The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Russian Rye

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Russian Rye

Rusian rye bread 2 boules

Rusian rye bread 2 boules

Russian Rye Boule

Russian Rye Boule

Russian Rye Crumb

Russian Rye Crumb

Sauve posted the formula for this bread in Kosher-Baker's blog topic, "Diary of a Starter." As a confirmed rye bread lover, I was curious about how it would compare with the Jewish, Czech and Polish ryes I had already baked. I'm glad I tried it.

Formula: 

Firm starter (73% hydration):

43 g. rye starter
195 g. whole rye flour - must be finely groud
142 g. water

Mix, cover and leave for 6-7 hours at 85-90 F.  The original recipe calls for 1/3 of the mother starter and fermenting for 3-4 hours, but I find that using more traditional proportions and doubling the fermentation time works equally well.

Dough (69% hydration):
97 g. whole rye flour
290 g. high extraction flour
333 g. starter
261 g. water
9 g. salt
17 g. sugar
1 g. instant yeast

Mix all ingredients and knead until you have well developed gluten.  In KA it takes me about 12 minutes at second speed.  Ferment 80 min at 85-90 F.  Flatten the dough and shape a tight boule.  Proof in basket, seam up, 50 minutes at room temperature.  There's no need to slash.  Spray with water before baking and 1 minute before taking out of the oven. Bake with steam 50 minutes at 440-450.  Let the bread cool thorougly, 2 hours at least.  The loaf should have shiny surface without tears and tight uniform crumb.  Using medium rye flour instead of whole rye and/or bread flour instead of high extraction flour also works well.

 

I used my white rye starter and fed it with Guisto's Organic (whole) rye flour. I used this rye flour and KA First Clear flour in the dough. I mixed in a KitchenAid Accolade. Rather than making one large boule, I divided the dough in half and made 2 boules of 525 gms each. They proofed in wicker brotformen. I baked them on a stone with steam from hot water into a hot cast iron skillet. The boules were baked for 25 minutes at 450F. I turned the oven down to 440F, because the boules were getting pretty dark pretty fast, and continued to bake for a total of 40 minutes.

The crust remained very firm, even after the loaves were fully cooled. The crumb is like that Suave showed - rather dense but not dry or "heavy" in the mouth. The taste is decidedly sour (surprisingly so). If I were doing a blind taste of this bread, I would not identify it as a rye. It tastes more like a whole wheat sourdough bread to me. There is a noticeable sweet taste, too. I assume this is from the sugar. I don't think I have ever baked a sourdough bread with added sugar before, although I have used malt and honey in sourdoughs, when the recipe called for them. I expect the bread to mellow overnight and taste significantly different tomorrow.

My thanks to Suave for sharing this recipe. If he (or others) would like to tell us more about the background of this bread, I'm sure it would be appreciated.

 David

Comments

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Hi David,

I don't know anything at all about dark rye breads, I've never made them and only eaten then years ago.  It looks nice!

Maybe this question was answered somewhere back, but is the yeast put in the dough to do a "Reinhart" effect (in his whole grains book)? Wouldn't the dough rise enough without it? 

And, I have noticed that over there bakers tend to make small loaves. Why is that? To get more crust? (This coming from a real fan of 900g - 1kg loaves, my favorite weight!) 

Jane 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Jane.  

I would say that the added yeast is not, strictly speaking, "necessary." I think a lot of recipes use added yeast to over-ride the effect of variable ambiant temperature and make the rising times more predictible. Is that what you mean by "the Reinhart effect?" 

I cannot speak for anyone else "over here" regarding preferred loaf size. I love 1-2 kg loaves. However, I don't have 7 people in my household to eat my bread, not to mention horses! So, I end up freezing a lot of bread in portions to last the two of us 1-2 days, and having fewer and smaller cut surfaces reduces drying out and freezer burn. It's strictly a practical matter. Not that "having more crust" is a bad thing! 

I suppose your day is just starting, but it's after my bed time here, so au revoir.

David

suave's picture
suave

Jane,

As far as I understand the yeast is added for two reasons, first, to speed up the process - the original recipe is meant for a very large commercial bakery, so equipment turnarond times matter, second, it probably makes for a less sour bread.

 Mike

Eli's picture
Eli

Those are beautiful David!! How is that crust? Does it have that sweet finish?

They look delicious!

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I haven't tried the bread again today yet. When fresh, the crust was crisp. The crumb did have a definite sweet taste. 

My wife had a slice with her breakfast. She remarked, unbiased by my comment from last night, that it had a "whole wheat" taste more than a "rye" taste. I wonder if this was the flavor of the First Clear flour over-shadowing that of the rye. 

She didn't like it as much as the other slice of bread she ate, but it's hard to compete with the flavor of Nury's Light Rye. 

