Simple Russian 100% Dark Rye sourdough


My first post here!

I’ve been baking sourdough bread for the last few months (ever since yeast completely disappeared from the shops for a while here in the UK), having never baked any bread before. I have produced some frisbees a couple of times and a few times made gorgeous loafs.

But I only just now started trying rye. Coming from Russia, it’s something I miss here (although I’ve never been a big fan of rye breads, I guess you don’t know what you like until you can’t have it!). So I decided to bake it myself.

I previously got some of my baking equipment from https://scotlandthebread.org/, and already back then I got their Bread Matters rye starter – it’s originally from Russia, so I couldn’t say no to that. Now I also got two small bread tins from them, which although pricey are of excellent quality and feel nice and heavy in your hand.

Interestingly, finding dark rye flour is a little challenging here, but I managed to get some. And made some bread!

(Well, I am skipping one failed attempt with, I suspect, very overproofed bread: huge hole on the top, dense mass on the bottom).

 

I followed a Russian recipe from https://pechemdoma.com/100-rzhanoj-obdirnoj-xleb.html

Translation of the recipe:

Preferment:

140 g rye starter 100% hydration

155 g water

45 g dark rye flour

For the dough:

All of preferment

385 g dark rye flour

150 g water (plus a little extra if needed)

8 g salt

 

I mixed the preferment in the evening and left overnight on the kitchen table, for around 10 hours. Surprisingly, it didn’t look any different in the morning, so I assumed it was too cold during the night and left it another 2-3 hours in the morning, until it started bubbling and smelled nice and fermented.

Then simply mixed in all dough ingredients (I needed 35 g extra water to make the dough feel what I thought was right – having never done this before) and left in the bowl for ~2 hours for bulk fermentation, then divided in two and put the dough into the tins, tightly packing it in to avoid empty spaces. Left it to proof until around 50% increase, which took 4.5 hours.

Baked in a preheated to the max oven without steam. Just before baking, dissolved a little wheat flour in water to make a very liquid dough, and carefully covered the tops of the loafs. After 10-15 mins turned down the oven to ~200°C and baked for a total of 1 hour. While the bread was baking, I dissolved a little starch (I had corn starch) in water and heated it until it thickened. Immediately after taking bread out, covered the top with a little of starch gel for a nice shiny top.

Cooled down in the tins for 10-15 mins, then took bread out and cooled on a wire rack. When still warm, but not hot, wrapped in a tea towel and left overnight, to soften the crust and equilibrate water throughout the bread.

 

And lo and behold, next day it’s a beautiful dark rye bread. It’s a little moist, with a delicious rye flavour and a sour tang.

 



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