From Russia, with Love, Solodukha and Ryazhenka

A letter from Russia with recipes for two new ferments I haven’t heard of before…

Dear Sandor,

Firstly, I really love your books, and thank you for helping keep traditions alive!

I have a recipe to share with you; I am from Russia, I grew up in the countryside, on what was basically a farm, and my family have a huge lore of recipes passed down generations (including a sourdough starter that predates the revolution…!)

It is a porridge known as Solodukha (from the word ‘solod’, which means ‘malt’ – the word ‘solod’ itself, in fact, basically means ‘sweet’) My granny often made this porridge for me, and its especially comforting on a chilly morning.

malted (sprouted, dried & roasted) rye, ground fine, around 50 gr per person
water, about 150 gr
1 tsp sourdough starter (preferably rye-based)
a few tablespoons squashberries (according to wikipedia, that is the english equivalent of kalina – a small red berry from the genus ‘Viburnum’) – if you cannot find these, raspberries or fresh ripe red currants work well too.
1/4 tsp salt

Grind the malted rye to a fine powder, add the water, salt, and starter, and leave in a warm place for at least 8 hours. Once fermented, stir in the berries, place in a clay, ceramic or cast-iron small pot, cover with the lid and cook overnight in a very low oven; for the last hour or so take off the lid. Or make a bain-marie in a slow cooker and cook on low overnight.

My granny would always put this into the Russian stove before bed, hot from a days’ baking, and the porridge would cook in the slowly falling heat. if I beat my granddad to occupying the top of the stove for the night, I would wake up to the aroma of roasted rye and berries wafting up from below…

Serve it with plenty of good, yellow butter, and a glass of fresh, or soured, creamy milk, or ryazhenka (recipe follows…)! Enjoy!

Here is also a recipe for ryazhenka, a fermented ‘baked’ milk.

Place fresh, creamy raw milk (I’m sure you know to stay away from the stuff labelled ‘milk’ in the supermarket…!) in a heavy, cast iron pot, cover with a lid and place in a very low oven overnight (not higher than 110 Celcius, lower if your oven can). In the morning you should have a beige to light-brown, slightly nutty smelling milk with a ‘skin’ on top – you can eat the skin now, or, if you can resist, leave it in for now! Once cooled to blood temperature, add a tablespoon of raw soured cream. Put in a very warm place (or in a thermos flask!!!) for about 8 hours, or till thickened and soured. If you left the ‘skin’ in, it will be deliciously chewy…*wipes drool from keyboard*


From Russia with love
Milla 🙂


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6 thoughts on “From Russia, with Love, Solodukha and Ryazhenka

  1. How interesting! Unfortunately, here in Sweden where I live selling raw milk is prohibited, also I’ve never heard of squashberries. Both recipes sound really delicious though!

  2. Here’s something fun to try if you’re like me and don’t feel comfortable leaving your oven all night or even just enjoy using traditional methods.

    Heat the pot of goodness on your range until it just starts boiling and immediately take it off the heat. Place the pot in a box lined with a good, thick layer of straw (or a blanket if you don’t have straw lying around). Make sure you pack plenty of straw on top of the pot (with the lid on tightly of course). Now just go to bed and when you wake up in the morning it will be nice and perfectly cooked!

    This method also works wonderfully for oats!

  3. Hello Milla. I was perusing and I found your post. I am EXTREAMLY interested in some of your family recipes! I love collecting ‘tried in the field’ recipes. I would love to talk to you more. I look to hear from you soon. Thanx 🙂

  4. Hello Milla. Thanks for sharing those wonderful recipes. You mentioned a sourdough starter from before the revolution, would you mind sharing the recipe for that? I’d be more than interested.

    Many thanks & kind regards.

  5. looks interesting and love reading recipes also from other country’s ! 🙂 both recipes look wonderful! i may have to try Solodukha it does sound interesting.. enjoyed this site also! 🙂

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