The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

80% Whole Rye Pullman loaf

davidg618's picture

80% Whole Rye Pullman loaf

This is the second time I've baked a high percentage rye bread. The first was Hamelman's Volkornbrot; I wasn't elated with the result. ( ).  That was four years ago.

Lately--happy with my progress with sourdoughs, baguettes, challah and deli rye, and motivated by a number of other TFL'er's seemingly annual flurry of activity with Borodinsky rye Ioaves I thought I give it a go.

I read at least two dozen postings from favorite mentors (ananda, varda, Elagins, and hansjoakim to name a few); I searched other food blogs. I paused feeling intimidated. First of all, I didn't have all the right ingredients--malted rye, and blackstrap molasses specifically. I know where I could get malted rye, but it's a hundred-eighty miles round trip to the nearest homebrew shop that stocks it. I hadn't the slightest idea (other than buying online) where I might find blackstrap molasses.

Secondly, although I frequently use coriander in BBQ rubs, and pastrami crusts, I've never used it to flavor bread. I wasn't certain we'd like it. However, we love adding the flavor of Caraway seeds to Deli Rye.

I wanted to bake when the mood struck, not a week or more from now.

I recalled reading Borodinsky is always 80/20: Rye/Wheat flours in one of the many references I perused.

This bread is based (tightly) on Hamelman's 80% Rye with a Rye-Flour Soaker, in Bread.

I made some changes, but not many. I scaled the formula to produce 2kg of dough; enough for a 13" Pullman pan. I also substituted 115g (4.0 oz) of cracked rye berries for the 6.4 oz. of Whole-Rye flour in the soaker. (I had the rye berries on hand, and wanted to use them.) And lastly, I added 2 tsp. of Caraway seeds, 2 Tbls. of barley malt, and two Tbls. of ordinary Mollasses.

All other ingredients and ratios were as published. I built the Rye Sour in the prescribed manner, bulk fermented and proofed the dough at the recommended temperatures, and baked at the oven temperatures directed. Trusting the strength of my Rye Sour's yeast I did not use any optional commercial yeast. The finished paste filled only slightly more than half of the pan's height, but proofing expansion and oven spring pushed the loaf above the top of the pan.

I rested the loaf for 36hrs before tasting it. (I just couldn't wait any longer!).

The flavors are intense. The rye is immediately present on the palette, the Caraway shows itself moments later: not in-your-face, but not timid either. There is a lingering after taste I think is a melding of the barley malt syrup and the molasses; it has a bit of sharpness.

When I first cut into the loaf the center of the crumb felt slightly sticky. I feared the crumb would be gummy. Much to my delight the crumb's mouthfeel is moist but not  gummy. It is chewy, but doesn't have the springiness I find in wheat doughs, i.e., baguettes and sourdough, nor in the higher wheat percentage deli rye. An ocassional rye berry fragment offers a momentary crunch.

The crust is hard, and thicker than I would prefer. You can see the top of the loaf is partially charred (There is no burnt taste). I think this is due to the relatively high initial baking temperature, 480°F and the excess sugars from the malt syrup and the mollasses.

I've cut the loaf into four equal pieces, and froze three of them. I'm thinking this bread will stand up to my favorites for open-faced sandwiches: sardines and onion with Dijon mustard, home cured and smoked salmon, and pastrami with spicy mustard. I'm open to any other suggestions.

I'm ordering some rye malt, and blackstrap mollasses online. My next attempt will be an "authentic" Borodinsky but not soon. I've made a deal with my wife; I won't bake this style more than three times each year--she's not embracing its intense flavor.

David G

Added Monday, January 6

Monday's lunch

Sardines (water packed), onion, celery, salt, pepper (50/50 mix Tellicherry and Szechuan), mayo, and Dijon mustard on bite size, thin sliced toasted Rye with a pinch of paprika for color. De-light-full!



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

BEAUTIFUL CRUMB!   A great rise!

