Method

For 20 lbs of sieved, finely ground rye flour, use 20 glasses boiling water. At 9 o’clock in the morning, scald part of the flour, adding water until the dough is thick enough to hold a wooden spoon upright. Beat the dough until it pulls away from the paddle, cover it, and set in a warm place. In the evening of that same day, add the remaining flour and knead the dough thoroughly. The next morning knead again and add 4 glasses of kvass lees and a piece of oak bark the size of your palm.* Near dinner time, knead again, and in the evening again knead. On the third morning, remove the oak bark, knead the dough, and add 2 handfuls finely chopped bitter orange rind, 2 tablespoons caraway seeds, 2 lbs treacle, and 2 spoons yeast. After this, punch down the dough, [form into loaves], smooth them over with wet hands, sprinkle with caraway, and set in a very hot oven. After an hour change the position of the loaves, moving the back loaves to the front and the front loaves to the back so that they all bake evenly.

*The tannin in the oak bark presumably enhances the complexity of the bread’s flavor.

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