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"Swedish" rye bread, 1912 recipe

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

"Swedish" rye bread, 1912 recipe

A while ago I found this very unusual and interesting recipe on Rus Brot's channel on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsDHSrhTgWs

"Swedish" bread based on a 1912 Russian recipe (so not actually Swedish). It uses 100% light/white rye flour, flavoured with bitter orange peel, aniseed and coriander seeds. The procedure is very unusual: 2/3 of the flour is "scalded" with a small amount of boiling water (too little water to even make it into a cohesive mass), then when it's cooled down a tiny amount of rye starter is added (just from the fridge is fine), together with the flavourings (bitter orange peel is dried, and then boiled before using), and a small amount of water as needed to make it into a stiff dough. Here, and later when mixing the final dough, the stickiness level is 11 out of 10, until everything is combined into a nice cohesive dough. And it's too stiff to use a dough whisk, possible only by hand. Then it's left to ferment for 16 hrs at 28°C. In the morning it smelled like panettone!

Then next day the remaining flour is added (during fermentation the dough becomes much looser, and still takes up lots of flour), together with salt, malt extract (or honey), and a tiny bit of CY (approx. 0.1% of total flour). After incorporating everything, the dough is left to ferment 2 hrs at 30°C (I did 2.5 hrs, since it took a while to come up to that temperature for me). Then it's shaped and proofed at at least 30°C (I proofed a little longer than in the video, around 1hr 40 min). It increased in size a lot during the proof!

Another unusual part is before baking it's brushed with a beaten egg - not the more common water or liquid dough. And then baked around 1 hr at relatively low temperature: 220°C in the beginning, going down to 200°C.

As you can see, it looks like I screwed up the last fold I did during shaping, and it created a dense line in the bread - and also caused, or amplified the cracks I got along the bread on the bottom. Typically, the reason for this is starting the bake when the stone (or steel, in my case) is not hot enough. And apparently, using baking paper (like I did) can also cause this, since it slows down heat transfer. So next time I would preheat the oven at higher temperature, and then drop it to 220°C when loading the bread, so the steel is super hot.


However I am pleased that I didn't have any cracks on top of the loaf! Those can be caused by more different reasons, and getting rid of the bottom ones next time should be more straightforward.

The flavour is really nice: indeed, sweet and sour, with slight bitterness from the crust and a very nice citrus-y note. The spices are not very prominent, but I am sure they contribute a lot of depth to the overall flavour. The crust is hard and thick, but the crumb is soft. Really tasty bread with an unusual flavour.

Comments

Benito's picture
Benito

Very unusual bread Ilya, good find.  The crumb does in particular looks really nice and soft.  The flavours are very interesting and I can imagine it smelling like a panettone.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thanks Benny! Having had a couple more slices now I think I am addicted, want to have another slices, and then another. The dense area also seemed to only be in the end of the loaf, going deeper in the crumb is very uniform.

The final bread doesn't smell like pannetone anymore, maybe the bitter orange got a bit diluted. It is quite malty from the malt extract too - I added the higher amount from the suggested range.

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

With the soft crumb. The contrast is nice and I bet there's lots of flavour from the bold bake. If you can get the seam on the bottom and dock the top then that might help. Also try spraying the loaf periodically while baking. Is this another version of the Swedish Rye over on breadtopia? 

Very nice bake. 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thanks Abe! It is indeed very flavourful

Interestingly, Rus explicitly says not to add any extra water to the loaf before, or during baking. I think I just need to practice shaping hearth rye bread like this, and make sure to start with a hot steel. Although the bottom crust is quite dark and hard already, wouldn't want it to burn.

I think there is a tradition in Swedish baking to use citrus fruit in rye bread (e.g. see limpa bread), so that inspired different adaptations. Breadtopia recipe uses 50/50 whole rye and wheat flour, while this is 100% light rye. Both recipes generate very strong and well caramelized crusts, though.

suave's picture
suave

In my experience a baker hardly ever mixes a dough that is too dry to handle.  Meaning - if it comes out that way (and there is a multitude of reason why that may happen) - add water to what is reasonable.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I don't think it was too dry to handle - if you mean the comment about not adding extra water, that was meant about sprinkling water on top of a shaped loaf during baking.