The top not at all near to burnt.  Beautifully browned shoulders with a nice shape, It should also toast up nicely.  Don't forget to toast -- save a few slices for the next loaf.  ...Altus!  See what it does.  Taste the magic.

Lets's see, eating...  one of my favourites is spreading potato salad (heavy with onions and sour cream & yoghurt ) as a topping.  Any kind of cold cut (beef & horseradish) is also good.  Don't forget just a little sour touch with pickle or olives thinly sliced.  

Too bad about the coriander, and a little fennel in there round out the three so not one of them takes over.  Two tablespoons of caraway will dominate in my opinion turning it into a caraway rye.  Roast the seed mixture lightly before  using.   Just come back from a road trip and ran into a lot of caraway breads with low % ryes.  Just thawed out some of my frozen rye pan roasting with seeds, onions and garlic to make a topping for creme of squash soup.  Rye goes well with cream soups.  Lately I've found that any soup flavoured with ginger pairs nicely to rye.

Mom is getting interested in baking rye so I left her a rye starter and most of a 5# bag of Rogers Rye, and a small bag of Bob's Red mill Spelt.  I looked all over the house during the holidays for a narrow long bread tin and finally found it being used as a cooking spoon drawer divider next to the stove.   :)

davidg618's picture

Thank you for the tips and the thumbs up. I've dug out a pan much like the one you described. It requires half as much dough as the Pullman pan. You and Janet (below) have convinced me to try the triple spice mix.

What measure do you recommend for the three spices for 1kg of dough?

If I reduce the initial baking temperature--Hamelman prescribed 480°F for 15 min. with steam, and finish at 410°F--can I expect a less dense crust, while not losing much (if any) oven spring?

By the way, I only used 2 tsp. of Caraway seeds in the 2kg of dough, not 2 Tbls. As you said, a little goes a long way.


David G

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

My Bad.  A bread spice mixture can be used anywhere from one rounded tablespoon to up to three tablespoons per kilo depending on your taste buds.  I think about 2 to 3% of flour weight.  That is, seeds combined and for a high % rye recipe.  The more wheat in the recipe, the less spice is used.  A wheat with 10% rye may only need a teaspoon.  Eric (ehanner) was experimenting in lightly roasting the seed mixture and improved on the flavouring,  Be careful not to over roast or burn for that may have the opposite effect.  More in archives under: bread spice.

Start out making a small amount of mix, one Heaping Tbs of each caraway, coriander and fennel (or anise or half of each as both are very similar in flavour)  grind or mortar together to crack or crush the hulls and release aromatic oils.  Use in a rye recipe.  Often coriander seed is milder and hollow so raised when using volume amounts.  Finely ground mixture will also be more concentrated per spoonful than just the slightly crushed seeds.  Experiment and have fun!   

davidg618's picture

Thanks, Mini

I've received lots of valuable guidance from other TFL'ers--at least three related to spice additives. Nonetheless, I waited, hopefully, for your input before embarking on my next high%age Rye bake. Meanwhile, I've been giving away quarter-sections of the posted loaf to fellow Rye lovers in order to justify a soon-to-be second go.

I'm gathering (online purchases) Red Rye malted grain and Blackstrap molasses, to bake a faux Borodinsky. I've been advised by Andy (ananda) that coriander, cumin and fennel are the "approved" (by former members of the Soviet Union) spices. However, I want to add caraway: thus "faux".

Andy also corrected me that authentic recipes dictate 15% wheat flour, 80% Rye flour, and 5% Red Rye malted grain.

Andy also provided info that authentic Bordinsky recipes include sugar, but hastened to add "too sweet for me". Me too.

So, I'm doomed to only bake a faux Borodinsky, but that's my plan.

Thank you for your input, and encouragement.

David G








Janetcook's picture

As Mini commented above this is a beautiful loaf!  Sorry to hear your wife isn't enthusiastic about rye flavor….but all is not lost….I have fallen in love with baking these kinds of breads after baking Andy's Borodinsky and nobody in this house eats them so I simply give them to rye lovers who are more than happy to receive a loaf.  I am amazed by how many people do love these kinds of breads.

