Can’t believe I haven’t published a word since November 2014. Well, there is a reason of course – and I didn’t stop baking, on the contrary – I just lost my regular routine for a while due to the arrival of this little man at the beginning of December 2014 …
Although a blessing and a joy I found going from one to two quite a leap, overwhelming, enough to put everything on hold. At least blogging. But I have no intention of giving it up for good.
I received a new fabulous baking book for Christmas about traditional bread from around the country (Norway). It is packed with interesting recipes and everything is written in dialect. I love it, I’ve read through all the recipes and made a few of them, which I intend to publish here. But today I’d like to put out one of my own creations, which I believe is a combination of learnings from my previous and my current favourite baking references.
I’ve just returned from our yearly visit in Norway and brought back with me some new bread tins which are longer and narrower than the ones I’ve been using here in the US. I think I find longer and narrower bread more delicate, especially for dark bread. The bread slices become smaller which suites the darker, denser bread as it is far more filling than white bread.
This bread is fairly dark and heavy. Well, the darkness is also due to colouring from molasses so we’re not talking Pumpernickel-dark. Still an everyday type of bread. Just healthy-dark. Fiber-rich.
Dark Rye and Oatmeal Bread (2 Bread)
100 g flax meal
100 g quick cooking oats
300 g sprouted rye flour (or coarse rye flour)
6 dl (2 1/2 cups) boiling water
100 g sunflower seeds, toasted
4 dl (1 1/2 cup) warm water
3 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp organic molasses
3 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp (1/2 pk) yeast
300 g regular (fine) rye flour
400 – 600 g white wheat bread flour
- Mix the flax meal, oats and sprouted rye flour in a bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Stir to make a thick porridge. Leave on the counter (cover the bowl) for at least one hour, over night or until the mixture has a finger warm temperature.
- When ready to continue, add 4 dl boiling water to the mixture if it is cold, adjust the temperature on your water accordingly. Add the molasses and the oil and stir.
- Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry frying pan, medium heat, let them cool off a little before adding them to the dough.
- Mix the remaining flour (hold back on the white flour) with the yeast in a separate bowl (if you’re using dry yeast) and add to the dough mixture.
- Best way to work with this dough I find, is to get your hands dirty and knead, squeeze and mold the dough, even though it is sticky and a bit tough to work with. Keep adding white flour and knead until the dough is solid, but still a little sticky. Drizzle white flour on top and cover with plastic. Leave to rise for a few hours.
- Add some more white flour and work the dough on the counter until smooth. Shape two bread and place in greased bread tins. I like to push the dough down into the tin and even out the surface.
- After-rise for about 30 – 40 minutes.
- Brush with cold coffee if you got some, or with water, and slice with a sharp knife or razor blade to control the cracking.
- Bake at 350 F/175 C in convection oven, 200 C in regular oven, for about 45 – 55 min. I normally take the tin off after 45 minutes and knock underneath to check if the bread is ready. They usually need some more time, so I leave the bread in the oven without the tins for another 5-10 minutes.
- Remove tin and cool on a rack.
Here are some fun tips and tricks I’ve picked up since last time:
- When using seeds or nuts in bread, toasting them makes a difference. In addition to adding flavour, toasting will make them absorb less fluid, which leaves the bread more moist.
- A handy weight scale is a great tool – grams and oz. are more accurate than cups and dl for the dry stuff.
- Flax seeds contain great nutrition which is more easily absorbed by your body when they’re crushed, or milled. Alternatively, whole flax seeds can be soaked in boiling water and left over night, or at least for a few hours.
- Brushing with coffee is a great way of using the cold leftover! And it adds colour and a hint of flavor to the crust. Delicious little secret.
- If you like to achieve a nice decorative effect of slicing the bread before baking it, do the slicing before the bread is fully after-rised. By slicing the bread properly you control where it will crack, which it typically will if you put it in the oven too early. So, slice – and put it in the oven too early!
- Molasses is a flavourful sweetener with lots of nutritious benefits … And it colours to the crumb.
Oh, and my sister-in-law sent me a hand knitted pair of potholders for Christmas. They are so beautiful, so perfect for my baking. Here they are presented together with a few loafs that never made it to the blog … Good to be back, it’s been too long. Until next time!
I'm Currently living in Florida, USA, but I'm Norwegian born and bred. At the moment I enjoy baking bread and blogging about it. I enjoy blogging in general, because I like writing. But I'm trained as an illustrator, originally ... in England. One day I'll write a book. About bread. And illustrate it myself. Maybe. Life will see.