This sim­ple bread makes a state­ment

The Phoenix - - COMMUNITY - By JimBai­ley

There re­ally isn’t any­thing I can say aboutMaine 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 ofwa­ter 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 12inch 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 third­gen­er­a­tion chef, food colum­nist, cook­book au­thor and food his­to­rian. Bai­ley lives in Maine with his wife and four chil­dren.

PHOTO BY JIM BAI­LEY

Add Maine Black Bread to your recipe reper­toire.

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