There really isn’t anything I can say about Maine Black Bread. It is simple and sweet but without being too sweet. Reminiscent of Russian black bread, but with a Yankee flair.
Maine Black Bread
1½ cups very hot water, divided
¼ cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, room temperature
¼ cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
One (¼-ounce) package active dry yeast
1½ cups rye flour
1½ cups flour, plus more if needed
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
Nonstick cooking spray
Pour 1 cup hot water into a large bowl with cornmeal and butter, stirring until lump-free. Let sit for 15 minutes.
Add molasses and salt, stirring until lump-free and the butter has melted.
In another bowl, add remainder of water and sprinkle yeast over the top, stirring. Let sit 10 minutes, or until yeast is foaming. Add to cornmeal mixture with both flours and cocoa. Mix with a dough hook or vigorously stir by hand, using a sturdy wooden spoon until the dough leaves the side of the bowl. Spray the top with cooking spray, loosely cover with a cloth or towel and let rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour.
Grease a sheet pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Transfer dough to a well floured work surface. Knead dough until smooth and is no longer sticky. Shape into a 12-inch loaf and place on prepared pan.
Lightly spray the top with additional cooking spray and allow to rise once again until double in bulk.
Heat oven to 350-degrees F and bake bread for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a rack to completely cool.
Makes 1 loaf
The Yankee Chef Jim Bailey is a third-generation chef, food columnist, cookbook author and food historian. Bailey lives in Maine with his wife and four children.