An old friend seeks loaves of "Leningrad Rye" such as she had in Leningrad circa 1955. The loaves were cob shaped, dense, firm, very dark, and damp inside. And, fragrant! Oh, and loaves would start being sold about 4 hours after the truck load of flour arrived at the bakery. (People would be in line for bread, and see the trucks arrive!)
My guess from economic history suggests 80% rye flour, 4% flax seed (meal?) 4% sunflower seed (meal?), and coarse whole wheat flour. From her accounts of fragrance, I assume some caraway, and salt? Things like coffee and cocoa were simply not available. Some brewers products such as dark (rye?) malt, hops, and yeast were available. On the other hand, the Leningrad bakers had long traditions of being able to produce good bread even in the face of harsh adversity.
Somehow her descriptions suggest sourdough, but is there any way to produce sourdough breads that fast? How would you approach authentic 1955 Leningrad Rye Bread? This is not urgent as we do make very good, dark rye breads, both yeast and sourdough. Rather this a quest for the taste and smell of her childhood food.
Or, were the Leningrad loaves of 1955 simply so much better than the Leningrad loaves of 1945? (made with cottonseed meal, and worse), and not nearly as good as the famous sourdough Leningrad loaves of 1845? Or, perhaps standing in line for hours in the cold Leningrad winter made the bread seem better? Am I on a fool's quest?