Russian sourdough no more?
For those fortunate few to know what real russian bread tasted some while ago I have bad news - that bread is no more.
I just came back from a week long trip to Russia. My hopes to get a feel of what Borodinsky and other authentic breads should taste were shattered when I encountered the same spongy-type bread most of the west is eating now.
My reference point is 20-30 years back.
The bread came in these common types across most of the country with some local variations:
- white brick, low grade - 15 - 18 kop (kop = copeika = cent), not worth remembering
- white brick, med grade - 20 kop, sourdough, the staple of most families
- borodinsky - 15 - 18 kop, top notch, made to the original standard in most cases
- "baton" - 22 kop, high grade flour, resembles french bread
- "round" - 40 kop, a big round high grade sourdough loaf
- "rizhsky" - ?? kop, a rye/wheat sourdough brick
What they sell at the moment resembles in appearance the bread of that time, but it doesn't taste anywhere close. It is still cheap, though. It neither tastes good nor lasts long.
I feel very disappointed because I really really hoped to get some reference point to what I am trying to re-produce.
Sure, there are still bakeries that do make excellent bread, but the masses were switched to the same low quality commercial alternative by the new foreign owners of former state-run baking plants.
Maybe it's just the towns I visited this time?
Someone, please, tell me I am wrong.