sides with the oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic
wrap and put the bowl in a warm place, such as on the
back of the stove until the bread has doubled in size.
Approximately one hour.

Punch the dough down and turn out onto the floured work
surface.  Cut the dough into two pieces.  Let them rest while
you grease your  pans or cookie sheet.  Form the dough into
two rounds and place in cake pan or on baking sheet.  
Cover with a thin tea towel or waxed paper, and return to
the warm spot to double in size once again.   

Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Bake the loaves until a wooden
toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and
tapping on the bottom crust produces a hollow sound.

Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack.


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