Seville Orange & Caraway Bread

May 25, 2016

Finland is a great power, a great power of caraway seeds. Finnish farmers grow almost one third of the world's caraway production. The crop is mainly exported to Europe, USA and India. It's easy to cultivate caraway in northern latitudes. And what's more, long hours of sunlight in the summer and cool growing season ensure fruits that contain higher levels of essential oils and taste than those produced in other main growing areas.

Caraway arrived in Finland early and it was most commonly used in the kitchen in the west of Finland and was almost unknown in the east of the country. It's a strong tradition here in Southwest Finland to put caraway seeds to bread dough. It's no wonder I like the aroma too. That's why there are lots of caraway seeds in this recipe. If you don't like them, 3 tbsp is enough. Or, just leave the seeds out and the lovely taste of Seville orange stands out. 

By the way, the dough is very heavy. Use a food processor to mix and knead it.

2 breads

First day

5 dl (275 g) rye flour
1 tbsp Seville orange peel powder (bitter orange peel powder)
5 dl (500 g) boiling water

Combine rye flour, Seville orange peel powder and boiling water in a mixing bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave at room temperature overnight.

Second day

5 dl (500 g) lukewarm water
50 g fresh yeast
1 tbsp salt
the starter dough from the evening before
10 dl (550 g) rye flour
6 tbsp caraway seeds
1,5 dl (210 g) Scandinavian dark syrup (or light molasses)
3 dl (170 g) rye flour
7-8 dl (450 - 500 g) wheat flour

Dissolve yeast and salt in the lukewarm water. Mix in the starter dough. Gradually mix in 10 dl rye flour and knead the dough about 8 minutes. Cover and leave to rise at room temperature for 4 hours. 

Knead in the seeds, syrup and the rest of the flour. Cover and leave to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes. 

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, shape the pieces into two long loaves and put them into two oiled bread tins.

Cover and leave to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake for about one hour on the lower rack of the oven.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Use a spray bottle and mist the breads lightly with water and wrap the breads in a tea towel. When totally cooled, wrap the breads tightly in a plastic bag and let set 1–2 days before you slice them.


Rye Crispbread

May 18, 2016

Cottage life is something every Finn grows up with. A cozy cabin or a cottage in the country is an essential element of our holiday seasons. It's all about having a good time with friends or the family and doing nothing. 

Who cares if it's cold outside? For us summer (and summer cottage life) has just begun. It's time to bake crispbreads, because many traditional Finnish cottages don't have mod cons. 

12 pcs. 

5 dl (500 g) milk 
13 g fresh yeast 
1 tsp salt 
5,5 dl (300 g) rye flour 
2 dl (120 g) fava bean flour 
6 dl (400 g) wheat flour 
On top: 
caraway seeds 
sea salt flakes 

Mix together lukewarm milk, yeast and salt. Stir until the yeast is dissolved completely. Add the flour and knead about 3 minutes. 

Cover and leave to rise for 45 minutes. 

Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface and divide it into 2 pieces. Roll out each piece to a thin sheet. With the help of a lid cut out circles of dough with a diameter of 20 cm. Place on parchment lined trays (2 crispbreads / tray). Continue rolling and cutting until all the dough is used up. 

Let rise for 10 minutes. Poke the surface randomly with a skewer. Spray with water, sprinkle the caraway seeds and sea salt flakes and pat lightly. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake for 15 minutes per tray. 

Place on a rack and allow to cool.


Lohja Loaf

May 13, 2016

Apple buttermilk loaves are traditional breads from Lohja, a small town located in the province of Southern Finland. You don't find these loaves at groceries, but sometimes food vendors sell them at fairs.

3 small loaves 

2,5 dl (250 g) buttermilk 
5 dl (2 cup, US) unsugared apple mush 
1 dl (140 g) Scandinavian dark syrup (or light molasses) 
40 g fresh yeast 
1,5 tsp salt 
8 dl (450 g) rye flour 
7–8 dl (400–450 g) dark wheat flour 

Blend the lukewarm buttermilk, apple mush, syrup, yeast and salt together. Add 8 decilitres of rye flour. Knead for couple of minutes. Add dark wheat flour as necessary and knead briskly another 8 minutes. 

Cover the bowl and set in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size. 

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it. Shape the dough into three small loaves. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, place the breads on it, cover and leave to rise at room temperature. 

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Poke the surface with a cake tester or bamboo skewer and bake for about one hour. 

Brush the breads with syrup-water mix. Transfer to a wire rack, cover and let cool.


Circus Rusks

May 06, 2016

We have named these tea rusks Circus Rusks because they have an ability to disappear. Now you see them – Simsalabim! – now you don't. You have to be fast and rush to the kitchen or the family has already eaten them! 

25 pcs. 

2 eggs 
1,25 dl (120 g) sugar 
1 tsp vanilla sugar 
2,5 dl (160 g) wheat flour 
hint of salt 
1 tsp baking powder 
150 g hazelnuts 
25 g melted butter 
butter and breadcrumbs to line the cake tin 

Beat the eggs and sugars well. Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl. Add nuts to the flour mixture and mix well. Add the flour mixture and melted butter to the egg mixture and stir until combined. Pour batter into the prepared cake tin. 

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Bake for about 40 minutes. 

Take the bread out of the tin and let it cool down for a while. 

Slice the cake into 25 slices. Put the slices on a baking tray and place them in the oven heated to 200°C. When the rusks are golden brown turn the heat down to to 75°C and dry until crunchy and light.


Lazy Baker's Breads

May 01, 2016

No time or energy to bake homemade bread? Don't worry! These recipes come to your rescue. Stir the ingredients together and pour the mixture into a tin. Time and the oven take care of the rest.

Malt Loaf

Malt Loaf with a touch of butter and a slice of mild cream cheese is a worldly heaven. In a summerly sandwich the bread is paired with fresh cheese, iceberg salad and cucumber. In winter it's a good companion to ripe pears and mild Brie. Malt Loaf is also a perfect bread for a tuna lunch box sandwich. 

Clay Pot Bread

If you have a clay pot, now it's time to put it into use. This delicious bread is one of my favorites, not least because it will only take minutes to make it ready for the oven. 

The bread has strong flavor and dense consistency, which make it perfect base for irresistible party bites. It's easy to slice the bread and then cut the shapes out of the bread e.g. with a flower cookie cutter.

If you love peas like me, make a pea spread on the pea bread. Too much? Not at all!

Pea Spread

Put 200 g peas, 400 g cream cheese, small amount of milk, lemon juice, black pepper an salt into a food processor and mix until smooth. You can also add mint leaves, oregano or a garlic clove into the spread if you want to. 

You have to mix the starter dough the day before baking, but otherwise this is quick and an easy-to-make bread. What's more, this bread is perfect for one-person households, because it is at its best when it has been kept in the fridge where it stays good for several days.

This recipe was invented by accident, when I was longing for freshly baked bread for my evening tea and realized that I have extremely little yeast and flour at home. I was too lazy to grocery shopping. I use what I had and the laziness was abundantly rewarded. This irresistible chewy bread has been one of my favourites right from the first bite.