Loaf 2: Borodinsky bread from Russia

borodinsky 3
Loaf 2 of 100 is this delicious Borodinsky bread. Who could resist the doughy cleavage of Mother Russia? Y’all know where Russia is, so I’m not going to bother with the map this time. (Read: I wasn’t sure where Lithuania was prior to Loaf 1.)

The distinctive element of this loaf is the addition of coriander seed. Gastronomical Me, my source for this recipe, says that the unusual name comes from the village of Borodino, the site of the costly (and somewhat debatable) Russian victory against Napoleon’s forces in 1812. A local woman stayed behind to bake bread for the troops and added some ripening coriander seeds she found nearby.

Taste test: With addition of malt syrup, this has something of the tang and sweetness of the cake-y malt loaves you buy in shops, but is still savoury. It’s chewy and moist, and despite being 100% rye, it doesn’t have the overpowering rye kick of the Lithuanian scalded rye, which only intensified as the bread aged.

Recipe notes: I ended up adding twice as much water to the recipe as directed, in order to obtain the sloppy consistency described. I think this was because my starter was a lot more solid. Other than this piece of off-piste anxiety, it was very quick and easy. Apart from building up the sourdough starter, it’s a one-step process: mix everything together, let it rise, bake it. That’s it, folks.

I’d definitely bake this again. But I’ll try and get hold of a loaf tin first, because I’m getting funny long fingers of bread from my round over-large cake tin. They tend to get wedged in the toaster and no one wants that. My version of this recipe is below.

borodinsky 1

NB: this is a sourdough recipe. Here is a detailed introduction to sourdough, and Gastronomical Me has a brief intro tailored to this recipe.


a little blob of rye starter
370g rye flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground coriander, plus some whole coriander seeds for the top
1.5 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp barley malt syrup
165ml water, plus more for the starter in step 1

How to make it

1. Take your blob of rye starter, and add 140g of rye flour to it, plus enough hand-hot water to make it stir-able but not too liquid. Cover and leave it to ferment for 24 hours.

2. Grease a standard loaf tin and sprinkle the bottom with coriander seeds.

3. Mix the starter with the remaining 230g of rye flour and all the other ingredients in a large bowl. Add the water gradually – the consistency you’re aiming for is a sloppy dough that will spread slowly if you let it.

4. Wet your hands for rye-dough-handling superpowers (it’s magic… but magic that wear off quickly). Pick the dough up out of the bowl and shape it in mid-air into something loaf-like.

5. Pop it in the loaf tin, cover and leave to rise until roughly doubled in size. Gastronomical Me says this can take 2-6 hours. It took mine 3.

6. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Brush the top of the dough with water and sprinkle with crushed coriander seeds.

7. Bake at 200C for 10 minutes, then turn down to 180C and bake for a further 30-40 minutes.

PS: Londoners, check out Gastronomical Me’s Russian feasts.

PPS: The more I eat this bread, the more I think something wasn’t right with Loaf 1. I don’t think it’s my just uneducated English palate: it’s too dry and solid. I must give scalded rye another go with a different recipe.


7 thoughts on “Loaf 2: Borodinsky bread from Russia

  1. Pingback: Pumpkin Seed Wholemeal Bread Rolls | Silvia's Cucina

  2. Pingback: Borodinsky rye arancini. | Russian Revels

  3. Pingback: Sour Dough Grape Rye | Along the Grapevine

    • It looks like you’re right, according to the ГОСТ 5309-50 standard-defined recipe, and I would have liked to have known this before baking… But I’m still relatively satisfied that this recipe is part of the same broad tradition. Any recommendations for a recipe to try?

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