A Journey Into Bread Baking World

Borodinsky from 1934 but wholegrain

While semi-refined rye flour plays important part in 1934 Borodinsky bread recipe, it is possible to make whole grain version with one slight modification. I would suggest you first read history post and then read original recipe post so you can understand the whole process. This post will only focus on how to make whole grain version and why I chose specific modifications.

Without further ado, let’s get into this!

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Borodinsky rye bread from 1934

This is the very first standardised (OST NK №1) and published Borodinsky bread recipe. It differs from modern variants in flavour, aromatics, presentation and some technical aspects, yet it is very similar to modern Borodinsky in many ways. All variants of the bread share the same dough development principles and all of them are mostly wholegrain rye.

First part of Borodinsky bread history can be found here and wholegrain variant of this recipe is here.

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History of Borodinsky bread, part 1

Russian Borodinsky rye bread has become a true icon of Russian food and culture and is well-known across the world. As with many iconic cultural artifacts, Borodinsky’s history is covered in myths and legends. This article opens a series dedicated to uncovering the history of the bread and how its recipe changed over the last century.

I’m not a historian and I can’t make a claim that this series will be 100% historically accurate, but I will try my best to present my knowledge about Borodinsky based on an online research I was doing recently.

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Flour types used in this blog

English flour terminology differs between English speaking countries: all purpose vs plain flour, bread flour vs strong white flour, dark rye in US is not the same as dark rye in UK, etc. I decided to completely switch to German and Austrian flour gradings in this blog to avoid confusion.

This move will also make it easier to find correct flour in other European countries like France and Latvia which are using similar ash content based grading approach with only minor numbering differences.

I will be updating existing posts over time to reflect the changes and all new recipes will follow German and Austrian grading. This post will be linked to all recipes so that everyone can find correct flour easily.

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Baking 101: baker's percentages

Baker’s percentages are universally used by both professional and home bakers across the world. It is a very simple notation of writing down recipes in a scalable way so that the same formula can be used to bake a single loaf or a whole factory batch to feed the nation.

Even though it is a very simple and effective tool I’ve noticed that many home bakers struggle to understand how to use it. And then there are some bloggers who interpret baker’s percentages in a wrong way which only leads to more confusion.

Let’s take a look at what baker’s percentages really are and how to use them to bake existing recipes, adapt them and change them to your liking. I believe that once this tool is properly understood one can not only follow instructions, but also start creating their own breads.

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Rye and oats experiment

With the global pandemic came flour shortages. So I started experimenting with rye flours I don’t normally use and mixing them with buckwheat, oats and other grains. This recipe is one of my most favourite experiments so far. 70% light rye (T997), 30% oats, scalded and soured.

I didn’t have any expectations as my experience with rye and oat breads is limited, but I was really surprised by the flavour and aroma of this bread! Sourdough fermented oats have a very unusual taste, the bread turned out to be quite sour, but with a sweetish crust on top. Good colour and soft juicy crumb topped with a crispy crust - what else can you ask for?

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Scalding - what is it?

Scald. Choux. Tangzhong. Mashing. Gelatinised starch. There are many strange words followed by many different process recipes. What are they? Why do we need them to bake a loaf? And why so many techniques? I will try to answer these questions in this post.

I believe English speaking baking communities got introduced to flour scalding through Japanese Hokkaido milk bread, but gelatinisation of different kinds is used all over the world: most of Latvian rye breads are scalded, French chefs are making choux pastry and the whole beer brewing process starts with mashing everywhere in the world. It is a very common process in grain preparation and cooking.

Let’s start with a chemical process common to all methods. This process is called starch gelatinisation.

Oh, and by the way, this post is HUGE!

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Latvian style Christmas rye

It’s that time of the year when everyone cooks plenty of festive foods and enjoys their time with families and friends. Back home in Latvia one of the festive foods on the table is a rye bread with dried fruits, berries and nuts inside. It’s mid December and it’s a perfect time to share one of the festive Latvian rye recipes!

This is a very complex recipe even though I tried to simplify it as much as possible. The dough is made in three stages (regular wheat sourdough bread has only two, full process as done in Latvian bakeries would have 4-5 stages), there’s filling preparation, custom crust development and starch wash to finish the process. But the end result is worth every second spent on this bread!

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Latvian rye brick

Latvia is definitely a rye country and I believe that Latvian rye breads are the best in the world. Their unique taste comes from extremely complex dough development processes which span across multiple days and some of them can not even be replicated at home. But there are also some very simple breads which still pack plenty of great flavor. One of such breads is usually called “a rye brick”.

Rye brick is actually a wheat and rye bread, not pure rye. It is very common and differs slightly between bakeries. You can also find similar breads in other European nations like Germany and Russia.

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