Muscovite Rye/Podmoskovny Rye (Russia)

Rye %: 69%
Stages: Sponge, Final dough
Leaven: Rye sour culture, Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 9-10 hours
Hands-on Time: 30-35 minutes
Yield: One  1 ½ lb/700g loaf

I recently was able to get hold of a couple of kilos of Russian rye flour, and so what better bread to try it out on than a Russian rye bread that specifically calls for this type of flour? The recipe comes from O Khlebe, the Russian-language blog that’s my go-to source for all breads Russian. Its name comes from its origin, Podmoskva, the region surrounding Moscow — so a northern bread with the lighter color and milder flavor associated with Russia’s largest and most cosmopolitan urban center.

Russian obdirnaya rye flour (left), GM 000 medium rye (right)

Russian rye flour comes in three grades, seyanaya, (equivalent to white rye), obdirnaya (medium) and oboynaya (wholegrain). This recipe called for the medium obdirnaya, grade, which, in a side-by-side comparison, turned out to be slightly lighter than the General Mills 000 Medium Rye I generally use.

The bread itself is interesting because its six-hour sponge uses both a hefty 22% dose of sour culture and a small amount of instant yeast. The 85°F/30°C sponge and bulk fermentation temperature makes for a faster process than most sponge-based ryes: I started this bread in the morning and was eating it with dinner that same evening.

It’s a beautiful bread, with a thin crust, an open crumb – thanks to gentle handling on the bench and a full 25 minutes of steam – and a flavor profile that features the nutty sweetness of the rye, complemented by a clean, delicate sour finish.

I’ve had this bread with everything from unsalted butter and roasted turkey breast to well-aged Stilton cheese and soppressata, and it was a great accompaniment to all of them. This truly is a simply, yet sophisticated Russian rye bread.

Sponge:

Ingredient Grams Ounces Baker’s
Percentage
Medium rye flour 144 5.10 100%
Warm (110°F/43°C) water 96 3.40 67%
Rye sour culture 32 1.15 22%
Instant yeast, ⅓ tsp. 1 0.05 1%

Combine the sponge ingredients by hand into a very stiff dough, cover and ferment in the oven at 85°F/30°C for 6 hours. If the oven doesn’t have a low temperature setting, proof with the light on or preheat to 100°F/38°C and turn it off.

 

 

The sponge will be firm and expand to about 1½ times its original volume.

 

 

 

Final Dough:

Ingredient Grams Ounces
Sponge 273 9.65
Medium rye flour 170 6.00
Bread flour 138 4.85
Warm (110°F/43°C) water 209 7.35
Salt 7 0.25
Dark brown sugar 14 0.50

In the mixer bowl, combine the final dough ingredients and use the paddle at low (KA2) speed to mix until the dough is evenly blended into a firm, slightly sticky mass, 3-4 minutes.

 

 

Cover and ferment in the oven at 85°F/30°C until doubled in volume and the top shows broken bubbles, about 90 minutes.

 

 

 

Gently turn the dough onto a well-floured work surface and use floured hands to shape it into a loaf, taking care to handle the dough gently.

 

 

I baked the loaf in a well-greased 9″x4″x4″/23x10x10 cm Pullman pan, but a  8½”x3½”x3″/22x9x8 cm. loaf pan will produce a taller loaf and more rectangular cross-section. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and proof at room temperature (70°F/21°C) until the dough has risen in the pan and the top surface shows broken bubbles, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C with the baking surface in the middle and a steam pan on a lower shelf. Brush the loaf with water and bake with steam for 25 minutes. Remove the steam pan, brush the loaf with water and continue baking until the loaves thump when tapped with a finger and the internal temperature is at least 198°F/92°C, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.

Baker’s Percentages:

Ingredient g %
TOTAL FLOUR 452 100.00%
  Medium rye flour 314 69.47%
  Bread flour 138 30.53%
Water 305 67.48%
Salt 7 1.55%
Instant yeast 1 0.22%
Rye sour culture 32 7.08%
Brown sugar 14 3.10%
TOTAL FORMULA 811 179.42%
Prefermented flour 144 31.86%

 


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