“Swedish” rye bread, 1912 recipe

“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.