Swedish Peasant Bread

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My mom sometimes mails me random stuff she thinks I might find interesting, and a while ago she mailed me a Swedish flyer with some baking recipes. The flyer was publish by KF Provköket which seems to now be coop Provkök, a test kitchen for the retail cooperative coop. The flyer looks like it is published in 1985, and I could not find the recipes online.

Swedish is close to Danish, so I could easily figure out the recipes. The one that caught my eye was one for a whole grain ‘peasant bread’. It is using a scalding technique and is made with rye flour and some ground bitter orange (pomerans) rind. I find that quite a bit of Swedish bread is made with some sort of spices, and it is usually a nice touch. I did not, however, have any bitter orange rind or knew where to get it, so I decided to add some ground all-spice for some general complex spiciness, and that worked well.

Though not required by the recipe, I used the opportunity to use my bannetons again, and the breads turned out beautiful.

Ingredients:

  • 500 ml boiling water (2.1 cups)
  • 500 ml whole grain rye flour (2.1 cups)
  • 1 tsp ground all-spice
  • 50 g butter (1.8 oz)
  • 250 ml water (1 cup)
  • 16.6 g active dry yeast (0.6 oz) (50 g fresh yeast cake)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1100 ml bread flour (4.6 cups)

Method:

1. Mix this rye flour and all spice together in a bowl.

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2. Pour boiling water over the mixture, cover with film and let stand for 2-4 hours (until a little warmer than room temperature).

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3. Melt the butter and add the water. Let cool to 90 F/ 37 C.

4. Mix the yeast in the water/butter mixture.

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5. Add the yeast, butter and water to the scalded flour and mix.

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6. Mix the salt and gradually add almost all of the bread flour, and mix until a dough forms.

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7. Knead lightly in the bowl for a few minutes.

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8. Cover with film and let rise for 45-60 min.

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9. Turn the dough out on a work surface and knead lightly. Add more flour if necessary.

10. Divide dough in 2 and form 2 round breads.

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11. If using, dust 2 8-inch bannetons with rice flour and place the breads in them. Otherwise place breads on a parchment lined sheet.

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12. Cover breads and let rest for 20-30 min.

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13. Preheat oven to 200 C / 392 F.

14. Turn the breads out on a parchment lined sheet and transfer to oven.

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15. Bake for 40-45 min, they are done when lightly brown and hollow sounding.

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Since there is not much kneading involved, these are actually quite fast and easy to make. The scalding make it quite moist, and the spice and rye combination adds a lot of flavor. This bread is great still warm with butter, or as sandwich bread. I found it kept very well.

4 Grain Bread

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My mom sent me this recipe, she originally clipped it from a Danish magazine. It is called ‘a bread that keeps’, and it really does keep well. I made it two times, and I think I have tweaked the recipe to where I like it.

It is started the day before you bake, making a quick ‘sourdough’ – but it still contain quite a bit of commercial yeast, and does not really have a typical sourdough taste, as you get with a fully developed sourdough. It is then made with buttermilk, which I think make it very moist.

The original recipe calls for 2 types of flour I can’t really get here in the US, sigtemel which is a mix of sifted rye and wheat flour with 30%-50% rye. I mixed bread flour and rye flour with about 60% rye, though the result is a little different, as I use whole grain dark rye flour – sigtemel is a white flour. Secondly, the recipe calls for 4-korns mel which literally means 4-grain flour, and that might be what it is. I don’t recall having seen it in stores, and the only thing I could find online was from Norway, where it indeed was a mix of wheat, rye, oat and barley flour. My mom, however, was convinced that it meant some flour with whole kernels in it – though she said she usually just makes it with sigtemel telling me ‘you know how fussy your dad is with whole kernels’. I’m pretty sure it would be a great bread to add some soaked wheat or rye kernels to, but I stuck to adding some whole grain barley and oat flour.

You can play a bit with the ratio, this is a bit of a dense bread because of all the non-wheat flours, they don’t have much (if any) gluten, so the bread does not become that fluffy.

I baked this on the pizza stone, and that worked really well, but you can bake it on a regular sheet with parchment paper just fine.

Ingredients: (original recipe from unknown Danish magazine)

Day 1:

  • 25 g yeast cake (8.3 g /0.3 oz active dry yeast)
  • 250 ml lukewarm water (1 cup)
  • 150 g bread flour (5.3 oz)
  • 100 g rye flour (3.5 oz)

Day 2:

  • 400 ml buttermilk (1.7 cups)
  • 1 tbsp coarse or kosher salt
  • 150 g oat flour (5.3 oz)
  • 150 g barley flour (5.3 oz)
  • 150 g rye flour (5.3 oz)
  • 325 g bread flour (11.5 g)

Method:

Day 1:

1. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water

2. Add the initial bread and rye flour and mix well.

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3. Cover with film and let stand at room temperature for 12-14 hours.