Dough consistency looked the same as in the video (even surprisingly so, since I used a British Light Rye flour with unknown ash content and water absorbance, so I was ready to adapt the amount of extra flour when mixing the final dough - but the exact weight from the recipe was spot on).

Perhaps I misunderstood what you meant?

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

Could benefit from steaming. It can form a crust like a what loaf too early and cause splitting. What's the reason for absolutely no steaming? 

Edit: just started the video. It's brushed with egg! In which case should be handled differently. 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Yeah, that's interesting - according to Rus, with rye it's the opposite - you actually want a quickly set strong crust, that wouldn't split. So in general he recommends baking the first 10 min at 260°C to form this strong crust shell. And apparently steaming only makes it worse. From his page here: https://brotgost.blogspot.com/2016/02/bezpodrivov.html

Indeed, this particular bread is brushed with egg! Which is very unusual. And I think that might be related to the relatively low baking temperature, so the egg doesn't burn.

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

Rye does rise somewhat and will be subject to splitting on the sides. Should the top form the crust quickly then logic says the only way for the steam to escape is through the sides. If perfectly proofed this will be minimised but I have seen elsewhere that covering or steaming does help. He's also a champion of CLAS which is ok and a good 'cheats' way for sourdough but he takes it a step further and now claims it's the best and only way looking down at all others. So while his breads are good and he bakes some very nice loaves as with everything one does what must be done to get the best out of a loaf rather than swearing by one thing only. Plus there are a few times his replies to people have put me off his site. 

I'm loving the look and flavours of this loaf. So it has a bit of split it's not that bad. Proofing longer will help and getting the seam on the bottom so it seals naturally and won't split. I believe you're better than Rus, Ilya. 

Try this again with a 20 minutes longer proof. 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

If you watch his timelapses of oven spring - his breads rise quite a lot. Even just see the end of this video. And yet they don't split. So it's not about minimizing the oven spring. But from what he says, splitting along the bottom is really a specific problem related to not having a sufficiently hot baking surface (or I am sure poor shaping can cause it too, of course).

He is a bit opinionated about things, that's true. From what I understand though, he simply thinks CLAS is the most convenient method for a home baker, not having to worry about the leavening power of the starter: using CLAS for flavour and acidity, and CY for the rise. And I think flavour-wise he actually praises the thermophilic starters the most!

 

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

Wants the crust to form as quickly as possible but yet it doesn't minimise oven spring. A crust forming as quickly as possible will minimise oven spring. How will it reach its maximum height if the crust is formed? 

If it rises but doesn't split it means it's proofed longer so it reaches the maximum height for the proof without it tearing the dough. So proof for longer! 

His use of thermophilic etc is a term for cheese making! 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

If the bread becomes more round in cross-section, its volume will increase, even if the surface area stays the same. That's how they make pipes that don't split when water inside freezes: elongated cross-section that turns round if ice pushes it from inside. If you watch his video, you can see the bread is really growing upwards, and even lifts from the stone. So I think it makes sense. Considering lack of strength and extensibility in rye dough, it kind of makes sense to me, that to prevent the surface from breaking you need to make it strong. What do you think?

Thermophilic starters are related to the yogurt and cheese making indeed (most common specied is the same) but he didn't invent this name, or procedure - it's a technique used a lot particularly in the Baltic states, and Belarus. I find a lot of references to it in Russian, but unfortunately sources or mentions in English are very limited. I found a nice article from another source, here is the google translate of it: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=auto&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fregistrr.livejournal.com%2F94799.html

suave's picture
suave

I mean you should not be getting folding marks like those..

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Oh, well, I don't think it's the problem with the dough itself, just my lack of experience with shaping hearth rye bread, so probably I used a little more flour than needed. Shaping this sort of dough with almost no strength is quit tricky, and very different from wheat-based strong doughs.

harum's picture
harum

Wondering what else might have caused this strip of denser dough.  Bottom of the dough first got exposed to a colder surface, then folded on itself and inside the boule too "insulated" to warm up for proofing?  

