The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Russian recipe for Borodinsky (Borodinski) bread

sambrungardt's picture

Russian recipe for Borodinsky (Borodinski) bread

Would anyone have a recipe for Borodinsky, the dark coriander-flavored bread? I'd especially like a recipe from a Russian site (I found a large-scale, commercial recipe on what used to be the Russian "Kleb" site, but cannot translate from Russian to English.) Thanks for your help with this.

-- Sam Brungardt, St. Paul, Minn.

JessFM's picture

Hi! I'm a first-time poster (long-time reader)....


I do not have a recipe for Borodinsky, but if you post the Russian recipe, I'd be happy to translate! (my boyfriend is Russian, and I am learning :)  ) 

CosmicChuck's picture

I found this after looking at a few different web sites. A lot of the recipes for Borodinsky bread I saw had caraway, but said coriander could be substituted. The full page this is from also has some good info on russian breads.

A sample recipe for Borodino bread.

The following general recipe has worked well for me. It is based on
the booklet Household Bread (Domashnii khleb. Moscow: 1991). The
amounts are approximate. It is assumed that an active sour starter is

1. Put 2 cups of whole rye flour (finely ground is easier to knead) in
a mixing bowl and pour 20 ounces of nearly boiling water over the
flour. Add 1 teaspoon of ground coriander seed and 4 tablespoons of
malt syrup. Mix thoroughly and let cool to around 85 degrees F.

2. When the mixture is at 85 deg., add 1/2 cup of the sourdough start-
er. If the starter is too weak to raise the dough, you could add com-
mercial yeast also at this point. Let this mixture sit for 10-12 hours
at around 85 degrees F.

3. Add 2 teaspoons of salt to the mixture and mix well. Add 1 cup of
whole wheat flour and mix. Continue to add rye flour (around 3-4 cups)
until it can be kneaded without too much sticking. Sprinkling the
surface with cold water or a little vegetable oil helps hasten this
process. Shape and smooth loaves, using water. (I get 2 small loaves
out of this quantity.)

4. Proof the shaped loaves around 1 1/2 - 2 hrs., or until it doesn't
rise anymore.

5. Bake at around 325 deg. F. for 2 hours.

sambrungardt's picture

Thanks so much for the Russian recip!  It looks as though it would work just fine.  I shall try it as soon as I can get some malt syrup.   Interestingly enough, I had devised an improvised recipe  in which I tried to get the malt flavor by using dark beer that had been allowed to go flat.  It will be interesting to compare the two outcomes.

CosmicChuck's picture

I woke up this morning thinking of my plans to make this bread today and how I needed to walk to the store to get some rye flour. I also had a thought about how a can of Guiness would likely work GREAT in this recipe. I guess I should try it now.


FoodFascist's picture

funny you should think of it, the Internet is full of Russian-language recipes that use bear to try and replicate the malt flavour. No idea how good any of these are tho as I've never tried any of them out

MangoChutney's picture

Depending on the malt syrup, beer won't taste the same because it has more or less hops in it.  Some malt syrup has hops in it also, though.  Beer would also be lacking in enzyme activity so that the rye starch would not be converted into sugar during the mash step.

rff000's picture

This was actually my original post of many years ago. I have since put the Russian booklet on a server, if any wants it. The address for download is:

The download instructions are in Russian, but then so is the booklet...


Since writing that, I bake this bread for less time, but at a higher temperature. I also do it under cover (one bread pan on top of the other) for the first 45 minutes or so. My temperature is now approximately 400 F for the first 45 minutes while under cover, then around 375 F after that, for another 25-30 minutes or so. Keep an eye on the surface, to make sure it does not burn. I noticed that even the Russian pros burn the top sometimes, due to the high sugar content.

Also, the zavarka should properly contain fermented red malt, which is available in Russia, but apparently not in the West. A decent substitute is reddish crystal rye malt. In my town, the only red crystal malt is wheat. I held it next to the Russian red malt I bought in Moscow and it's a pretty close match, but not exact.


There is also a difference of opinion about whether you should use lightly colored malt syrup, or dark colored molasses. I think these are just variants. The Russian standard (called GOST) just says syrup, making it legal to use different kinds.

The Russians also mention a technique that I've also seen mentioned by the Germans, of using an extremely hot oven for the very first five minutes or so (something like 600 F or more), then switching to a cooler oven of around 400 F after that.