I second Mini's suggestions about the spice too.  Something about the mix just makes these loaves intoxicating when baking.  A whole new dimension opens up that people here (USA) are not used to.  Most around here think of ryes with caraway, and in my opinion, too much caraway….For a deli rye that is fine but for these loaves - something else entirely livens them up.

Thanks for sharing.


P.S.  Love how you photographed your loaf too.  Reminds me of a bread add out of the 50's or 60's.

davidg618's picture

You and Mini have convinced me. I will use all three spices next go. I also recalled I have a 12" long pan I bought some time ago for an inexpensive pate/terrine mold. I dug it out and found it requires only half the amount of dough I made for this loaf (2 kilo). You're suggestion re gifting my rye-loving friends and neighbors reminded me I have at least one neighbor who drools over other rye breads I've given her.

What measure of each of the three spices would you recommend for 1 kg of dough? (I'm going to ask Mini also.)

Thanks for the praise.

David G

P.S. Here's another photo of the loaf showing more of the tea towel. It was given to me by an English friend, and is the only tea towel we own that is big enough to wrap about a Pullman loaf. It may be a modern reproduction or antique, but either way it's obviously 1940's retro.

Janetcook's picture

HERE is a 'recipe' I found for a mix BUT I read it only as a suggested amount of each….We all have different preferences so mix to you palate :)  I know Karin (hanseata) simply uses equal amounts of each spice and in small amounts so as not to overwhelm the loaf you bake.

I am sure Mini will have a great suggestion too.  In fact , I think she has a formula here somewhere on the amounts she uses but I can't find it….

I bake for a neighbor who is a widower and can't get through a whole loaf very quickly but he loves the bread I bake so I simply put a piece of parchment paper in the pan to halve the pan. I shape 2 mini loaves and place in the large pan, dough facing short sides of pan instead on length of pan.  I get 2 mini loaves.  He has a fresh one and freezes the other half for later use. Works like a charm.

Fun towel.  How the times have changed :)

I look forward to reading about your next bake with spice. 


breadsong's picture

Hello David,
Your rye bread looks absolutely perfect to me.
I hope you enjoy working with your rye malt, and baking more of these high-% rye loaves.
:^) breadsong

davidg618's picture

I am enjoying working with Rye; it's a bit more demanding than wheat flours, but I'm learning.

David G

Mebake's picture

What an attractive looking Rye, David!

I like how accurately you describe flavors. As to the spreads, well lets just say that those you mentioned are enough. I would snack on slices of these with your spreads all the time.

Best wishes on your upcoming Borodinsky. My wife didn't appreciate the punch of coriander in bread. Try to go easy with garnish, or for your wife's sake, eliminate the coriander garnish altogether. 


davidg618's picture

Thank you for the suggestion. I may ultimately choose to do that, but first I have to find out what I'm missing not using coriander--fennel too. Meanwhile, as long as I keep the freezer stocked with baguettes, and buttermilk biscuits my wife is a happy woman.

Warm regards,

David G

ananda's picture

and Happy New Year David!

I added a bit of detail to Khalid's last thread here:

There are a couple of useful links directing you to the authentic recipe, as well as points where mine diverge.   You can cut the coriander to 0.5%...and apparently cumin and anise are legitimate alternatives.   I would go with your own combination of the 3 and not use any as a topping.   Regarding flour, 15% of wheat flour is used, with 5% Red Rye Malt and the other 80% as rye flour [wholemeal I believe, but the Russian grades differ from English/US, and I don't read Russian].   BlackStrap molasses are not specified in the GOST formula, although photographs of finished loaves which I have seen suggest a dark grade of molasses is used.   Don't forget, also that the true formula uses molasses at 4% but also uses ordinary granulated sugar as well, added at 6% - too sweet for my taste.

