Tuesday, June 8, 2010

One for the Fins...

Finnish grandmas have been making this bread for years. Years and years. And between loaves of this bread, they don't wash out the bowl. Consequently real Finnish rye bread is dark in colour. As dark as a gloriously intense 75% cocoa chocolate bar. And fragrant. Full of yeast and rye smells. That knock you out. That are perfect with cheese, or jam, or cheese and jam. Perfect with smoked salmon, with herrings, with boiled egg. Dense chewy bread, that you rip when you bite into. That lasts and lasts and improves with time.

At least, this is what the fella told me. "You should try real Finnish bread," he informed me, "but this is pretty good".
Finish-Style Rye Bread
Makes a solid loaf

225 g rye flour
300 g white flour
7 g dried yeast
1 tbs dark brown sugar
2 good pinches of salt
300 ml warm water
1 tbs melted butter

Using either a bowl or a mixer (such as a KitchenAid with dough hook attachment) combine the flours, yeast, sugar and salt. Slowly add the water until the mixture begins to come together. Add the melted butter to make a cohesive dough.

Now either kneed by hand for around 10 minutes, or mix in your mixer for half of that time. Your dough will be smooth but really heavy. This is not white bread, it won't stretch and be luscious rather be compact and solid.

Oil a bowl, turn the dough over in it and cover the bowl with gladwrap. Leave in a warm place to prove. This could take a while, so be patient and maybe wait overnight even. You won't get a puffy glorious rise, cause there is little yeast to the heavy flour, but you will get a rise to around twice the original size of the dough.

Pre-heat oven to 190* c. Line a baking tray with paper.

Knock down the dough, shape it into a loaf and leave to prove for a further 30 to 45 minutes. The loaf should again puff up a little and become lighter.

Bake in your heated oven for 45 or so minutes, until cooked through. Leave to cool and eat with joy.

From Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess.

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