Russian black seeded bread

Russian black seeded bread

1 large loaf
Cooking time
30 mins
Deidre Rooney

Dense, dark and delicious, this intensely flavoured bread works well with strong cheese and smoked salmon or cured herring.

From the grocer


Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons salt, plus extra for salting
1 1/2 tablespoons black treacle
2 teaspoons muscovado sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
4 teaspoons dried active yeast
125g rye flour
200g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
225g strong wholemeal flour
20g butter, melted and cooled
sunflower oil, for oiling
3 teaspoons caraway seeds
4 tablespoons mixed seeds, such as pumpkin, sesame, poppy, hemp, linseeds and sunflower kernels

From the greengrocer

Quantity Ingredient
170g floury potatoes, peeled


  1. To make the starter dough, cook the potatoes in lightly salted boiling water until tender. Drain and reserve 250 ml of the water. Mash the potatoes and push them through a sieve to make a smooth purée. Stir the treacle, 2 teaspoons of the sugar, the cocoa and coffee into the reserved water and mix well, then stir this mixture into the potato. Leave to cool until lukewarm, add 2 teaspoons of the yeast and the rye flour. Cover with plastic wrap and leave overnight.
  2. The following day, put the remaining 2 teaspoons of yeast in a bowl with 60 ml lukewarm water and the remaining sugar, and leave somewhere warm to ‘sponge’ for 15 minutes.
  3. Sift the strong white and wholemeal flours together with the salt and put the bran in the sieve into the bowl. Make a well in the middle and put the starter dough and the newly sponged yeast into it. Add the butter and pull the dry ingredients into the wet ones with your hands to make a soft dough. Lightly oil a work surface and your hands and knead the dough for about 10 minutes or 6 minutes in a food fitted with a dough hook. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Leave to rise until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
  4. Knock back the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Combine the caraway seeds and the mixed seeds and put all but 1 tablespoon into the dough. Knead briefly to incorporate the seeds and shape the dough into a round loaf, smoothing it nicely and tucking the seam underneath. Place on a lightly oiled baking tray. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and leave to prove for about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C. When the dough has proved, remove the plastic wrap; brush the top with water and sprinkle over the remaining 1 tablespoon of seeds. Bake for 30 minutes, then check for doneness – the bottom should sound hollow if you tap it. If it doesn’t, return the loaf to the oven and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
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