Bread-o-lution - May Borodinky Bread

I finally caught up with all by blog posts and actually doing May post on time – yay me! This month’s project is Borodinsky bread – bread I used to eat a lot as a child. I remember my grandma coming back from a work trip with five loaves “just for the weekend” – so as you can see its been a family favourite for a while :) 
I love baking rye bread, and have baked a number of German style loaves, as well as made up my own recipes using rye flour, but for some reason I never tried a hand at making Borodinsky bread. Well, this is the whole point of this project – to learn new and to re-discover old recipes! 

I wanted the bread to be as authentic as possible, so I decided to do all of my research in Russian, mainly looking for GOST (ГОСТ in Russian) recipes. GOST is a set of technical standards maintained by the Euro-Asian Council for Standardization, Metrology and Certification (EASC), and in the old communist days, all bread production had to comply with that standard. 
 It was fairly easy to find recipes for Borodinsky sourdough bread, the hardest thing was to decide which one would be the closest to the “true” recipe and bring back my childhood memories of that wholesome, slightly sweet loaf with a generous sprinkling of coriander seeds. 

Russian Borodisnky Sourdough 
200g rye starter (100% hydration) 
380g rye flour 
100g white bread flour 
20g barley malt syrup 
2 tsp ground coriander 
250ml boiled water 
100ml spring water 
¼ tsp yeast (optional) 
½ tsp molasses 
30g molasses sugar 
10g salt coriander seeds to decorate 

I had such a difficult time trying to work out whats the hydration for this bread is supposed to be. None of GOST recipes state water percentage – the recipes I saw had anywhere from 60% to 90% hydration, and the only GOST guidelines I found talk about 60% to 75% hydration – thanks, that’s really helpful! 
This bread is made in a number of stages – starter, scald, sponge and then the final dough. It might feel a bit like a faff, but its worth it, and its actually easy enough to do in a day with a bit of planning. 

I don’t normally keep rye mother starter, just the white starter, as I don’t think rye starter keeps that well in the fridge. So I started building up my starter a few days before making the bread – starting with a spoonful of white starter and feeding it rye flour and spring water twice a day until I got the required amount. 
Most of the recipes I read call for dark malt powder – I didn’t have any at home and didn’t think it was worth ordering a whole bag for just one recipe. However, I do have barley malt syrup that I use for making bagels, so I decided it would have to do – plus it was very easy to get, you can buy it in any Holland & Barrett shops. 
To make scald, mix together in a medium size bowl malt syrup and boiling water until the syrup has dissolved completely. Add 80g of rye flour and ground coriander. Whisk together until all the liquid has been absorbed and make sure that there are no lumps. 
Cover with cligfilm and leave in a warm place for 2 hours. 
To the scald add your rye starter, 50ml of cold water, yeast (if using), molasses and 200g rye flour. Mix until everything is well combined, and the sponge was taken a darker colour from the added molasses – it can be a bit hard to mix it in. 
Now, I normally don’t like adding commercial yeast to sourdoughs, but in this particular case, my sourdough wasn’t at its peak when I decided to use it and I felt that such a rye-heavy bread would need a bit of help. If your starter is very ripe, don’t bother with the yeast. 
Cover with clingfilm and leave for 4 hours in a warm place. 
it wouldn't have changes much during that time - not to fear, its all going according to plan
For the final dough, either use a mixer or mix everything in a large bowl with a spoon. You won’t need to mix the dough for very long, as you don’t need to develop gluten, so its just as easy to mix it by hand. I was a bit lazy and did use a mixer – but only cause I love my KitchenAid so much :) 
Add the rest – 80ml – spring water, sugar, 100g of each rye and white flours and salt for the sponge. Mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes. The dough won’t come together, it will look like a brownish mess – that’s exactly the look and consistency you want! If you can’t find molasses sugar, feel free to use white sugar, maybe increase the molasses in previous step slightly. 
Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 1/2 hour to an hour. 
The dough will puff up a little bit, but you won’t see much increase in size – rye dough is very different from white dough. It doesn’t look like anything is happening, but trust me – its all go underneath. 
Line a loaf tin with baking parchment to prevent the dough from sticking. Oil your countertop generously, and pour out the dough. With oiled hands try to shape the dough into a loaf – don’t overwork it too much, just kind of pat it into a brick. 
Place the dough into the tin and smooth it out to get an even surface. 
Cover with clingfilm and leave to rest for 3 hours at room temperature. 
Spray the top with water and sprinkle with whole coriander seeds. You don’t have to do this step, but it does look prettier this way. 
Preheat oven to 200C fan and bake with steam for 45-50 minutes until the loaf is a nice, rich brown colour. Take out of the tin and cool on a rack overnight. Do not cut the loaf until at least 12 hours after its been baked – it needs time to develop full flavour. 
I had a couple of slices of it in the morning with a bit of butter and hard cheese – and it definitely takes me back to my childhood. 
A deep and subtle flavours, with a slight hint of sweetness from barley and warm taste of coriander. Got big thumbs up from my nana when she tried it – “just as I remember”, so I call it a success!


  1. Like most breads with so many different bakers over so many years, Bordinsky recipes are common yet different from each other when it comes to the ingredients and hydration - everyone had their own ideas -imagine that:-)
    But, none would have BMS in them since it didn't exist and all would have had Red Rye Malt (very easy to make by the way). I also find that a stiff rye starter stores the best, by a wide margin, in the fridge for a very long time at least 3-4 months) without maintenance. With Nana giving 2 thumbs up. it had to be fantastic. Well done and Happy baking

  2. I know its not the most authentic recipe, but I wasn't organised enough to get all the proper ingredients - Messy Baker after all :)
    Thank you for reading and comments


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