bread · German recipe · Italian recipe · sourdough

Winter’s Here. Time for Spicy Rye Bread


Winter has come and as if immobilized everything around. The sun is very low, it is shining but you can only feel the warmth of the sun rays when sitting inside. No wolves or bears in the streets yet, we are quite resistant to cold weather and imaginative when it comes to all sorts of tricks, like wearing extra insoles lined with wool and aluminum foil. My Dad wears valenki (now becoming more popular in Russia) at home cause there are drafts everywhere. When winter comes, St Petersburg people seem to become obsessed with clothes,  because they are wearing layers of them to protect their fragile selves from this super-humid climate AND they still want to look nice even if the only visible parts of your body are your cheeks and eyes. But even in such a freezing season with ice-clad streets and various ice/snow obstacles, there’s never a diminishing number of girls swiftly overcoming the dangerous spots in their high heeled boots.


The thing that I notice nowadays is that most women seem to have abandoned their stupid to say the least habit to be too cool to wear a hat, now it’s even fashionable to have a fancy one. And fur, of course, thanks God the old Soviet fur-coats emerging each winter from naphthalene wardrobes are abandoned too. I remember wearing a shuba (fur-coat) when I was little, it was so heavy, so uncomfortable and so non-humane. I also had an ugly fur cap. But the most disappointing thing about those stuffy things was that they were never as warm as they are supposed to be! I was quite lucky to grow up a bit and of course grow out of those things.  But the military-looking overcoat on the right (these are my photos from 1998) stuck with me for about 5 years till I finally could get rid of it (I was growing up somehow very slooow throughout that period). It’s called pikhora in Russian and has hare fur inside. The characteristic thing is that it has a hood with a zip fastening running right in the centre, thus creating a collar when unzipped. On the right – digging for my then favourite toffee candies Zolotoj Kluchik (a real tooth-killer, called after the golden key from Buratino tale) at a diskoteka. I was wearing a cool turtle-neck sweater which my Mom handed down to me and a hand-made bracelet from beads. I was listening to ABBA and The Hollies back then and refused to dance to the Russian pop boy band Ivanushki International, no way!  😉

14 years ago

Winter used to be a very merry time even though you had to wear all those cabbage layers of clothes – but you could also skate, ski, build snowmen… You can do the same stuff now of course but you’re a little bit lazy. The worst thing for a girl, though, was wearing rejtuzi – thick tight woolen trousers, your mother would definitely oblige you to wear them with a skirt (pictured above)… Maybe here lie the roots of my unwillingness to wear skirts? 😉 Just ask a Russian girl born in those times when the moment arrived when she realized she was finally an independent grown-up – that grown-up life of hers will surely be marked by the absence of rejtuzi. You see? Winter makes you talk about clothes even on a food blog! =)


This is not a (promised) New Year post yet, but… Let’s see what you can bake with some spices to bring that holiday attitude to your home.


{Yeah, apples again. Still struggling with them 😉 }

It’s been a while since I last had a post figuring a nice flavourful  sourdough rye bread. So let’s go for another one which is a specialty from South Tyrol, the author of the original recipe says. These flat breads are called…

Vinschgauer (taken from – don’t forget to refresh your sourdough starter the night before for these.


The original recipe requires such, well, rare spice as bird clover (birdsfoot fenugreek), which is typical of South Tyrol but I guess completely impossible to find here in this icy city. I decided to substitute it with anise seeds which actually gave the most flavour to this bread. Here it is pictured with some whole fennel seeds.


{there’s something to this delicate escaping thin light of winter sun…}


{Pictured a saucer from a very old clay coffee set}

I added some rye bran and had to use more flour and less water on the whole. The flour on the top (which is to create that crackled crust) is all-purpose but I think you’d better use rye instead as the recipe goes.


The process of making this bread is quite easy  – even though it’s a sourdough one – and there were no changes to it. The bread keeps well for several days but better eat it quickly (which you will).

The result – chewy & spicy, very nice with cheese!


{my Mom submitted the ‘berry’ photos of this bread}

I’ve already talked with my parents about their reminiscences of the family New Year celebration in their childhood years, so a new post is to be awaited soon!



3 thoughts on “Winter’s Here. Time for Spicy Rye Bread

  1. Хлеб получился очень хорошо и равномерно поднявшимся и пропеченным, вкусным. А насчет того, что стали мы a little bit lazy – это точно. Надо покататься на коньках, а может и на лыжах?

Say something...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s