Drifty Baker's picture
Drifty Baker


I have a recipe for Borodinsky bread from the Russian site and have had it translated with the help of two of my Russian friends.  However, the last time I made this bread it did not rise very well and came out of the loaf pans looking like bricks.  Izya told me the bread tastes the same as he remembers from Russia but it does not look the same.  It may be the white flour I am using.  The recipe calls for "cut straight flour" and I used all purpose.  The next time I make this I am going to use some vital wheat gluten to see if that will give a better rise.

I also live in the Twin Cities and would like to talk to you in person.  Are you a member of the St. Paul Bread Club?  We are having our quarterly meeting at St. Agnes Bakery in St. Paul on April 28.  You can get more information at

Please send me an e-mail at and I will send you my latest translation for Borodinsky bread.  Maybe together we can unscramble the secret to this great bread.



sambrungardt's picture

Scotty, I will send you an e-mail separately.  I'm not a member of SPBC yet, but I would like to  know more about the club.   Thanks; I very much appreciate your willingness to share your Borodinsky recipe.  One source I consulted said that Borodinsky was made with whole wheat flour.  That doesn't quite jibe with other sources. -- Sam

FoodFascist's picture

it never has wheat as its main ingredient, but a small quantity of wheat is usually added (up to 15% I think) and it can be whole wheat

tigressbakes's picture

Last night I was thumbing through Dan Lepard's The Handmade Loaf and I noticed a bread in there that looks like this bread - it didn't have the same name but he said it has its orgin in Russia and the Ukrane...

jkandell's picture

Authentic Borodinsky Rye
Jonathan Kandell, based on recipes by Auermann and Bolgov and Feldstein
Makes one small loaf
Six steps: 1) Making rye sour 2) Scalding the flour (the mash) 3) Making the sourdough sponge 4) Mixing the final dough 5) Final Rise (Proof) 6) Baking
I. Making a rye sour. The afternoon before baking add
• ½c rye flour
• 2T stored starter (any type)
• enough water to make a liquid starter.
Leave overnight till the next morning (as you do step 2) at room temperature until it's light airy and full of bubbles. Feel free to follow a different refreshment regimen so long as one way or the other you end up with about ½ cup of active poolish-consistency rye starter.
II. Zavarka (the mash)
• Dark rye flour 1 C
• Malt flour 3T (grind 3T of malted grain in coffee grinder: I prefer Maris Otter 2-row barley or rye malt, both available at brewery stores)
• Coriander seed 1T fresh crushed coriander (not bottled powdered, unless extremely fresh)
• Boiling Water 1 ½ c
Scald the rye and malt: Mix ground malt and coriander with 1½c boiling water, stirring while adding boiling water. Enjoy the wonderful smell of malt, gather family and insist they smell it too. When cooled to 85F (slightly colder than your finger), around 2-3 hrs, proceed to step 3.
III. Create the levain sponge Mix the active rye starter from step 1 thoroughly into the warm scald from step 2. Let sit at room temperature to ferment. When full of "air" and actively bubbling on top (around 4 hours), proceed to step 4.
IV. Dough
• Salt, 1 teaspoon
• Coriander, crushed 2 or more teaspoons
Stir above into sponge and mix well. Then add:
• Dark rye flour 2 cups
• White bread or all purpose flour ½ cup
• Honey 2 tablespoon (or 1T sugar, 1T honey)
Mix and knead. You may need up to ¼ c more wheat flour if the dough doesn't come together, but try not to add much. Rye does not need much kneading, about 10 minutes in a bread machine on dough cycle. This rye dough will not move around the machine like wheat does; it will stay in one place, moist and slimy and sticky and gross. Use a spatula to continually push the dough in toward the blade. You can alternatively mix with a wooden spoon for up to half an hour, taking breaks as needed.
V. Proofing. Form into a loaf in loaf pans. Using wet hands, slap the sticky wet dough firmly down into pan. I recommend a lightly sprayed silicon loaf pan sitting within a glass or metal loaf pan to hold the shape. Let the dough rise to just above the pan, around 4 hours. In a rush you can get away with half of that.
VI. Baking Bake at around 350F for 1 hour and 300F for another half hour, or until hollow sounding when tapped on bottom. After cooling, wrap in tin foil and then in a plastic bag. Leave this wrapped cocoon out at least 24 hours. The bread will be moist in middle at first but the moisture will spread evenly after the wait.
Notes: I like coriander, so feel free to adjust down. Experiment with dark and medium ryes and coarse and fine wheat flours. Experiment with different degrees of sourness in the rye starter or the second levain. The perfect Borodinsky is a balance between the sweetness of the honey and coriander and the sour of the rye starter. Experiment with different malts and different sweeteners, e.g molasses, sorghum. Note on cleaning rye: Rye is sticky and messy. I recommend cleaning your utensils immediately while still wet, dry rye is impossible. Use plenty of cold water. Use wet hands when you need to touch the dough (e.g. when taking out of bread machine pan, when patting down); keep a bowl of water near. Please tell me how it turns out!

