Navigate to Food section

Leningrad Black Bread

December 02, 2021


For the pre-ferment

  • • 1/4 cup (60g) active rye sourdough starter
  • • 3/8 cup (100ml) slightly warm water
  • • 1 cup (100g) dark rye flour

For the dough

  • • Pre-ferment
  • • 3/4 cup (180ml) slightly warm water
  • • 1 Tbsp (15g) molasses
  • • 1 cup + 4 Tbsp (125g) dark rye flour
  • • 1 cup (100g) bread flour
  • • 3/4 cup (75g) whole wheat flour
  • • 1 1/2 tsp (10g) salt
Yield: 1 loaf


To make the Pre-ferment

  • Step 1

    In a glass jar, combine the ingredients for the pre-ferment and mix until uniform (but don’t mix for too long). Cover the jar and leave to rise until the mixture has doubled in volume, about five hours.

To make the Dough

  • Step 1

    In a large bowl, combine the pre-ferment, water, and molasses, and whisk until incorporated. Add the flours and salt and mix until a shaggy dough forms. Using a stand mixer or your hands, knead the dough until it is smooth and well-incorporated (the dough will be sticky). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave for 30 minutes.

  • Step 2

    After 30 minutes, perform a series of stretches and folds on the dough: Reaching under the dough, pull one side up and fold it over on top of the dough. Then, repeat that step with the area of dough next to the one that was just folded over. Repeat until you have moved in a complete circle around the circumference of the dough. Cover again and wait 30 minutes. Repeat this process two more times.

  • Step 3

    After the third series of stretches and folds, cover the bowl and leave the dough to rise until doubled in size (approximately five hours). Once the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a floured work surface. Form the dough into a circular loaf by taking the edge of the dough and stretching over the rest. Repeat with the edge next to the one just stretched and continue until you have moved in a complete circle around the circumference of the dough. Turn the dough over and place into a circular dish that has been lined with parchment paper.

  • Step 4

    Cover the dish and leave in the fridge overnight to proof. In the morning, preheat the oven to 450 and score the dough with a sharp knife. In the last five minutes of the preheat, place a Dutch oven in the oven to heat up. When it is hot, take it out of the oven and use the parchment paper to place the dough into the dish. Cover with the lid and bake at 450 for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take off the lid and bake for another 20 minutes (or until the crust is browned but not burnt) at 425. Let the bread cool completely before cutting into it.

Become a Member of Tablet

Join and unlock exclusive access to events, conversations with Tablet personalities, and more