1/2 cup of sourdough

Day 47

I took the tortilla press this afternoon, the heart stamp and made some egg white sugar glaze. I wet my hands and pull chunks of the cold sticky fermented rye dough. I place between plastic sheets and press into a thin layer. I cut some squares with a cookie cutter and sandwich with peach leather, goiabada (guava paste) and cassis (black currant) jam. I repeat and repeat. Maybe these are not all the fillings one would think to add to Pryaniki, but in our family, American, Latin and Estern European flavors mash is a thing. And we often celebrate our “thing” with food. 

Fermentation can serve as a metaphor for so many instances in life. I  am grateful my husband and I have been fermenting this one together. We were a couple for a long while and then added kids to the mix. Recipes don’t work and advice doesn’t fit. Transformation is at the essence. Best to taste and adjust as we go. 

This weekend I baked many thank yous for Father’s day to this batch of Pryaniki. I added my heart to each one. 

This is one of my husband’s childhood cookies. Pryaniki, or “Spiced Cookies” are traditionally made with rye. Dmitri helped me research, translate and taste test as we adapted the recipe to use local wholemeal rye.  The recipe is part of the #12grainsofChristmas 2021 booklet. I like to also ferment these cookies as some historical recipes suggest. We make several variations of Pryaniki in our home. I like to ferment them with honey, milk kefir, but for this version, I used ½ cup of sourdough starter. I let all ingredients ferment on the counter for half a day and then move to the fridge for several weeks. 

Fermented Rye Pryaniki 

3 ½ cups of Maine Grains Rye meal 

½  tsp coarse salt

½ cup sugar 

½ cup water 

½ cup honey 

6 tbsp butter 

½ tsp baking soda 

¼ tsp vinegar

Add 1 egg (or 2 yolks and save the whites for the glaze)

Add ½ cup of sourdough, optional if you would like to ferment these cookies)

Dry perfume (spices) : 1 tsp of each: coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, anise star, nutmeg… or other desired combinations

Dry fruit or jam to fill the cookies

Glaze 1 : 1 egg while, 1 cup of conf sugar and 1tsp lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220C) and prep trays with a baking mat, parchment paper, or lightly greased.
  2. Mix flour and salt.
  3. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, mix sugar, water, honey, 6 tbsp butter and cook to caramelize and bubbly.
  4.  Mix in all of “dry perfume” spice mix 
  5. Add ½ tsp of baking soda mixed with ¼ tsp vinegar.
  6. Turn heat off and stir 2 cups of the flour mix into hot liquid and stir.
  7. Add 1 egg and the rest of the flour and knead the dough with a wood spoon. 
  8. When cool, add sourdough starter if using and mix well.
  9. Chill the dough at least 4 hours best overnight. If fermenting, let ferment for several weeks in the fridge if desired. 
  10. Flour the mold, press a layer of cookie dough, fill with jam, we liked orange peel candy and dark chocolate squares. Then another layer. 
  11. Or roll out and stamp shapes
  12. Bake 425℉ for 10 minutes for 3 inch-rounds or 3 inch square cookies.
  13. Let the cookies cool completely before glazing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s