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Jan 2, 2011 08:44 AM

Black bread in the 'burbs

I'm looking for a few baguette-sized loaves of real black bread for my post-holiday party next weekend. I've used the Rubischlager pumpernickel but prefer the real McCoy. Are there any bakeries that make real Russian black bread preferably between Collegeville and the Main Line? Thank you.

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  1. Shouldn't a Hound like you be makin' your own? Just sayin" (grin).

    1. Ric's bread, who was at the headhouse market this season had real black bread (I grew up in East Oak Lane and there was a great bakery in Olney that I don't know if it still exists) They are in Lancaster, but seem to go to farmer's markets and the occassional retail outlet (I saw a mention of Green Isle Grocery carrying them)

      1. l understand your pain. Russian bakeries were in the area decades ago, in Olney was Cakemasters, and Logan but now only one l know of is Kaplan's at 3rd and Poplar. Liss's on Haverford never did it for me.

        1. Thanks, Hounds, and yes, P'Cakes, I should be venturing into the unknowns of dry cooking but I need (knead?) some unpressured time to experiment. The bash is on Saturday. The salmon is curing and I'd like to have the really good stuff as an accompanyment.

          All the "black" bread recipes I've examined make lovely light brown to dark brown loaves, but not really black bread that I remember from my days in NE Philly 25 years ago. How does one get it really black without excessive dark molasses that would make it sweet?

          15 Replies
          1. re: Chefpaulo

            You use coffee in place of the water & this nifty stuff called caramel coloring (it's black) from King Arthur.

            1. re: PattiCakes

              Now we're getting somewhere. Some recipes call for a few tablespoons of coffee but not enough to make it black. i was thinking chicory might be in order. I'll check out His Majesty's blackening solution. Thanks P'Cakes.

              1. re: Chefpaulo

                I used the pumpernickel recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. It does not recommend using pumpernickel flour (they claim an unreliable water absorbtion factor), but I did anyway, along with coffee and that magic powder from KA. It turned out very well, although it was a more rustic loaf than the traditional dark loaf I remember from the deli. Hubby made quick work of it with the liverwurst and onion. Might have snuck some herring in ther etoo.

                1. re: PattiCakes

                  I've seen recipes that call for chocolate, espresso powder, and molasses to make it dark. Some recipes require a starter, whereas other just use dry yeast.

                  In my opinion if you want the russian "cherniye kheb" go to Bells Market in the northeast, Its worth the travel, and they have wonderful breads many of which are made on site there.

                  1. re: cwdonald

                    Sounds like a road trip. Can you pinpoint an address?

                      1. re: Bigley9

                        From Oreland, get onto 73/Township Line Road which turns into Cottman Ave. Take that to Bustleton make a left and its about a mile up on the left in a shopping center with other russian stores as well. If you get to Jack's Deli you have gone too far.

                        1. re: cwdonald

                          Definately a road trip!! Thanks cw. Na Zdorovie!

                    1. re: cwdonald

                      Since I had no idea what "chemiye kheb" was, I Googled it found this recipe -
                      Maybe that's help CP!

                      1. re: cwdonald

                        Just went to Bell's market after seeing this post. Found nice bread, but not the 'Russian Black' or really dark pumpernickel from my childhood. That being said, excellent market, with huge variety of eastern European things, including the pomegranate juices with lots of muck on bottom, so much better than Pom.

                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                          Fillabagel in Jenkintown has a very good pumpernickel. I think it's pretty dark, but after reading all this maybe it's not black.

                          1. re: barryg

                            There is a real difference between pumpernickle and what I grew up calling Russian Black Bread. Part of it is molasses (I think) and amazingly the russian black bread has LESS of a molasses taste than pumpernickle.

                          2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                            Try the Russian grocery store in the old Leo Mall--farther up Bustleton Ave. (11749 Bustleton). I used to work with a few guys from Russia and they drove down there almost every weekend to get their authentic Russian foods.

                            1. re: gaffk

                              The name of that market is NetCost...

                              1. re: cwdonald

                                Thanks . . .I knew it must have a name ;)

                2. The Whole Foods in Wynnewood sells a pretty decent Russian black bread - it's baked outside WF, so it is on their back shelf, behind the bread counter.