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Day 2:

1. Mix the buttermilk with your dough.

2. Add salt and the barley, oat and rye flours and mix.

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3. Add most of the bread flour in 2-3 portions.

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4. Turn the dough out on a work surface and knead well, add more bread flour if necessary. The dough is a little sticky, take care it doesn’t get too dry, but is should feel elastic and easy to work with in the end.

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5. Let the dough rise for about an hour.

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6. Form 2 breads (or one big one).

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7. Cover and let rest for 20-30 min. Preheat the oven to 200° C/ 395° F. Have your pizza stone in the oven if using one.

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8. Score the breads with a sharp knife, and brush with milk or egg as desired.

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9. Gently lift the breads onto your stone, or put your sheet in the oven.

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10. Bake for 20-30 minutes. 40-50 if you are only making one.

11. They should sound hollow when tapped when done, and be nicely golden on top. Take out and let cool on a wire rack.

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This bread freezes really well, and also keeps well. Even a week old I don’t feel a need to toast it, it is still moist and fresh.

Rye Bread

rye bread-12I wanted to try this Rye Bread which involves boiling some of the flour and some rye kernels. According to the original recipe (from Wenche Frølich’s Brød) boiling part of the flour helps with absorption of liquids and was used a lot earlier when flour didn’t have the high quality we have today. This one also requires you to soak some flour and kernels a day before you bake for extra moistness.

This bread is very hearty and great as both as a sandwich bread or with jam for breakfast. The recipe makes 3 large breads, and I found they freeze pretty well. When I converted this from fresh yeast to dry yeast, I used a little less than I probably should have, so it did turn out less fluffy than I expected. I have given the original conversion here, as I think it would improve the bread to use a little more yeast. Another option would be to let it rise longer, but with all the whole grains and kernels the extra yeast would probably be a good thing.

Ingredients:

Day 1:

  • 200 ml rye kernels/berries (0.8 cups)
  • 225 g rye flour (8 oz)
  • 1.3 L water (5.5 cups)

Day 2:

  • 33 g (1 oz) active dry yeast (100 g fresh yeast cake)
  • 50 ml water (0.2 cups)
  • 50 ml syrup (0.2 cups)
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tbsp vinegar (light tasting such as apple cider)
  • 550 g rye flour (19.5 oz)
  • 600 whole grain flour (21 oz)
  • 300- 475 g all purpose or bread flour (10.5 – 16.5 oz)

Method:

Day 1:

1. Mix the kernels with rye flour and water in a large pot. Cover and let stand for 12- 24 hours.

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Day 2:

2. Bring the rye and water mixture to a boil while stirring, the cover and let rest for 6-8 minutes.

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3. Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl and let stand until lukewarm. This will take a while!

4. Mix the yeast with lukewarm water.

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5. Add the yeast mixture, syrup, vinegar, salt, rye and whole grain flours and mix well.

Adding the yeast, syrup and vinegar

Adding the yeast, syrup and vinegar

Adding most of the flour

Adding most of the flour

6. Add about half the all purpose/bread flour and mix until a dough forms, add more flour if needed.

7. Turn the dough out on a work table and knead it though, add more flour if necessary.

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8. Let it rest under a tea towel in your bowl for an hour or so.

Before rising

Before rising

After rising - should have left it a little longer or used more yeast, probably

After rising – should have left it a little longer or used more yeast, probably

9. Work the dough through on your work surface.

10. Form 3 breads and place them on a parchment covered sheet, brushing the sides with oil or melted butter to prevent them from sticking together.

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11. Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 390 F

12. Let the breads rise for 30-45 minutes more.

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13. Bake the breads in the lower part of the oven for 45-60 minutes. They should sound hollow when tapped.

14. Let them cool on a rack, and enjoy!

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The rye and the syrup together makes this bread a little sweet, even if it is a whole grain bread. I think it has a great flavor, and I will definitely be making it again – with a little more yeast next time, and probably only 1/3 or 1/2 portion.

Crackers

Crackers & Cheese

A friend of mine (who runs Your Child’s Food) mentioned that her mom made homemade crackers when she was little. I admit I hadn’t really thought about making my own crackers, but given that my son often gets fruit and crackers as a snack it made sense to try. Even the nicest crackers I can find in the supermarkets has quite a bit of sodium (salt), and I am trying to not get him addicted to salt too early (the more salt you eat, the less you taste it, causing you to want more salty food). I myself is a fan of salty foods, but even I sometimes feels food is too salty in restaurants – in my opinion there is too much salt in prepared foods.

I ended up browsing around a bit for cracker recipes, and then decided to make 2 different kinds loosely based on some recipes. I made a more day to day whole grain cracker, and a more ‘adult’ cheese & wine type cracker.

Sundried Tomatoes and Thyme Crackers

These crackers are interesting since they are made with yeast – most crackers are made with baking powder. They contain a good deal of oil, not making them super healthy, but they are great with cheese and probably dips too.

