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The Hirshon Lithuanian Dark Rye Bread – Ruginė Duona

  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • Raugas (Starter)
  • 5 TBS rye flour
  • water, at room temperature
  • yeast (optional)
  • ***
  • Rye Bread (Ruginė Duona) Base:
  • 2 kg (about 5 lbs.) stone-ground rye flour
  • 1 to 2 cups all purpose flour
  • water
  • 2g (ground) coriander seeds
  • 2g (ground) caraway seeds
  • 5 TBS sugar
  • 3 TBS honey
  • 4 tsp salt


  1. To make the raugas:
  2. Preparation time: 3 days
  3. In a half-liter glass jar, mix the rye flour and some room temperature water and keep it in a warm place. The consistency has to be like sour cream. Mix every 12 hours and keep it like that for three days. It will have a nice yeasty aroma and it will start to bubble. If it is not bubbling, you may add some yeast. Don’t get discouraged – just have patience.
  4. After three days, you may either start the process of bread making, or put the starter in the refrigerator. If you refrigerate it, when you take it out you need to “restart” it again by adding a few tablespoons of flour and some water and then keeping it at room temperature (the warmer the better) for 12 hours.
  5. While it is in the refrigerator the starter needs to breathe. A good idea is to punch some holes in the metal lid that goes with the jar in which you have mixed your raugas (starter).
  6. This is the raugas in the morning after three days. The bubbles are a great indicator of how the bread will look and that the starter is working.
  7. Pour the raugas into a bowl and add 2 TBS of rye flour. Add some lukewarm water and mix. You can use a metal or glass bowl for that since a good raugas may “climb out” of your half-liter jar. This will be the base of your bread.
  8. Start on a Friday morning, before work, and bake it Saturday at about 2 p.m. Also, on Friday evening you must be able to mix the dough and you will need about 20 minutes for that.
  9. After your base has rested on the counter for 12 hours, take a very large bowl (would not suggest using plastic) and into it add 2 cups of rye flour.
  10. Boil about 3 cups of water and pour over the flour and caraway seeds. Mix well using a whisk or wooden spoon. Mix it quickly and well, so there are no dry spots. Let it cool to room temperature. You can keep on mixing it to cool faster.
  11. Once this mixture from Step 2 is at room temperature, add your base and mix well. Add another two to three cups of rye flour. You will have to use wet hands at the end to make the top nice and even.
  12. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel. A rolling pin can be laid over the bowl to keep the tea towel from falling into the dough. Leave this mixture to rest overnight for 12 hours in the kitchen in a warm place with no drafts.
  13. IMPORTANT! At this point, before you do anything else, add to a half-liter glass container 2 – 3 TBS of this risen dough! Add 2 – 3 TBS rye flour and some lukewarm water. Mix and let sit in a warm place. This is how to produce the most important ingredient, the raugas/starter for the next time.
  14. After the new starter has had a chance to sit for 12 hours in a warm place, place it in the refrigerator. It can stay there for a long time (up to half a year). The next time you are ready to bake bread, take the starter from the fridge, add 2 TBS of rye flour and some lukewarm water. Mix and keep it on the counter for 12 hours. It should have the consistency of sour cream. This is usually the first step that should be done a day before you plan to bake.
  15. In another small bowl mix 5 TBS sugar, 3 TBS honey, the ground caraway and coriander and 4 tsp of salt. Add some hot water to help with mixing it. When the mixture is not hot anymore, pour it into the bowl with the risen dough.
  16. Add another 3 cups of rye flour and 1 cup of regular all purpose white flour. Mix it all very well. If it gets too hard to mix with a wooden spoon, ask someone to help you, or wet your hands and mix with your hands. This flour is extremely sticky.
  17. TIP: before putting your hands into the dough, get the baking pan ready. You will need a 9″ by 12″ pan lined with parchment paper.
  18. Mixed all of the ingredients well; wet your hands and place the dough into parchment lined baking pan. Keep wetting your hands and make the top nice and even. You may rub some oil on top of the dough to prevent it from drying – it also gives the crust a glossy look.
  19. Let bread dough rise for another four hours. In the winter or in an air-conditioned place, it might have to be left to rise overnight.
  20. Bake for the first 10 minutes at 400° F, then turn down the oven temperature to 350°. Bake time will vary with loaf size — usually 55 minutes to an hour. After 45 to 50 minutes, check the bread with a toothpick and also knock on the bottom of the loaf after lifting it from the pan with the parchment paper just slightly. If the sound is nice and clear, it is ready.
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
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