bread · sourdough · traditional Russian recipe

Darnitskiy Bread

Since the day I first created this post and the actual ‘post’ day I have used this very easy and flexible recipe for the traditional Russian Darnitskiy bread I’m sharing with you here for so many times, that there will be photos of at least three versions =) Actually I’ve already adopted this recipe as my regular one, since I prefer sourdough rye bread to any other kind and have this insatiable sourdough culture in the fridge waiting to be used. When I get home I usually bake more sophisticated bread but for my own morning sandwiches this is the recipe I use almost every week now:

Darnitskiy Bread from

{two favourites of mine: black rye bread with soft Adygea cheese!}

Here’s an earlier edition of Darnitsky with this earthen Slavic-style mug purchased in Novosibirsk at the fair where I was working. Its author, a true craftsman, has his workshop in Tomsk, a very old city yet to be visited in Siberia. The sign on the mug is an ancient Slavic symbol which was as is known, used in its inverted version by Hitler and transformed into a sign of a very different power:

Darnitskiy Bread from

Drinking from this mug is like drinking from… an earthen teapot 🙂 I wish I could substitute all my kitchen ware with earthen and wooden stuff. Since I was a child I have this soft spot for wooden spoons and earthen jugs (even used to go to a kid’s center to make my own)… Oh, there were those jars and jugs and bowls at the fair, I wish I could have them all!

Darnitskiy Bread from

The teapot, by the way, though Chinese:

Darnitskiy Bread from

The crust is nice, chewy and keeps well even when frozen and then defrosted:

Darnitskiy Bread from

The crumb depends on the amount of rye flour: I prefer to increase it and so the crumb is dense though with small air pockets. This is yet another edition, shot with the early daylight:

Darnitskiy Bread from

 I made an ‘experiment’ by splashing some water on the top of the just-from-the-oven bread and then returning it back to oven (already switched off but still hot). And this is the golden effect it made on the top crust:

Darnitskiy Bread from

Two years ago – Some St. Petersburg Shots and Breadsticks and Oh Mon Dieu, Ces Baguettes!.. and Pane al CioccolatoSenza Cioccolato

Darnitskiy Bread adapted from will become your daily bread recipe, adjust it to your liking or bake it as it is!

Go to Abel’s blog to find this and lots of other great bread recipes! Here are my changes to the ingredients:

I usually mix rye flour with rye bran and use it both for the sourdough and the dough itself, increasing the amount of rye up to 200 g and decreasing the amount of regular flour. I use less water in the dough as I pour boiling water onto some rye malt to make this bread even more authentic.

I omit salt by the way as the cheese is already salty and I also sometimes eat this bread with homemade jam (as a true Russian).

To vary the bread each time I make it, I sometimes add cardamom, caraway seeds, ground coriander or seeds to the bread. Traditional Darnitsky bread does not contain any of these but why not.

Remarks on the procedure:

It’s also a very useful recipe for those who cannot spend lots of time on baking but still want to make sourdough bread.

I have already experimented with letting the pre-mix (sourdough) rise for more than 6 hours and even for less time. I think you should judge from your own sourdough culture, if it’s active and strong, you shouldn’t worry about the time. I normally mix the culture with flour+water in the morning then leave the rest of the procedure for the evening. The bread then is left to cool down and get even more infused with the rye aroma overnight. The following morning I freeze or use it right away=)

I’ve also tried various timing for the first and second rising, usually increasing it. Just be careful when handling the dough: if you fold it too much after the first rise (before putting it into the loaf pan – here I also use parchment paper) you might end up with a rather flat bread with dense crumb like in the photo with the mug above.

Handle the dough with wet hands – this really helps!

I tried baking the bread without loaf pan, just placing it on parchment paper and then a hot rack, but it turned out very flat.

Keep an eye on the bread while it’s baking – it sometimes gets too dark before the required minimum 45!


Do I need to tell you more? =) When you cut the bread it slices up nicely and keeps long. Makes great sandwiches and goes well with jam too! Freezes well.


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