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Huh, I made it – as promised I shall post a recipe before taking off to Lapland. And the recipe is the long promised Finnish Archipelago Bread commonly known as Saaristolaisleipä. It’s a simple bread to make, though the ingredients might not be so simple to find (unless you are in Finland where they sell all those even in the smallest local store). The original version is here (only Finnish, though).

Finnish Archipelago Bread (makes 2 tin loaves)

1L    Buttermilk

75g    Fresh yeast

420g    Dark syrup / molasses

10g    Salt

60g    Wheat bran

240g    Brown malt

180g    Rye flour

700g    Wheat flour

Butter for the bread pans

35g syrup and 70g water for brushing the loaves during the bake

1. Weight out the dry ingredients into a huge bowl.

2. Warm the buttermilk over a low heat in a pot ’till luke warm.  Measure the syrup and yeast into a bowl and pour the luke warm buttermilk over them. Mix ’till combined, with hand or spoon.

3. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix well ’till everything is fully combined. There’s really no room for kneading here, the mixture is really soggy. That’s why one can also use a spoon – as long as you manage to make everything come together.

4. To make sure that the dough doesn’t rise over the edges, divide it into two bowls. Then cover them with a towel and leave to rest for 90 minutes. After 60-75 minutes you can turn on your oven to 175°C degrees.

5. Once the proofing time is somewhat over, butter two equal bread pans, about 1L volume. Divide the dough into the tins. There’s really no need for punching the dough down, just scrape it out of the bowl right into the pans. If you want to be quite exact, it’s best to use scales and measure that both the pans have equal amount of dough. Then both the loaves will surely get the same bake.

6. Having managed to divide your dough into the pans, place them on a baking rack on the very bottom of your oven.

7. Bake the breads altogether for 2 hours. Don’t mind if they take a lot of color, there’s no need to worry. Just let them be and don’t go opening the oven or covering them. After 1,5 hours of baking, take the tins out one by one and brush them properly with some syrup and water mixture. For equal baking result rotate the tins and place back into the oven for another 30 minutes.

8. Take the bread pans out and leave the loaves to cool into their tins. Cut only once cooled, best would be after a day or few. This bread stays good for quite a while – and actually gets more dense and tasty with the time. I store mine simply covered with a cloth in a room about 21°C degrees, but if you really want to be sure they stay alright, fridge is the best option.

So simple and so good, this bread has something to chew on, too! Best with a little bit of butter and some gravlax.

Marika~

Ps. Been a bit busy for few days, dad and I build a new house for the raccoon dogs. Don’t think they’ll appreciate the central location, though.

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I’ve really learned to enjoy baking bread rolls. They are so quick to make and easy to eat and store. In the bakery they make lots of bread rolls with seeds and that gave me the inspiration to start baking bread rolls with different kinds of seed/flake/flour mixtures at home, too. I used to use mostly just sunflower, but now I have some more exciting ingredients in my storage as well.

Oat bread rolls with millet and flax (enough for 16 bread rolls)

Seed mixture:

30g               Brown flax seeds

30g               Millet grains (didn’t wash mine, but running some cold water through wouldn’t hurt them)

60g               Oat flakes

25g                Honey (also sugar works)

210g              Warm water

Measure everything into a lidded bowl/cup and mix well together. Close the lid and leave the mixture at room temperature for about 24 hours. This way the seeds and flakes will “cook” overnight and are softer in the dough. Sure you can also cook them on the same day by boiling, but I really enjoy this overnight method. Less trouble.

The actual dough:

355g              Seed mixture (made on the day before)

400g              All-purpose flour (being in Germany, I use wheat flour type 550, but it’s the same thing)

8g                  Dried yeast (I guess 11g would do as well, my dried yeast packages here in Germany are just 7-8g, that’s why that amount)

8g                  Salt

210g              Luke warm water

Some water, brown flax seeds and oat flakes for deco

1. Measure all the ingredients into a big bowl and knead through for about 10 minutes ’till smooth and elastic. With machine the dough is probably ready in about 3-5 minutes. If you want to make sure that the dried yeast is properly dissolved, you can first mix it together with the water and only then add into the dough. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough double for about 1,5-2 hours depending on your room temperature.