I have made the Hamelman formula; it was lovely.   I do think he specifies flour in the scald for a particular reason, as I think the starch gelatinisation achieved is quite significant.   Soaking cracked grain will give the loaf a lovely texture, but the gelatinising effect will be largely lost.

Softening the crust can easily be achieved by baking with the lid on the Pullman Pan.   To do this you can safely reduce the scaling weight used, especially if you are using high gluten flour which I believe Hamelman specifies.   1.8kg would be a maximum weight to try, you may get away with 1.6Kg?   But using the lid is the way to go.   For what it's worth, and accepting I am only able to view a photograph, your loaf looks beautifully baked to me; I cannot see any charring at all.

Rye is definitely and acquired taste, and I am sorry your other family members don't seem to appreciate it.

Take good care


davidg618's picture

I thought I'd chosen reply, but obviously didn't


108 breads's picture
108 breads

The crumb is so beautiful and the taste you described is now tempting me to consider doing a series of rye breads. Enjoy eating that lovely bread.

davidg618's picture

Thanks much for your comments and guidance. I was hoping you would comment, and you didn't fail. Next rye bake with the Pullman pan I'll use the top. Hamelman (again) specifies 4.5 lb for a 13" Pullman, but I've experience compressed crumb just beneath the crust on all sides in Pain de Mie using his 2.25 lb/loaf scaling. This loaf's dough was 2kg (4.4lb). For all his high-% Ryes baked in Pullman pans he suggests the top isn't needed so I went without it. As it turned out I think it was the right choice for best crumb, but not for best possible crust for our tastes. I'll try 1.8kg next time I use the Pullman pan, with the top.

I really like the cracked wheat texture, however if I bake this again I'll make the gelatinized flour soaker, and add cracked rye too.

I'm not familiar with Red Rye Malt. Is it a liquid extract? A powder? Malted Rye grain? Being both a home brewer, and now a home baker the term "Malt" has become sometimes confusing without descriptive adjectives. And can I buy it online?

Sweetness: I'm with you, I was even concerned that adding both liquid malt and molasses might contribute more sweetness than I wanted. I seldom bake sweet breads, so I don't have a feel for how much is too much. The total was only 85g (< 1%). They certainly contributed flavor, but the loaf's sweetness is very muted.

Sorry, Andy but I don't recognize the GOST acronym.

The charring is more noticeable to the eye, but in retrospect its no darker than the crust on the 10% Rye sourdough loaves I just baked. As usual I was probably too harsh looking for imperfections.

Oops! Just scanned the link you sent Kahlid. I got the answer to my Red Rye question. I can readily buy Crystal Rye Malt grain from one of the homebrew shops I routinely deal with. I don't have a grain mill, but I can probably mimic grinding a small amount in my food processor. Should I sift out the bran? I've ground grain this way before, and the bran/hull seems to stay in larger pieces while the germ and endosperm is flour-like.

I also noticed GOST appears in one of the links needing translation, which I'll do later.

I'll likely have more questions after I absorb the rest of the links.

Thanks, again. And Happy New Year to you too.

David G


ananda's picture

Hi David,

I buy Crystal Rye Malt online from a homebrew shop here in the UK.   It comes in crushed form, and I grind it to powder in the goblet of my blender.

The links provided will provide more information on the proscribed formula than I can in a short answer in this thread.

Sure, any more questions, just ask.

Best wishes


dabrownman's picture

to 4 for this fine looking bread David.  hanseata ans Mini got me using the caraway, anise, coriander and fennel spice mix it rye breads and I have to say it i better than just caraway and or coriander alone or together for my taste buds.

Your Borodinski looks perfect to me.  I don't know why the crust didn't soften as it sat wrapped in the large tea towel?  Like Andy. i too cover mine while baking for the first 30 minutes or so. 

You have baked a fine example of one of the great breads of the world.  Great spring and rise too.

Well Done David!

ananda's picture

Hi DA,

I keep the pans lidded throughout the entire baking process.

Happy New Year to you