bread · German recipe · sourdough · St Petersburg

St Petersburg Sky and All That Bread

Malaya Morskaya Street

I’ve told you already about the sky of St Petersburg – the inevitable cable against the sky. And the colour might be gray – in most cases – but it also might be perfectly blue, as it is right now. Really, each summer for a short period St Petersburg gets transformed from a greyish city with people in black and only black into a bright lively place with so many colours and flavours (not always pleasant but at least you know there’s life out there). The green parks of the city help too. All in all, the city is gorgeous (in the picture above – Bolshaya Morskaya Street, a true collection of elegant buildings on both sides with the cupola of St Isaac’s Cathedral hovering above).

Rubinshteyna Street

Rubinshteyna Street, right next to very good Maly Drama Theatre

Fontanka Embankment

Fontanka Embankment, Yusupova’s mansion

Maly Prospect, Petrogradka

Maly Prospect, Petrogradka

And now – back to bread. To all that bread. In the authentic Russian English pronunciation ‘bread’ sounds like ‘bred’ which means ‘rubbish, delirium’; All That Rubbish is actually a song by Splean (St Petersburg rock band), always bringing back school-year memories.

Wheat Sourdough Bread

I don’t know about you but I find bread just fascinating. Yes, I’m fascinated by bread (the fellow bread-baking addicts are nodding in ascent). Each time that I take the loaf out of the oven, tap on its bottom to check if it’s ready, smell it, touch the crust, wrap it in a linen towel to cool down… I think it’s what you lack if you just buy the packed standardized bread. This is what we all lack in the big city here in St Petersburg, the freshly baked bread all warm just out of the local bread factory’s oven – the flavour and the feeling of this almost hot loaf is I guess unknown for the majority of kids and teenagers nowadays. I remember this wonderful bread fragrance from the childhood when we still had our local bread factories delivering bread to the shops in those kind of dark wooden drawers (with NO packaging, mind you). I recall once in the early 90s the delivery people gave us a freshly baked – still hot – white loaf, it was so delicious! We shared it among all the children then hanging out on the ‘playground’ (it was a sort of dilapidated area with long-long grass, crashed bottle glass in the bushes and some remnants of the kindergarten playground). It was such bliss, the crackling crust, the soft warm crumb inside – even if it was just a tiny bite for each of us, it was what the gods ate for sure. Thanks for those people who were generous enough to treat a bunch of children.

Woow, I can write about bread non-stop, just give me space and time!

Wheat Sourdough Bread

Here’s a link to the recipe:

Wheat Sourdough Bread (Farmer’s Loaf from the Baden region in Germany) adapted from foodzeit.blogspot.com – will make a wonderfully moist sourdough loaf with chewy crust, just perfect and not at all complicated.

For the recipe please refer to the original blog, here are my remarks:

I didn’t use additional yeast, only that for the preferment (yes, the recipe requires 16 hours to get the sponge and the sourdough ready). I wanted to make a more ryeish bread, so I added more rye flour + wheat & rye bran. Hence the colour of my version – a more brownish hue. I also reduced the volume of water a bit.

And as for the procedure, it’s actually quite simple and doesn’t require much time. But as I had to leave home for more than the indicated 60 mins, I placed the bowl with the preshaped dough in the fridge, where it continued to rise slowly.

Wheat Sourdough Bread

And here’s that tremendously moist crumb:

Wheat Sourdough Bread

Result: There’s moist crumb, chewy crust, flavour – a very successful combination of rye and wholewheat! This recipe should be called the Amazing Wheat Sourdough Bread, thank you, Foodzeit! Returning to your blog I realized the recipe comes from the region close to Strasbourg and I recalled the bread from the nearest German city, it was something really close to this loaf. The original recipe in German is here.

Wheat Sourdough Bread

The author says this bread won’t keep long, about 4-5 days without special storage conditions, but, indeed, it won’t last THAT long in my family!

And then suddenly there’s rain:

and then suddenly rain

G.

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5 thoughts on “St Petersburg Sky and All That Bread

  1. Georgia, the sight of the sky is something that leaves me breathless. That is something that I cannot get here in China, where we constantly have some “industrial” clouds hanging in front of the sky .
    Thanks for the kudos with the bread the one that you made leaves me thinking about starting a new bread baking right this evening. I love your blog a lot and will follow it. I am sure I can find a lot of interesting recipes there to try as well. And yes you are right, I am from the Black Forrest (Schwarzwald) region, a region above the lake of Constance (Bodensee) bordering France, Switzerland and Austria (and Bavaria).
    Concerning the recipe, yes, you can leave the yeast out, you are right. I always was shy yet to leave it out because not sure how strong my starter is, but recently I “forgot” to add yeast and I found out that my starter is just doing fine. So I will continue to bake future breads without the usage of industrial made yeast. The fresh made bread will taste even better then it tastes now, which also is the reason that my freshly baked bread normally won’t last longer than 3 days in my house, just like you wrote above .
    For the amount of water, I just have to take the indicated amount of water as my rye and wheat seems to be thirstier. But it is normal that you have to try and adapt. Can you get a variety of flours with different qualities over there? I guess near St. Petersburg you will find some mills making artisan flour that you could get. Most likely you get better quality rye flour then I do? I already envy you. Keep on baking, I am sure you will.

    1. Thank you, it’s always so great to share the recipe and the whole ‘thing’ behind it! It’s a pity you cannot see the beautiful sky and the landscape of the Black Forest (we did some hiking there when I studied in Strasbourg and it was perfect!), but I’m sure you got even more inventive and creative while living away from the country where you can get everything it seems =) Yes, here we can get some less mass-produced flour but mostly it’s been hugely standardized (when I travel to some other parts of Russia, I try to see what’s on the market but there are again the same brands most of the time…). Fortunately, rye flour is a traditional type here in the North and we have the true whole rye type, not much refined that is. With the water – it always somehow requires less water here in our humid climate (hence also the indeed biting cold winters), so I’m not surprised.
      I sure will keep baking, especially if you keep posting such authentic German recipes 😉 thanks for visiting my blog!
      Georgia

  2. It certainly is very great to share the story behind, for this reason you are already in my blogroll. Hope to see many more nice bread stories and recipes from you. I also ran out of rye flour so now I am baking a wheat sourdough based bread (without yeast) but I already ordered my next 15 kg bag of rye flour and I will come back to try and bake some of your Russian bread recipes. I don’t know that much about Russian bread but I am definitely looking forward to give it a go.
    Wishing you a good Sunday evening ahead with greetings from China.

    1. Great, looking forward to seeing your version of Russian bread! I don’t have a lot here on my blog (pity!), but you should really try Borodinsky if you can find rye malt in China. I’ll be glad to help you with the recipe. Good luck!

  3. I already have a recipe of making my own baking malt as of course I won’t find it here. Just need some more time and try to make it. Will come back to you in case.

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