Sour-Sweet Russian Bread

This dark, heavy bread is adapted from Lesley Chamberlain's excellent book The Food and Cooking of Russia (London: Alien Lane, 1982).

300 g white bread flour
300 g strong wholewheat flour
300 g rye flour
1 sachet Easyblend yeast
500 ml water, just off the boil
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (optional)
1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)

Mix together the flours and the yeast. Pour over the water mixed with the honey and pomegranate molasses, mix, and knead well. Transfer to an oiled bowl and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size. Knead again, adding the caraway seeds, form into two loaves, and leave to rise again. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220 °C (gas mark 7). When the dough has risen again, wet the loaves with wet hands and put them in the oven to bake, turning down the oven temperature to 180 °C (gas mark 4) after 15 minutes. They will take about 40 minutes in total, depending on your oven.

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