I make Bon Appetit's brown soda bread on a regular basis. It's hearty and delicious, and it never fails. One day, I decided to see if a pumpernickel-flavored version would work--and it did! This is a lovely soup bread, crusty on the outside and cakey in the middle. It also freezes beautifully, and you can toast slices of it straight from the freezer. —ieatthepeach
1 round or rectangular loaf
whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups
light rye flour
natural (unsweetened) cocoa powder
medium shallot, minced
cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes (optional)
Preheat oven to 425º F, and place a rack in the middle of the oven. For a round loaf, grease or parchment-line a baking sheet; for a rectangular loaf, grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
In a measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk and molasses. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, rye flour, cornmeal, cocoa powder, shallot, caraway seeds, baking soda, and salt. Add butter (if using) and use a pastry cutter, a pair of forks, or your fingertips to mix the butter into the dry ingredients until it’s completely incorporated and crumbly. Add buttermilk-molasses mixture and mix just until a sticky dough comes together.
For a round loaf, turn the dough out onto the baking sheet, form it into a round, and use a sharp knife to slash an X in the top. For a rectangular loaf, transfer the dough to the loaf pan and even out the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the bread is browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes before transferring to a cutting board.
Slice the bread and serve warm; once it’s cooled, toast slices before serving. Leftover bread can be wrapped in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil, and frozen for up to 3 months.