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Nah, it was all folded many times during shaping, it would have all mixed quite well I think. I'm pretty sure it was excess flour, typical symptom for that problem.

harum's picture
harum

Rusbrot always gets his dough temps surprisingly close to DDT, down to fractions of a degree, be it 25 or 32°C, which always looks like a trick.  Anyway, great looking loaf!   While all my bakes based on his recipes have resulted in edible loaves so far, I still have not a slightest idea if they are any close to authentic breads.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

That is true, I don't get how he does it! Here, for example: dough fermented overnight at 28C. Then a whole lot of flour and other things added and mixed. He shows the temperature - 27C! Maybe he prewarmed the flour, that's the only explanation I think.

As long as they are tasty, it's great!

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

And thanks! The bread is delicious and very unusual.

headupinclouds's picture
headupinclouds

I have little experience with rye (mostly the recent CB), but I was surprised to read this was 100% rye.  Looks very nice.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thank you! Using light rye makes the bread lighter than whole rye, but with a less distinctive rye flavour. But regardless of that even, a well executed rye loaf can be quite light and not dense. That's why I try to follow established recipes for high % rye bread from trusted sources :)

Yippee's picture
Yippee

I like Rus's sweet rye breads. Now I have tons of candied orange peel (from the ingredients of the panettone that I am about to make), I can try this recipe. But I need to figure out how to use my new toy to mill white rye--can't find it anywhere, and I do want to learn how to mill and sift. I also need white rye to make Rus's German Monheim rye (CLAS version) that I showed you before.

Yippee

P.S. Did Rus use a regular rye starter or CLAS? If it's regular, I'm going to ask him how to substitute it with CLAS.

 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Thanks Yippee!

This recipe doesn't use candied peel though - just dried and boiled (bitter) orange peel. So the bread isn't really sweet, just has a sweet note, from the malt extract.

In the past I didn't understand the point of white rye - I thought if you wanted rye flavour, might as well use whole rye. But that was clearly naive, this sort of bread wouldn't work with super strong whole rye flavor.

The original recipe uses a traditional starter, and that's what he used - but in the description there is a version with CLAS.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Even though sometimes I don't understand the reasoning of using certain ingredients or applying some specific procedures. Because I know if I follow his directions, I will always get delicious bread. I've never doubted his judgment in bread

Yippee

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Hope you bake this bread and share the results! It's very unusual and interesting, and most of all delicious - but does require white rye (he strongly suggests to not even try it with any other kind of flour).

And I know what you mean, so far following his recipes helped me get the best rye bread I've ever made (or perhaps even best I've tried, actually). His Borodinsky will be my next rye project (just need to choose which version!).

_JC_'s picture
_JC_

Very interesting bread.. so much flavour into it!! I wonder if I can use whole rye.. 

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Indeed, very interesting and delicious bread, thank you!

Unfortunately, Rus explicitly says not to try it with higher extraction rye flours, they will have much higher water absorption (and I suspect they will ferment too fast overnight as well). If you want a similar flavour profile, Breadtopia has a 50% whole rye recipe, also called "Swedish", which uses orange zest and similar spices. Abe just posted his bake yesterday, and I've made it before following his advice - very nice bread, and very easy to do as well.

MikeV's picture
MikeV

Nice bake of a very interesting bread, thanks for the inspiration!

A couple weeks ago I tried the "Helsinki Buttermilk Rye" recipe from "The Rye Baker," which seems to be another relative of both this recipe and the Breadtopia Swedish Rye. It calls for 50/50 rye/wheat like the Swedish Rye, has a similar spice profile with orange zest, fennel, aniseed, and cumin, a hearty dose of honey or malt syrup (23%!), but differs in using mostly buttermilk and a little bit of beer as the liquid. Similar to this one, there's also a wash with melted butter before baking. I didn't manage a very photogenic loaf, but the flavor and texture were great - very rich thanks to the buttermilk and the sweetener but still "bread" rather than cake, I was thinking of trying it again but maybe I'll give one of these a shot instead.