Not the best photos I realise, but I couldn't find a better way of getting a picture of this rather delicious loaf. Another recipe from Dan Lepard, and made to wide praise (here on his forums). The combination of coffee and black pepper intruiged me and the picture of the loaf in the Guardian looked so inviting that I just had to make this, despite having a dislike of coffee. After checking with Sue over at Mainly Baking that the coffee flavour wasn't too pronounced when she made the loaf I went ahead.
I checked the forum for any comments and discovered that some people had found the mixture quite dry, so I was careful to take my hot rye mixture off as soon as it boiled. Even so I found the mixture stiff and added some more warm water to it, probably about 50ml in total. It's perhaps just that I'm not as used to working with a dough where you're mixing the additional flour into a cooked paste rather than adding the liquid to the dry ingredients. Other than this, I followed the recipe exactly, the only change being that I omitted the fennel/anise flavour - I'm not sure that I'm keen on these flavours and it was going to be a lot of bread to eat if I wasn't keen on it! I'll try those flavours elsewhere and if I like them, will add them next time.
It's not the most perfect shape in the world, but I quite like the fact that it's individual - after all, I've made it, not bought it! And I'm not going to be sharing any of it either ;-)
I was really pleased with the interior of the loaf - it was very moist in a pleasant way with an even textured crumb and a beautiful colour - not the usual slightly offputting grey of rye, but with a brown hue from the coffee. I couldn't taste the coffee at all, which is perfect for me - I don't actually like coffee and so making this loaf was a bit of a gamble, but one that paid off. The pepper is very noticeable, to the extent that after a few bites you find yourself reaching for a drink to cool the mouth (but this is coming from someone with no heat tolerance at all - I never eat chilli-hot food, even mild level, so if you're a chilli lover I'm sure you'll hardly notice the heat at all!).
Perfect slathered with cream cheese for lunch - and no need to add pepper to the top!