Chleb Bezkidzki Polish- Ukrainian Rye

Now in the second week of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine and trying to do something positive. Found it surprisingly difficult to find serious Ukrainian bread recipes despite reading about the importance of bread in that country’s life. In fact this is the only one I have found so far: Chleb Bezkidzki – Polish-Unkrainian Rye from Stanley Ginsberg’s The Rye Baker. This is my slight adaption, i.e. I’ve only baked it once and this is what I did (and using my own terminology):

Probably easiest to start morning of Day One and mix the final dough, prove and bake morning of Day Two.

Three starter builds on Day One (times above).

Morning of Day Two, mix the dough. The original calls for Buttermik but I just happened to have some rather fine local ewe’s yoghurt and used that. The recipe also includes 35g Malt Powder but, (1) I didn’t have any, and, (2) I’m not convinced about the need for malt. Didn’t have any medium rye so sieved some dark rye.

The original assumes using a mixer at low speed for 8-10 minutes, but I just used my normal hand mix – 10 kneads, 5 minutes rest, repeated twice more.

Ferment for 20-30 minutes until you can see some movement in the dough.

Knead again ’til smooth. Then I nearly got caught out because you are supposed to form the dough into a football shape. Just before I tried my hand at making a perfect sphere it occurred to me that the book is American and should have used “rugby ball” as an alternative for Europeans …

Prove on a floured baking sheet for 2-2.5 hours until cracks start to appear. Single slash down the centre of the dough. Then the recipe says bake at 230C with steam for 7 minutes, reducing the heat to 200C, for a total of 40-45 minutes (internal temperature of 93C. Brush with boiling water and cool on a rack. In my Pico oven I baked at 250C top, 220C bottom with steam for 10 minutes, reduced the top to 220C for a total of 45 minutes.

Have to say I was seriously happy with this bread. Made quite a few ryes over the years (not enough recently) but this really stands out for flavour and simplicity (once you’ve sorted out your balls).

My photographic studio