David

FoodFascist's picture
FoodFascist

Hi David,

many thanks for the recipe.

I'm only a novice in bread-making and I've only just got the hang of a couple bread recipes so it's not for me to teach you, but being Russian there are a few basic facts I know about Russian rye breads.

Firstly, most Russian rye bread recipes have a very high ratio of rye to wheat flour, rarely less than 50/50, more often up to 85% rye. This must be (one of ?) the reason why your bread tastes rather like whole wheat.

"Classic" Russian rye bread recipes, where sweet, don't use any sugar. The sweet flavour is achieved by adding scald. The scald is made by pouring very hot, but not quite boiling water over the mix of some of the rye flour (about 15% of the total amount), molasses and a particular type of malt called "red malt" or "fermented red malt". This is finely ground malted rye grain which had been somewhat spoiled during the malting process, i.e. allowed to start fermenting and then dried BEFORE it's actually begun to rot. It's the malt and the mollasses that give the bread its characteristic sweetness and distinctive aroma, and they also contribute to the dark colour of it. The main point of using the scald, however, is to slow down the staling and preserve the sour-sweet taste of the bread. Needless to say the scald needs to cool down before it's added to the dough. You only need a small amount of malt in the scald, and I think it could possibly be substituted (perhaps with ordinary rye malt?). It's recently appeared in a handful of retail outlets in Moscow but to my knowledge, it's not commercially available outside Russia.

Soviet State Standard (GOST) for rye bread also features a small amount of potato starch, this would also turn sweet in the process of fermentation. So far as I can work out, the (cheap) starch was used to cut down on other more expensive (or rarer?) ingredients but is totally unnesessary for the amateur baker.

Many Russian rye bread recipes also feature generous amounts of spice such as caraway , coriander seed, or aniseed. This is usually used as a topping on the crust. A little crushed or ground coriander seed in the dough, and a spoonful of whole seed on the top is a must for Borodinsky bread! I'd say either coriander or caraway would compliment any bread recipe with a rye content of more than 30%. I haven't tried aniseed so can't comment. Quantities vary, but use a tablespoon per medium size (400-600g) loaf as a guide.

As to the quantity of sourdough starter. You do need a generous amount of it in rye bread, not to speed up the rising, but because the lactobacilli in the starter are needed for the proper fermentation of rye. You do need lactobacilli in wheat doughs as well of course, but rye doughs need particularly high amounts of these. Can't remember why exactly. Sourdough starter with a lot of lactic acid in it is what gives Russian rye breads their distinctive sour-ish taste. So I'd suggest you use the amount of starter in the original version of your recipe and perhaps mature your dough at lower temperatures in order to give the rye the time it needs to ferment properly.

I'm hoping to be able to come forward with some other "authentic" Russian rye bread recipes in the near future but so far I'm only trying to work out how to make Borodinsky and Rizhsky! I'm planning to rummage through my granny's shelf of old cookery books next time i go to Russia. Hopefully I'll have something to bring back!

Oh, and I've just read somewhere on a Russian website that rye bread does NOT need water in the oven. Being unable to ascertain the validity of the source tho, I wouldn't swear by this particular piece of advice.

Hope this helps :)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Thanks for your comments. I have not made a Russian Rye since this one, but other TFL members have, notably Andy (ananda). You might search his blog for examples and the formulas he has used.

David

FoodFascist's picture
FoodFascist

Thanks David,

Andy's Borodinsky formula looks very good to me! I just made a rye loaf using some tips from Andy's 3-stage formula and it came out really well. There's room for improvement but for the first time I actually have tasty rye bread! I used to dread working with rye as it's quite heavy, but using sourdough instead of active yeast on it works wonders!

suave's picture
suave

David,

The loaves look awesome. It probably doesn't matter for us because here we're so used to crusty breads (and love the so much) but authentic bread in Russia would have had rather soft and pliable crust. I haven't gotten there 100% yet, but longer bake at lower temperatures definitely helps. I also remove my steam pan from the oven 10-15 minute into the bake - I think it also helps.

As far taste goes, I can't comment on sourness, I guess to a degree it depends on the starter, since you start from rye, and I - from AP white which I convert to rye, and my AP starter is very mild to taste. And then again my definition of sour is likely to differ from yours. I haven't ever used first clear, but I'm sure it can overpower the taste of rye. I, myself, routinely dilute my WW flour with white WW, as I like milder taste.

Mike

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

As I said above, I haven't tried the bread again today. The crust may have softened a lot.  

I just copied your recipe, as you can see, but I did remove the skillet 10 minutes into the bake. 

I'll post a message about the crust and the taste later, after I've tried it again. I'm thinking it would be really good with cream cheese and smoked salmon. 