martinfogel's picture

I tried out your recipe recently.  I tried to follow it faithfully, but ended up making some changes.

1) Used 3T of Crystal Red barley malt - Color 60 whatever that means - is supposed to be a sweet version of the malt.  The home brew store ground it coarsely for me.

2) Cut the sugar down to 1 T

3) Cut coriander in half.

4) Used a KA mixer and mixed on 2nd speed for about 6 min to "knead" the dough.  I used a 9 in loaf pan lined with parchment paper to bake the loaf.

For the rye I used a whole grain rye.  The bread came out tasting great, I was not ready for the combnation of sour, sweet and spicy.  But it was gummy and difficult to cut after the 24 hr "waiting" perod.  Perhaps my rye was less absorbent than yours.  Or I needed to bake it longer.  It was in the oven for as long as specified, the internal temp hit 205F and it sounded hollow to me. 

If I knew how, I would post some pictures.  Any suggestions - or is it supposed to be very moist.

rff000's picture

I happen to be in Moscow now and I have two comments on Borodinsky bread. I bought a local brand two days ago, from the Shcholkovksy Bread Factory ( It surprised me by being quite sweet, but that may be because the official recipe uses 6% sugar and 4% syrup/molasses and I usually cut that down considerably. Also, their bread was a bit burnt on top, which really seemed surprising for a commercial product, sold in a store. I avoid this at home by baking under cover for the first three-quarters of the total time. You have to be especially careful about burning on top if you use the full dose of sugar and molasses. Yesterday I bought three 600 gram containers of the specifed malt: red fermented rye malt, which is only sold at one location in Moscow: the All-Russia Exhibition Center, at the Doma-Khleb store ( They say that red crystal rye malt is the closest you can come outside Russia.

FoodFascist's picture

hi there,

just read your comment (3 years later, hey? :-S)

it's all correct. Borodinsky belongs firmly in the family of sweet rye breads. There are many other Eastern European ryes, notably Lithuanian, that are unmistakably sweet, and that's how they should be! In fact, right now my tired mind can't think of a single Russian scalded rye that's not sweet.

GOST (the Soviet state standard) specifically notes that sugar in Borodinsky must never be fully substituted for molasses, otherwise the resulting bread will "have an ale-like, malty flavour" which is strictly undesirable. I can testify to this myself, I once tried a fancy-shmancy organic, artisan and no-refined-anything version "recreated" by an English bakery and although I hate to through food away, their Guinness in the shape of a loaf had to go in the bin. Well first it went mouldy, because I kept it for a while thinking I might make some kwass with it, but never brought myself to the sacriledge :-D

Of course as home bakers, we all tweak recipes to suit our tastes and there's nothing wrong in reducing the amount of sugar if you think it's too sweet. Just be careful not to go for molasses alone.

As for the burnt top. Believe it or not, that's also true and authentic. Borodinsky as any living Russian knows it has a very dark, almost black top. The crust on all sides is very thin though, so the dark bit doesn't distract from the overall flavour of the bread. However there's nothing wrong with cutting the top crust off if you don't like it. In fact a lot of people do.

I'm not sure what the black top is about but I suspect it may be harking back to Borodinsky's early, pre-industrial days when it was baked in wood-fired ovens where temperature control is far from a precise science.

Borodinsky in its true form is never baked under a lid, that makes for a loaf that's too moist and has no crust.


ananda's picture


I must have made many thousands of this type of bread during my time at the Melmerby Bakery.   See Andrew Whitley's "Breadmatters" book, from 2006, for further details, pp. 168 - 71.

