I was inspired to make this bread by one of my great friends back in the UK. Kristina is an amazing chef and baker and has been seemingly working on baking her way around Eastern Europe from the comfort of her home of late. (She herself is from Lithuania) The photos I keep getting are just amazing! When she shared this Borodinsky bread recipe with me I was intrigued – as I’ve never actually had it before. After a little research, I knew I had to give it a go!
What is borodinsky bread?
Borodinsky bread is a Russian dark rye bread. It’s a very rich and unusual tasting bread and very dark in colour. The bread is made from rye flour and it seems sometimes wheat flour. This recipe however uses just dark rye flour. As with so many traditional recipes there seem to be various different takes on what is the right and wrong method or ingredients.
There are several legends which explain where this bread was originally invented, several of which point to the battle of Borodino as the source. Not really knowing much about Russian history myself I won’t try and go into them!
You need to prepare in advance to make this as you’ll need to make a ‘starter’ at least 5 days before and maintain it in the run up. While it does need some planning it’s actually fairly straightforward to make (don’t let the long list of instructions fool you). The amount of ‘hands on’ time is actually quite minimal. Well, compared to some breads.
What does it taste like?
Borodinsky bread has an unusual and very strong taste. It’s also quite a ‘heavy’ and ‘wet’ bread.
The bread is flavoured with coriander and caraway seeds and molasses is combined into the dough. This gives it an almost ‘sweet and sour’ taste (although stronger on the sour).
What can you eat with borodinsky bread?
This bread is perfect for a savoury snack – simply with some butter smeared over the top. As it’s quite strong you wouldn’t want to eat it as part of a sandwich or similar – as it would really overpower the taste.
Borodinsky bread is often eaten with smoked fish or meats which is something that I’ll definitely be trying the next time I make it.
If you want to try more Eastern European recipes then check out this Polish Zurek soup.
Products that work great for this recipe
Linen Bread Bags – 2-Pack
Commercial Bakeware 8 by 4-Inch Loaf Pan
Complex, rich & extremely flavoursome – this Russian borodinsky bread is flavoured with molasses, coriander seeds & caraway. A perfect savoury snack smothered with butter or served with smoked fish or meats.
This makes one loaf, which will give around 8-10 slices depending on thickness (calorie information is based on 8 slices)
For the rye starter:
- 50g wholegrain rye flour
- 50g cold water
- + 1 tablespoon wholegrain rye flour / 1 tablespoon cold water each per day for 4 days.
The day before
- 140g cold water
- 100g rye flour
- 175g rye flour, plus extra for dusing
- 6g sea salt
- 10g caraway seeds (around 1 tbsp)
- 10g coriander seeds, lightly crushed, plus extra for topping (around 1 tbsp)
- 1 tsp molasses
- 130g cold water
- Oil for greasing
5 +days before
Make the rye starter – On day 1 mix together the flour and water. Cover with a tea towel, paper towel or paper napkin secured with an elastic band.
Every day after for a further 4 days add a tablespoon of flour and tablespoon of water and mix.
By the fifth day you should notice that the starter is very active and has bubbled and grown in size. Transfer to the fridge and keep in an airtight container until ready to use.
Before using, ‘feed’ the starter with 75g of rye flour and 75g of water and leave at room temperature for at least 8 hours but ideally between 12-24.
One day before
Mix together 75g of the rye starter (after all the instructions above have been followed) with 140g of cold water and 100g of rye flour.
Place all ingredients into a bowl and rake it through with your hands. Mix well for around 2 minutes.
Grease a loaf tin (around 18cm x 8cm x 6cm or 7 in x 3.5 in x 3 in) and then line with baking paper.
Dust a worktop with more rye flour and then tip the dough onto it. Roll it into the flour and shape into a loaf type form and place in the tin. Dust with some more flour
Leave to rise for 3 hours and preheat the oven to 220C/430F. Once risen scatter the crushed coriander seeds over the top.
Place the tin inside the oven and spray around in the oven with some water to add humidity. If you don’t have a spray bottle you can also fill an oven proof bowl with a little water and leave in the bottom of the oven to steam.
Bake for 40 minutes and then use a clean tea towel to carefully tip the loaf out of the tin and place back in the oven for a further 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool for at least 2-3 hours or longer before slicing.
- If you want to make sure your starter is ready to use then drop a teaspoon in a bowl of water – if it floats it’s good to go!
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Russian
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 145
- Fat: 2g
- Carbohydrates: 25g
- Protein: 4g
Keywords: bread, snack, russian, lunch