Where did you get this recipe, BTW? Do you have more recipes for Russian breads?

David

suave's picture
suave

David,

 I do have more recipes, they come from a very old russian professional baking manual I have, but I go through it rather slowly, since it's just two of us and a two-pound loaf easily lasts a week.  There're may be two dozen recipes, but not all of them are of great interest to me, since I do not like to go over 50% rye and some of them, like the famous "borodinski", I simply do not like.  And then there are some truly complicated ones, like a four-stage rye - starter, mash, mash-starter levain, final dough.  But here's a simple bread I tried a few weeks ago:

422 g high-extraction flour
308 g. medium rye starter, 70% hydration, fermented 6 hours at 90 F
306 g. water
12 g. salt
12 g. molasses

The procedure is virtually the same.  The original recipe had yeast as an optional ingredient and I chose to forgo it and lengthen fermentation times.  So, knead until gluten develops, ferment 90 minutes at 90 F, shape a tight boule, proof 1 hour at room temperature, turn over on parchment paper, spray with water, bake 50 minutes at 400 F, steam for the first 15 minutes.  Spray again right before removing from the oven.  This, of course, is a much lighter bread, especially if you do use medium rye flour.  I don't and use whole rye.  I'd probably also go easy on first clear flour, especially if you say that 50% rye turned out like whole wheat.  My own substitute for high extraction flour is 50% bread flour, 25% whole wheat flour and 25% white whole wheat flour. You'll also notice that baking temperature is much lower, but this is mostly me trying to adjust the conditions to get the crust I like.

Mike

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hi Mike,

Do you know if that manual is available anywhere?

Thanks,

:-Paul

FoodFascist's picture
FoodFascist

Mike, I know you posted this like 3 years ago but if you're still here could you PLEASE PLEASE post this Borodinsky recipe? I've turned every (virtual) stone in the Russian internet in search of a proper old style recipe but all I could find was lots of gimmicks for bread machines with vinegar instead of sourdough starter and chocolate and coffee instead of mollasses. Please could you give me that recipe PLEASE!!!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I just had a slice - well, two slices, but they were small - of the Russian Rye I baked yesterday. 

The crust is now chewy, not crisp. It is still not what I would call "soft." The sourness is notably decreased. The taste is mellowed out, but still is more a whole wheat than a rye flavor. I like it better today than when I tasted it right after it had cooled from baking. 

David

FoodFascist's picture
FoodFascist

Hi David,

some Russian rye bread have a drier, thicker, crusty crust and some a thinner, soft chewy crust. Off top my head, I'd say the darker, sweeter varieties with a higher rye content tend to be chewy, and the lighter, non-sweet varieties with less rye in them tend to be crustier. There's no hard and fast rule tho. For example Darnitsky is a sour, non-sweet bread with approx 50/50 ratio of rye to wheat but it has a chewy crust.

I haven't had the priviledge of trying out your recipe yet (just made 2 loaves using a different one!) but I'd probably prefer it with a dry crust. Only a matter of preference tho :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

a (w)ryely heart.  Beautiful Loaves!  (Are you ready for spices yet?)   I've been thinking about your cream cheese but with just a touch of horseradish in it.  Just looking at your pics inspires me to bake.  Thank you.

Mini O

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Mini. 

I'm happy you found the photos inspiring. Now, tell me about "spices." I don't know if I'm ready for them, or not. To date, the only non-grain additions to bread doughs I've used have been nuts and seeds, except for cinnamon-raisin bread, which I haven't made in way too long. 

I'll mention your horseradish creamcheese augmentation to my wife. She likes horseradish added to an amazing variety of stuff. And I have a fresh jar of  horseradish and a fresh pound of cream cheese in the fridge at the moment.

David

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

sometimes maybe even roasted.  

Mini O

Janedo's picture
Janedo

So, I baked my two loaves without the convection. I lost a lot of oven spring, the bottoms of the bread didn't even bake when usually they are browned  and crisp like they'd been on a stone. They needed way longer even though I baked them at 230°C instead of 210°C. The taste is fine, but the bread is more humid than usual even though the internal temp was right.

I'll be sticking to the convection feature from now on!!! And I understand now the complaints and disappointment of bakers with crummy ovens.

Jane 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Jane.

That is really interesting!

I have never used the convection feature for the whole bake, just the last half. I wonder if your experience is generalizable or ideosyncratic.

Hmmmm ... My next bakes are going to be Nury's Light Rye and Greenstein's Sour Rye. I may do Pat's baguettes Sunday. I'd really want to try convection on a levain boule or a batard.


David

Janedo's picture
Janedo

I am convinced that the oven will make or break a baker's motivation to bake. Definitely try and tell me what happens.

Jane 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder


David