Chuck Norris doesn't use a bread knife. He uses dental floss.
Chuck Norris doesn't bake bread. He scares it into baking itself.
When Chuck Norris kneads bread, the neighbors feel the tremors.
Smitten Kitchen's Russian black bread is an intensely flavorful pumpernickel. Many adjectives could be used to describe it. "Hardcore" comes immediately to mind. This bread has seventeen ingredients, including unsweetened chocolate and shallots, or double what any normal bread on God's green earth should ever have. Step aside, my friends, because this, this is Chuck Norris bread.
Since this is a recipe review, I won't provide you with a recipe or any other pictures. For those, you can head on over to Smitten Kitchen and marvel at the fancy camera work. Instead, I'm going to give you the low-down on the recipe:
1.) Make it now. It's a messy, complicated dough, but it makes an insane amount of a delicious, aromatic bread. The apartment will smell like pumpernickel for the next few days, and that alone is worth the price of admission.
2.) When Deb at Smitten Kitchen tells you that you can make rounds or loaves, what she really means is that you should make only rounds. The crust on this bread is delightfully cruncy and thick, but it doesn't set up quite right in a loaf pan. It needs to be exposed to air; otherwise, it kind of crumbles and falls apart. So, make rounds, please. They're more aesthetically pleasing anyway. And, as you can see in the picture above, they slice beautifully.
3.) There is no real need to grind up the fennel and caraway seeds. The dough is so large that a few tablespoons of seeds are hardly noticeable.
4.) If you're like me and regularly alter recipes accidentally on purpose, do not fret. This bread (or any yeast bread, really) is resilient and can take pretty much any substitutions or alterations. I, for instance, stupidly added extra chocolate (cocoa powder + shortening for those of you without unsweetened chocolate on hand). It turned out perfectly all the same.
While the dough might kick your ass, the finished product is a pungent and delicious kick in the tastebuds. Unless you want to feel the wrath of a Chuck Norris roundhouse, you might want to get into the kitchen and start baking.