2. Once the dough is well risen, knead it down with floury hands and place on a floured surface. Measure it into 16 equal pieces, either by shaping it into a roll and cutting it four times in halves or simply by weighting (each piece being about 60g).

3. Shape each piece into a pretty little ball with the help of flour. Measure a little bit of water on a plate and mix about 1dl of oat flakes and 1/2dl of brown flax seeds on another plate. Then dip each roll first into water, then into seed mixture and place on baking paper to rise. Cover and let the rolls rise for about 1-1,5 hours ’till they look bigger.

4. Heat up the oven to 225°C. Bake the bread rolls in the middle level for about 15 minutes ’till evenly golden/brown.

5. Enjoy!

You can also vary the seeds in the mixture, so sunflower, pumpkin, poppy, sesame and co. are good for this recipe as well. And I’m quite sure the same measurements would work with them as well. But haven’t tried those yet, so do it at your own risk.

Marika~

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So, how could a regular homebaker get bubbles in his/her bread? Very easily – all one needs is a wet dough and a gentle touch. This recipe of bread with bubbles bases on the focaccia recipe, but actually now seems quite different than the original version.. Well, the main thing is that both the recipes make delicious bread! For making some bread with bubbles, make sure you have about 3 hours of spare time.

Dough, makes one bread with bubbles

500g /8 dl All-purpose white flour

420-430g /4,5dl Water (the warmer liquid the looser dough, so use cool water in order to make baking easier)

15g / 1/3 of a package Fresh yeast

11g /2,5 ts Salt

30g /3 tbs Oil (been using olive oil, but brother prooved that even regular canola oil works) + some more for later

Spices for topping, I usually use finger salt and rosemary, but anything is possible!

1. Begin by measuring  flour into a bowl. Measure water and yeast into another bowl. Dissolve the yeast.

2. Pour the liquid through your fingers into the flour – this way you’ll catch the possible undissolved bits of yeast.

3. Then combine everything well together until there are no dry parts. Squeeze the dough trough your fingers to make sure there are no flour-lumps. If you want to save your hands from the trouble, using a kneading hook is possible as well. 

4. Once you find no more dry bits, scrape down the edges of the bowl. Then let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

5. Pour the salt on the top of the dough. Then do your first knead (I’ve got a dictionary page for this!), 25 kneads ought to be good. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

5. Second knead and another 10 minutes of rest.

6. Finally do your third knead and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes. I suggest, you cover the dough with a kitchen towel.

7. Next, fold the dough (again, see the dictionary page ) on an oiled baking paper or tray. At this point you should start seeing some bubbles. Always when folding or stretching the dough work with oiled hands. Let the dough rest about 15-30 minutes.

8. Second fold and another 15-30 minutes of rest. Also, turn your oven on to 200 °C. Place an oven tray to warm up there, too.

9. Place a baking paper on top of another tray or cutting board, somewhere where it’s easy to slide off from. Then lift the dough up on the baking paper. Let the bottom edge  hit the middle of the paper. Then let the dough fall a bit towards you and finally fold the upper edge over the rest, so that it reminds “a ball”. Let it rest for 10 minutes.

13. Then gently stretch the dough by placing your fingers underneath it. Keep your fingers straight and do not grab the dough – this is important, so that you don’t damage the bubbles we’ve worked so hard for. Do not stretch the dough too much at once and let the dough have a few minutes of rest every now and then. Keep working, ’till the dough is even and about 2-5 cm thick.

15. Stretch the dough a little bit more and dimple it with your fingers. Dimpling is not necessary, if you are not planning to place anything into the holes. Then put your favourite spices on top and the bread is ready for oven. I suggest you pour some oil on the top as well.

15. Pull the baking paper with the bread on top of the preheated oven tray. Bake the bread in 200°C on the lower part of the oven for about 30 minutes, ’till it’s lovely golden brown.

16. Let the bread cool down a bit, cut open and discover, oh so lovely, bubbles! Enjoy as fast as you can – this bread doesn’t get better as the days pass by…

And now you know how to make this:

And since you got the hang of the dough, it’s possible for you to create bubbles in any sorts of bread you make, huh? Send me some pics, if it turns out awesome!

