The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Borodinsky Forever

varda's picture

Borodinsky Forever

Over the last few days I've been working on another Borodinsky.   I made some new rye malt, then refreshed rye sour, and scald flavored with the malt, molasses, and not quite as potent ground coriander as my last try.   I followed Andy's Feb 6 Borodinsky post, with the exception of some different timing and a little less coriander.   I cut into the loaf this morning, and felt, that maybe, just maybe I had made something close to a real Borodinsky loaf.  

Gave some to my son for breakfast - he ate it without any topping and without any complaint.   Then cut up some slices and took them to a morning meeting.   Since the people at the meeting were civilians (i.e., don't lie awake at night thinking about how to make such and such authentic Russian bread using the Auerman process) I thought they might not like it, and warned them it was very rye-y and coriandery and so forth.   But everyone ate it and most people seemed to genuinely enjoy it.    One woman mentioned that she thought it would be heavy and dense since it was mostly rye.   But it wasn't - instead very light in a rye sort of way.   

My only complaint is that the bread didn't quite hit the top of the pan, even though I thought I had the scaling (.69 of Andy's bake) perfect.   The bread obviously had some ovenspring, but rather than smoothly expanding to fill the inside of the pan, it seemed to rise as if it was uncovered and then cracked along the top.

I tried to get a very uniform paste in the pan by putting some in with a spoon and then smoothing and flattening it with a wet rubber spatula.  

My rye malt was much more successful this time.    I read through all the links people sent me - thank you.    I took Juergen's advice to raise the temperature while toasting the sprouting berries.    The color was much darker this time but I would call it ginger rather than red.    But I did get a much more powdery consistency when I ground the berries after toasting.   The potency this time around was much stronger, and I was a little afraid that I had burned it, since it had a very powerful aroma.   In retrospect I think it was fine.

Compare this with last time:

I also found what I thought was a very interesting discussion about making rye malt here.   See in particular Ron's comments in this thread.  

Baking Notes:

I always wait to use liquid rye sour until it is frothy on top.   In this case, I fed the sour in the afternoon.   Then again at night around six hours later.   Then left it overnight.   Ten hours later, it was frothy, so I combined it with the scald (made at the same time as the second sour feed) to make the sponge.   Then let ferment for 4 hours, per Andy's instructions.    I added final ingredients (rye flour, wheat flour, and salt)   and fermented for an hour.   Then spread into the pan (9 inch Pullman.)   Then proofed for only 1.5 hours rather than 3.   I used a wet finger to poke and test for elasticity, and just felt it was done earlier than expected.   Andy specifies a long bake at very low temperature with a very high temp start.   That didn't work with my schedule.   Instead I did the following.   Preheated oven to its highest temperature - 550F - for 40 minutes.   20 minutes into the preheat, I added a big pyrex lasagna pan full of water and with three towels in it.   At 40 minutes I added the loaf, and let the temperature come back up to 550F.    Then reduced heat to 350F.   At 1 hour 15 minutes into the bake, I removed the loaf from the pan, and removed the steam pan, and baked for 30 more minutes.    This time I managed to wait for around 20 hours before cutting.  

As for coriander, the first time I made this, I put in a very small amount of coriander that had been ground months before.    I think I underdid it.   Then second time, I put in freshly ground coriander at a little less than what Andy had specified.   The smell of the sponge with the coriander was overpowering to the point of being unpleasant and things didn't get any better with the bread, which failed for other reasons.   This time I scaled Andy's formula to .69 which would have called for 7g of coriander.   Instead I put in 5g of my supply of coriander which had been ground awhile ago.    This worked.   The flavor was fantastic and not overpowering.   Note that in Andy's Feb 6 post, he didn't put in the coriander until final, whereas in earlier posts, he put in with the scald.   Either way seems to be ok.  

I'm happy with this latest effort.   Thanks so much to Andy for his detailed and repeated posts on the subject.  


codruta's picture

varda, these are the photos I took, not the best photo quality, but the colours are close to reality.


varda's picture

So I'm guessing that the key is letting it sprout more as you did before drying and roasting, since it looks like you got it exactly right.   Thanks for posting the pictures.  -Varda

dabrownman's picture

What temperatures and length of time did you rast at codruta?

codruta's picture

I can't tell what temperature was in the oven, I put the tray on the rack above the baking stone first minutes while the oven was preheating for baking, and then again, when the baking was done, I turned off the oven, put the tray inside, again, above the baking stone, close the door, and left it there, maybe 30 minutes, stiring 2-3 times. I kept an eye on the colour and I tasted them while they were roasting (I ate a lot of them, they are very crunchy and sweet and tasty when they are roasted). Sorry I cant't help you with more detailed informations. I didn't watch the clock, and I don't have thermometer for oven.

jkandell's picture

couple misc comments:

  • Some of the russian recipes add the coriander with the scald, some divide it so some is added with the scald, and some at the end.
  • Unorthodox to add molasses to the scald.  I understand why, since it's easier to mix, but no russian recipe does this.  It's easier just to hold some water back and use it to dissolve the molasses in the final dough. 
  • Andy's 1% coriander is much higher than the russian recipes: they use 0.5 or even less. Of course that's not including the coriander sprinkled on the top. 
  • This recipe leaves out the sugar. The russian recipes use 4% sugar and 6% syrup.  That's really sweet by American and European standards, so makes sense to leave it out and use more salt too!
  • As an alternative to making malt from scratch, at a brewery store you could buy Crystal Rye (aka Carmel Rye) malt, or even a crystal barley malt, e.g. .60.  You could also buy ordinary (unroasted) rye malt and roast it in a cast iron pan till it got to be the color you ended up with.