The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Russian rye bread

dmsnyder's picture

Rusian rye bread 2 boules

Rusian rye bread 2 boules

Russian Rye Boule

Russian Rye Boule

Russian Rye Crumb

Russian Rye Crumb

Sauve posted the formula for this bread in Kosher-Baker's blog topic, "Diary of a Starter." As a confirmed rye bread lover, I was curious about how it would compare with the Jewish, Czech and Polish ryes I had already baked. I'm glad I tried it.


Firm starter (73% hydration):

43 g. rye starter
195 g. whole rye flour - must be finely groud
142 g. water

Mix, cover and leave for 6-7 hours at 85-90 F.  The original recipe calls for 1/3 of the mother starter and fermenting for 3-4 hours, but I find that using more traditional proportions and doubling the fermentation time works equally well.

Dough (69% hydration):
97 g. whole rye flour
290 g. high extraction flour
333 g. starter
261 g. water
9 g. salt
17 g. sugar
1 g. instant yeast

Mix all ingredients and knead until you have well developed gluten.  In KA it takes me about 12 minutes at second speed.  Ferment 80 min at 85-90 F.  Flatten the dough and shape a tight boule.  Proof in basket, seam up, 50 minutes at room temperature.  There's no need to slash.  Spray with water before baking and 1 minute before taking out of the oven. Bake with steam 50 minutes at 440-450.  Let the bread cool thorougly, 2 hours at least.  The loaf should have shiny surface without tears and tight uniform crumb.  Using medium rye flour instead of whole rye and/or bread flour instead of high extraction flour also works well.


I used my white rye starter and fed it with Guisto's Organic (whole) rye flour. I used this rye flour and KA First Clear flour in the dough. I mixed in a KitchenAid Accolade. Rather than making one large boule, I divided the dough in half and made 2 boules of 525 gms each. They proofed in wicker brotformen. I baked them on a stone with steam from hot water into a hot cast iron skillet. The boules were baked for 25 minutes at 450F. I turned the oven down to 440F, because the boules were getting pretty dark pretty fast, and continued to bake for a total of 40 minutes.

The crust remained very firm, even after the loaves were fully cooled. The crumb is like that Suave showed - rather dense but not dry or "heavy" in the mouth. The taste is decidedly sour (surprisingly so). If I were doing a blind taste of this bread, I would not identify it as a rye. It tastes more like a whole wheat sourdough bread to me. There is a noticeable sweet taste, too. I assume this is from the sugar. I don't think I have ever baked a sourdough bread with added sugar before, although I have used malt and honey in sourdoughs, when the recipe called for them. I expect the bread to mellow overnight and taste significantly different tomorrow.

My thanks to Suave for sharing this recipe. If he (or others) would like to tell us more about the background of this bread, I'm sure it would be appreciated.


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