Second week of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Marina, a baker in Kyiv, sent me this bread recipe for me to share and encourage support for the people who are in such a dire situation. Not much, but a small two fingers from me to Putin.

I’ve printed her words as I received them so that yeast bakers can have a go.

Ukrainian Paljanytsja

Sponge (3,5-4 h, temperature 25-27С) 550 g bread flour 350 g water (temperature 20С) 20g fresh yeast or 7 g instant yeast

Final Dough (bulk fermentation 60-70 minutes, 25-27С)

920 g sponge

450 g fine bread flour

350-400g – water (correct according to flour hydration, dough should be soft, but keeps ball form very well)

15 g salt

Cut the fermented dough into two pieces,

pre-shape, give 15-20 minutes of preliminary proofing, then shape it, put into the round baskets for the final proofing.

Dough should be underproofed, 25-40 minutes.

Pull dough down from the basket, cut it on the level of 3/4 from the bottom, depth of cut is 20-25 mm

Bake on stone, with steam, 190-210 C. Steam is necessary to have good (even bold) ear. Baking duration is 46-52 minutes.


Because I haven’t used commercial yeast for about 15 years I had a go at converting Marina’s recipe to sourdough whilst sticking as closely as possible to the original ideas and scaling it down. The intention was to come down to my usual 940g but I had to wrestle with a few hydration problems in the production and ended up with a little over a kilo (perfect for two small loaves I convinced myself.

So I started with an overnight sponge as shown below:

Used my usual method of hand mixing and 10 kneads, five minutes rest repeated three times.

Four hours fermentation with hourly folds for the first three hours.

Divided in two, shaped and proved for two hours (my normal would be three and a half).

Marina was very particular about “ears”, not my favourite cut but I hacked away for Ukraine.

In the Pico I baked at 250C top and 220C bottom with steam for 15 minutes, reduced (reluctantly) to 220C/210C for a total of 40 minutes.

Got to say I’m quite pleased for a first attempt. So have a go yourself and make a contribution to charities providing financial support to Ukraine