Inspiration: Food & Wine Magazine Sunflower Seed and Rosemary Crackers.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (475 ml)
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, finely chopped (60 ml)
  • 1/2-1 tsp thyme, very finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water (120 ml)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil (60 ml + 2 tbsp)

Method

1. Finely chop the sundried tomatoes and the thyme, then mix with flour, salt and yeast.

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2. Stir in 1/4 cup olive oil, and gradually add the water until a dough forms. Knead the dough about 5 min, until smooth.

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3. Leave the dough to rest in a plastic film covered bowl for about 2 hours. It will not rise much.

Ready to rest

4. Preheat oven to 350 F/175 C. Divide the dough in half. Cut off a piece of parchment paper so it fits your cookie sheet, and place one piece of dough on it, formed as a small rectangle.

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5. Roll our the dough to about 9 x 13 inches (23 x 33 cm), about 1/8 of an inch  (2-3 mm) thick. Try to make the dough as square as possible, you can cut off pieces to add to other places and ‘massage’ it into the sheet of dough. They more even thickness you get, the easier the crackers are to bake.

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6. Cut the dough into strips about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide on the short side, and cut once across the long side. Brush the dough with a bit of the remaining olive oil.

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7. Bake for about 24-38 minutes, until golden and crisp. Cool on a wire rack, and store in an airtight container.

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Whole Grain Rye Crackers

This is a more traditional cracker made with baking powder, there are many similar recipes with different flavoring if you search for cracker recipe. I wanted to make something whole grain, and I didn’t feel like adding any seeds, so I decided to add some rye flour to give them a more interesting taste.

Inspiration: Alton Brown’s Seedy Crisps.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz whole wheat flour (60 g)
  • 2 oz all purpose flour (60g)
  • 1 oz dark rye whole grain flour (30g)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cups water (75 ml)

Method

1. Mix together the 3 flours, the salt and baking powder. Add the olive oil and mix well.

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2. Add the water gradually until a dough forms, then turn out the dough on a work surface and knead a few times.

Dough before kneading

Dough before kneading

3. Preheat the oven to 450F/230C. Divide the dough into 4 parts, and let rest of 15 minutes.

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4. Roll out one piece of dough very thinly, about 1/16 of an inch (2 mm or so) to a small rectangle. The more evenly you roll out the dough, the more evenly they bake, and the thinner you roll the more important this is.

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5. Transfer the piece to a parchment lined cookie sheet, and add another piece of rolled out dough if there is room.

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6. Bake the cracker ‘sheets’ in the oven for 3 1/2 minutes, then turn then over and bake for an addition 3-4 minutes until golden and crisp.

7. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

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8. Break into the cracker sizes you want. I found it easiest to mark where I wanted them to break with a sharp knife, carefully cutting about 1/3 of the way through the sheet, then breaking the cracker decisively holding both sides of the cut firmly, but gently.

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9. Store in an airtight container.

With both of these you can definitely add some salt on top before you bake if you want a more salty cracker, I found they both tasted salty enough, but with room for more.

Walnut bread

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This delicious bread is adapted from Wenche Frølich’s Brød (yep, another one). It is great with dinner, or with lunch meats or cheeses.

The original recipe calls for rye flour, I have made it both with that and with whole grain (wheat) flour, both ways turn out delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 500 ml water (2 cups and a bit)
  • 50 ml oil, preferably walnut oil (0.2 cups)
  • 25 g yeast cake or 1 dried yeast envelope
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 225 g dark rye or whole wheat flour (8 oz)
  • 500g all purpose flour (17.5 oz)
  • 75g chopped walnuts (2.5 oz)

Method:

1. Heat the oil and water to lukewarm, about 90 F/ 30 C. Pour the liquid over the yeast in a large mixing bowl (pull the yeast cake apart first if using fresh yeast).

Heating oil and water.

Heating oil and water.

2. Add the salt and the flours. Mix the dough well and knead for a short while.

3. Let the dough rise under a towel for 45 min.

Risen dough

Risen dough

4. Knead the dough well, until elastic. Add a bit more all purpose flour if necessary. Add the walnuts and knead them in until well mixed.

Adding the walnuts

Adding the walnuts

5. Spilt the dough into 2 parts and shape each to a round bread. Place the bread on sheets and score the breads in crosswise pattern.

shaped breads

Shaped breads

6. Let rise under a towel for 30 min. Preheat the oven to 200 C/390 F

7. Brush the breads with water and bake for about 30-40 min, until the sound hollow. Cool on a rack.

All done!

All done!

I made these to eat with some soups we made this week, I made a great artichoke soup and my husband made carrot soup – modernist cuisine style. The recipe makes 2 breads, and 1 bread feed about 4 adults as a side to a dinner – probably 6 people if you have more sides.