Islander Bread

December 21, 2015

Bread recipes on this blog are usually my own. But, the exception confirms the rule. I simply must publish this classic recipe which almost every baker here in Finland knows, because Islander Bread is The Christmas Bread here in Turku and all over Finland. Everyone must have a loaf or two waiting for the dinner on Christmas Eve.

Islander Bread is a perfect match with smoked ham, fish, home-made fresh cheese or gouda. Or, why not to try it with blueberry jam and goat cheese? 

2 breads

1 l (1030 g) buttermilk
75 g fresh yeast
1 tbsp salt
3 dl (420 g) Scandinavian dark syrup (or light molasses)
3 dl (60 g) wheat bran
3 dl crushed rye malt
3 dl (165 g) rye flour
10 dl (650 g) wheat flour
For the drizzle: 1 dl (0,5 cup US) syrup water (half and half)

Stir the yeast, salt, syrup, wheat bran, crushed rye malt and flours into the lukewarm buttermilk. Pour the mixture into two greased 2-liter tins. 

Cover and leave to rise at room temperature for 1,5 hours. 

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Bake for 1 hour. Cover with foil if necessary. Bake for a further 30 minutes. Drizzle the loaves with syrup water. Bake for a further 30 minutes without the foil. The loaves might be fully baked at this point. If not, take them out of the tins, drizzle with syrup water and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Cover and let cool on a wire rack. When cooled, wrap the breads tightly and store in a cool place for 2-3 days. If you are in a hurry, you can serve the breads the next day. The taste is irresistible!

Store in a cool place where Islander Bread will keep up to 8-9 days. Storing Islander Bread in the freezer is a great solution too.


Legendary Breakfast Granola

December 16, 2015

I always have home-made granola in my kitchen. I simply cannot start a day without some crunchy granola on creamy yoghurt in a beautiful bowl. Ingredients and amounts vary depending on my mood, but often my starting point is an old granola recipe by Anna Bergenström.

Why this breakfast food came to my mind now? I'm writing a bread blog, aren't I? Well, it's not nearly as strange as you might think. Granola is part of my weekly baking day. It goes into the oven just after breads. And, the recipe has been a huge success among my friends. I cannot remember how many of them has asked (and got) the recipe. Everybody loves it! Granola is also a great last-minute Christmas gift and a perfect beginning for those lazy Christmas mornings. There are lots of good reasons why I got sidetracked and decided to share this coveted granola recipe instead of a new bread recipe this week. Enjoy!

This mango-raisin granola is one of my favorites, linseed-almond-cranberry granola is another. 

6 dl (200 g) rolled rye flakes 
3 dl (100 g) large oat flakes
2 dl (100 g) oat flakes
1 dl (40 g) rice flakes
4 dl (250 g) cashew nuts
1 dl (50 g) hazelnuts
2 dl  (200 g) sunflower seeds
2 dl (100 g) pumpkin seeds
1 dl (35 g) shredded coconut
2 dl (170 g) cane sugar 
2 dl (200 g) water
0,5 dl (45 g) canola oil (or other vegetable oil, not olive oil)
dried mango

Combine the flakes, roughly chopped nuts, seeds, shredded coconut and cane sugar in a large bowl. Mix the water and oil and pour it into the flake mix. Stir well. Line a large baking tray with a baking paper sheet and spread the granola on top. 

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the baking tray on the center rack of the heated oven. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the granola is a light and golden brown. 

Allow the granola cool for 30 minutes. Sprinkle raisins and dried mango (cut in raisin-size pieces) on top. Stir well. Cool the granola completely.

Store in an airtight jar. Enjoy with yoghurt.

Is this a Christmas gnome? Little hands can never resist the cooling granola on the oven.


Date Bread

December 10, 2015

I always have whey and mash in my freezer, because I make cheese and home-made beer.
If you don't have them, you can replace whey with water and mash with malt and hot water.

2 breads

5 dl (500 g) whey
1 dl (0,4 cup US) mash
25 g fresh yeast
1 tsp salt
1 dl (140 g) Scandinavian dark syrup (or light molasses)
1 dl (60 g) graham flour
1 dl (55 g) coarse rye flour
2 dl (110 g) bolted rye flour

5 dl (325 g) wheat flour 
8 pcs. dried, soft dates

Cut the dates into raisin-size pieces. Put them into a bowl and sprinkle some wheat flour on them. Shake until the pieces are covered with flour. This way the chopped dates won't stick to each other and you can easily use them in the recipe. 

Stir the yeast, salt and syrup into the lukewarm whey and mash mix. Gradually mix in the flours. Add the dates. Knead the dough for 6–8 minutes.

Cover and leave to rise at room temperature until doubled in size. 

Put the dough into two greased tins. Cover and leave to rise at room temperature for 40 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake for 50–60 minutes. The bread is ready if it sounds hollow, when you knock on its base.

Cover and let cool on a wire rack.