Also useful stuff posted on my blog here:

Formula [total flour = 100%] as follows:

Rye sour:                                                    80 [dark rye 30, water 50]

Light Rye Flour:                                           70

Salt:                                                            1.5

Molasses:                                                    6

Barley Malt Syrup:                                         4.5

Coriander Seeds - "fine cut" [coarsely ground]: 1.5

Water:                                                       35

TOTAL:                                                     198.5

notes: pre-fermented flour = 30%; overall hydration = 85%

It's made as a tinned loaf with a scattering of coriander seeds in the base, and a dusting of coriander fine cut, across the top of the loaf prior to baking.   A fantastic loaf!

Best wishes


JohnLloydJones's picture

This is my current favourite breakfast bread. I use a mash, like jkandel, but the water I add to the Rye is at 165F and I keep the mash at 150F for 2-3 hours in a (toaster) oven. Too high a temperature destroys the malting enzyme (amylase). I usually use use no diastatic malt (rye has enough enzymes) and no added honey or sugar. My recipe uses 80% dark rye and 20% bread flour -- half the rye is used for the mash and the other half the rye sour.

jkandell's picture

Would you be willing to post the details to your recipe, JohnLloyd?

You are certainly being orthodox by maintaining the mash at 150F for several hours. I started that way, and simplified after doing "taste tests".  It tasted just (or almost) as good with the simpler: add boiling water and let air cool for several hours...  I've learned to trust my taste-buds over mythology when it comes to bread-baking; but I am curious on your own experience.

Not adding malt is... sacrilegious. I'm not thinking of the amylase, but the flavor.  It's a key component of flavor imho.  Sour + porridgy malt + corriander.

Leaving out the sugar/honey...  I can live with that.

Details, man, I want details!

JohnLloydJones's picture

My bread has the malt, as required. It is not added as an ingredient, it is formed during the mashing stage. Careful temperature control retains the activity of important enzymes. I do the mash the day before and leave tighly covered all night. When I open it the next morning, it has the unmistakeable colour and fragrance of malted rye.

Here's the recipe I use. The rye flour is milled at home and 100% whole grain rye.


Rye flour 463g
Water     463g

Heat the water to 165F and add to the rye flour. Mix quickly, cover and put in a (toaster) oven for 3 hours.You can leave the mash, tightly covered, over night until you are ready to use it.


Rye flour: 463g
Water:     384g
Culture:     23g

Mix and mature for 12-14 hours.

[Depending on how recently my rye culture has been refreshed, I may do a two stage starter (detmolder style) where I set a 150% hydration refresh in the morning and then use that as the culture for the evening's starter.]

Final build:

Mash : 926g (all of the mash recipe above)
Starter: 870g (all of the starter recipe above)
Rye flour: 232g
Bread flour: 264g
Water: 185g
Salt: 20g
Freshly ground corriander: 30g.

Mix all the ingredients. It's an unfathomly sticky mess, but that's how it has to be. No first proof is required. divide and put into loaf pans that have been lightly oiled and dusted with coarsely ground corriander seeds.

Proof until fully risen; about 2-3 hours depending on ambient temperature and your culture's activity.

When ready to bake, use a brush to carefully wet the top and sprinkle more coarsely ground corriander seeds. Bake at 425F for 10 minutes, lower the temperature to 400F and continue to bake for another 30-40 minutes (core temp should be at least 190F).

This recipe makes two loaves.



nicodvb's picture

Thanks for posting it.

Please, next time you make it can you take pictures of the cumb and of the mash? I'm curious to compare it to the colors that comes out with my flour.

May I ask what's the purpose of the bread flour? Does it somehow make the dough more manageable?

Thanks again.

JohnLloydJones's picture

I'll get my camera out next time. Until then, it is the expected natural colour of a dark rye bread; deep brown (almost black). No artifial colouring such as caramel or coffee (yuck) required.

The purpose of the bread flour? Well the recipe started out as an 80% rye bread with a scald. The original recipe was baked as a hearth loaf and needed some help to keep shape. After adaptation, I kept the bread flour (I have read somewhere that russian rye bread is often 85% rye) even though I bake this in a pan.

Oh and one random fact. I often make the mash in double (or more) quantity. I also use the malted rye for my home-made dog treats. They go wild about the smell.

[BTW. We're almost neighbors. We live in Gilbert, AZ]

nicodvb's picture

actually I live in italy, a bit far from Arizona;-)

Thanks for your infomations.

JohnLloydJones's picture

Oh, I was thinking of jkandell, who's in Tucson.  Sorry, for the mixup.

