Dark Communion Bread

By Susan Roach
Updated June 7, 2017

Note: the recipe below makes 6 x 10 ounce loaves plus a spare ~7 ounce loaf.  You can halve the recipe, but if you make six loaves, and one or two turn out to be unattractive, you will still have enough bread for four services.

Yeast mixture:
            2 tablespoons dry active yeast
            2 tablespoons coffee crystals
            3 cups unbleached bread flour 

Liquid mixture:
            2 ½ cup water
            6 tablespoons molasses
            4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
            1 square finely chopped unsweetened chocolate
            2 tablespoons vinegar
            3 teaspoons sugar
            2 teaspoon salt                                     

Flour mixture:
            1 cups unbleached bread flour
            3 1/3 cups rye flour

1 Tbs. vegetable oil to grease the stoneware bowl

large ceramic or stoneware mixing bowl
Plastic wrap to cover the bowl
Waxed paper for measuring the rye flour
4-cup pyrex measure
Kitchenaid mixer with dough hook and one mixing bowl
Sturdy whisk
Pizza stone
Very sharp knife
Kitchen scale
Quart-sized freezer bags
Kitchen timer

Stir together the yeast mixture in the Kitchenaid mixing bowl.

Microwave the liquid mixture in the Pyrex measure for 1 minute and stir. Repeat once or twice, 30 seconds at a time, repeating stirring until the butter is melted.

Whisk the liquid mixture into the yeast mixture.

Put the mixing bowl on the mixer stand, with the dough hook attachment.

Gradually add the flour mixture, running the mixer on speed 2.  After the dough is scraping the sides of the mixing bowl clean, let the mixer run for two more minutes.

Turn the dough out into the greased stoneware bowl.  Cover with greased plastic wrap and kitchen towels.  Let rise for 75 to 90 minutes in a warm spot.  I use the top of my toaster oven, set on 120 degrees.

Punch the down down.  Form into 10 oz balls.  You’ll have enough left over for a spare 7 oz ball.

Place on floured chopping boards and let rise for another 60 minutes.

Flatten each ball gently, and let rise for 15 minutes more, while you preheat the pizza stone and the oven to 375°F.   Be sure that the oven rack is in the center shelf of the oven, not up or down.

Before putting each batch of balls in the oven, use a sharp paring knife to slice a large cross (+) shape into each loaf.  Each loaf will have a “skin”.  Just cut deeply into that skin. For the first line, slice or saw the center line, then do the crossing line as two separate cuts from the center line, i.e. don’t cut across the center line.

Bake for 21 minutes.

Cool on wire racks, and put into freezer bags labeled with the date they should be used.


Acknowledgements:  Ingredients were derived from the recipe for dark rye bread, in Better Homes and Gardens’ New Cook Book.  Loaf sizes have varied over time, with guidance from St. John’s Altar Guild leader, Nancy Young.  Originally this recipe was used only for Lent, but due to its popularity, it is now used year-round.