CynthiaTeo's picture

I was recently in Russia and had the Borodinsky bread at Sovetskaya Hotel.
i would love to learn how to bake this bread. Can you share  the receipe with me,

rff000's picture

If you mean the Sovetskaya in St. Petersburg, I stayed there too a few years ago. It's kind of an old hotel, but they had a gigantic breakfast buffet, if you want to eat your whole day's food ration at one meal.

Borodinsky, like all predominantly rye breads in Russia, uses sourdough as an ingredient because the acid prevents the rye dough from becoming sticky at oven temperatures, which doesn't happen with wheat flour dough. Besides the sour, yeast is used by the pros, but if your sourdough is properly active, you don't need to use yeast. Next, around 15% of the rye flour is scalded with 150 F. water, together with the coriander seed. Each item has its own timing, which makes this bread more complicated than a simple yeast-risen white bread. I have put several recipes on the net over the past several years. I have a pretty big collection of Russian language bread materials on my hard disk, if anyone reads Russian and would like me to upload copies.

One difficulty with recipes is that you need to know the hydration of your sour. I used to use 200% hydration but then switched to 100%. This affects how much water and flour gets added to the recipe. Generally speaking, you can shoot for around 70% hydration in the final dough. 10-15% of the rye can go into the scald and 20-30% can come from the previously soured culture. Every time I bake Borodinsky bread I start with a pencil and paper and decide how much flour I want in the final dough. Then I calculate how much sour culture and scald to use. I let the final dough sour for around 6 hours at around 80-85 F. Then I bake under cover at 400 F. for around 40 minutes and then around 20 more without a cover at a slightly lower temperature, around 350 F. If it doesn't sound done when you knock on the bottom, I just let it go longer.

JohnOToole's picture

Just thought I'd add my ten cents. My first bake was a black Russian bread. The recipe was from a book and over time I changed it to my own taste. I felt free to do this as the original seemed to be a recipe which was made up of basically anything which was leftover in the cupboard. I made up my own starter and the liquid content is a mixture of cocoa, coffee, molasses, kvass, and Guinness. I'm not saying that it's right but the bread comes out rich, chewy and dark, something like a gingerbread. 

Cuisine Fiend's picture
Cuisine Fiend

I follow the Andrew Whitley's recipe from Bread Matters which someone has mentioned, my full recipe here:

My trials and errors have showed that it's much easier to get a rise on the final loaf using light rye flour for the main dough. The taste is virtually the same as with dark rye but with the latter you just get a brick, no matter how long you leave it to prove.

drogon's picture

Not really a +1 sort of place, but anyway...

My own rye breads are based on this and I'm now making some 15 of these a week for sale in the local shop. (Although I use caraway rather than corriander) but for the most part its Whitleys recipe...

I make them up in the evening and leave them in the top of the fridge overnight and bake in the morning which appears to shock some people here, but it works a treat.


Cuisine Fiend's picture
Cuisine Fiend

15 that's impressive. I was thinking about fridge overnight but could never work out timing right enough for it as I don't make it that often. Will try next time definitely though.

drogon's picture

I make up the working levian mid-afternoon (3-4pm) from my jar that lives in the fridge. Mix it all together late evening, (8pm) divide it into tins then put the tins into bags and leave at the top of the fridge. In the morning (6am) I take them  out while the ovens are warming up, then bake them to 96°C. They're in the shops still a bit warm and despite telling everyone to let them get cold before cutting/eating a lot of people don't bother. Some do though and they tell me it lasts them a week.

I don't know what happened to make numbers jump - I suspect 1 or 2 brave "a little bit gluten sensitive" people gave them a try, then found that they could eat it without any side-effects, so word spread through the community (who're almost certainly the ones with a wheat intolerance than anything else) I need to buy more tins now due to the amount I'm making which gets in the way of the tin white loaves I also make.


Cuisine Fiend's picture
Cuisine Fiend

Sounds like a well-organised little bakery... It's funny how people turn to rye bread these days because of the gluten-free trend which I really don't subscribe to, far fewer wheat intolerant people around than it's commonly believed and gluten does not have any detrimental effects on health. I just think rye bread is a nicely different taste and goes with different things than crusty baguette.

It pays to wait though - it slices better the next day and I completely second that it lasts well a week if you let it. Really nice toasted too which I didn't think would be the case.