Marika~

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Huh, another busy week behind – took part in organizing yet another happening (Tulevaisuuskylä) here in my home city. Lots of carrying heavy stuff around – counted over twenty bruises only in my right leg..

Anyway, been also having time to discover new fantastic breads, and so I shall present yet another recipe to you. It’s from a cute little bread book called “Leivo itse hyvää leipää” (Make good bread by yourself). Originally the recipes have been written down by our sweet western neighbors, Swedes, so all thanks to them.

This book is actually one of the few baking books I’ve ever bought myself, and haven’t really before understood the beauty of it. I’d say it lacks pictures, but now the variety of recipes charms me. Having concentrated so long in baking a bread with good structure, it’s refreshing to try out new flavours. Ok, but to the recipe:

Ethiopian thin bread – makes 10 or more mid-size breads

15 g         Fresh yeast

500 g     Cold water

180 g     Barley flour

315 g     Wheat flour

1 ts         Salt

1. Weight out the flours and salt into a bowl. The bowl ought to be quite big, as the dough rises a lot in the beginning.

2. Measure the water and yeast into another bowl and mix them. Add little by little into the flour mixture, trying to avoid lumps from forming.

3. Combine well by kneading. The dough will be quite wet, and you might have to mix it quite powerfully in order to gain a smooth dough. Cover the bowl well with cling film and leave to rest in room temperature for 1-2 days.

4. When starting to bake, heat up a frying pan. High-mid-heat should be fine, and no grease is needed.

5. Measure about a deciliter of dough on to the pan and spread evenly. Bake about two minutes per side. To me, the bread tastes better when it takes no color – even a few brown dots seem to give it a burned flavor.

6. Once your bread is baked, wrap it into a clean kitchen towel, and start working on the next one. A great way to spend the whole evening.. a bit like making pancakes.

Then enjoy, with soup or salad.. or you could even wrap some tuna inside. These breads have a delicious sour flavor in them, that I enjoy. Some might not. They are soft and chewy, too!

More pics can be found here.

Now making some hazelnut bread!

Marika~

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I think I got myself a real treasure when we once were cleaning the school’s closets: A Chinese cooking book written by Jin Cuihong. It’s lovely how the recipes actually do have something Asiatic about them – unlike the ones in Finnish food magazines..

Anyway, I mostly love reading about the meals that have something to do with dough. And so today I tried these sweet buns. It’s funny how they are like peeled pulla, just lacking the cardamom and salt. Try for yourself, they are fun to make and don’t require special ingredients.

Chinese steamed, sweet buns

300g         Wheat flour

200g         Luke warm milk

9g              Fresh yeast

30g            Sugar

1. Weight out the flour and sugar into a bowl.

2. Measure the water and yeast into another bowl and mix them. Add into the flour mixture.

3. Combine well by kneading. It should become harder than your average dough, but not to worry. When steaming, harder dough is handy, as it doesn’t go running around. Cover with a towel and leave to rest for 60 minutes.

4. After proofing, take the dough out on to a table and shape into a roll, about 5cm thick.

5. Cut the dough into 3 cm pieces. This should make about 5-6 chunks.

6. Place these into a pot, that has colander on the second layer – like this one. Then measure somewhat (half) a liter of water into the lower one, and place the colander part and the lid on top. Make sure the water doesn’t reach the buns. Turn on the heat, mid-level ought to be ok.

7. Steam the buns for 20-25 minutes, counting from water boiling.

8. Take the buns out and enjoy. I’d recommed some jam, maple suryp or hot chocolate to got with them!

Note – the pic on the book cover is another recipe, fried buns filled with pork.

Oh, and been lately trying other pulla-kind of creatures too, though my version of this monkey cake was somewhat a failure. Or then it just wasn’t my taste. And to give some color to the post, here’s a beautiful picture of some Finnish fruits (pears, apples and grapes) grown by my mother:

Marika~

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Had some spare time and ended up to this blog page – and therefore just couldn’t resist trying out those myself, Bunny bread rolls!

This recipe is originally via the linked page, but here’s my version in more Finnish measurements. Some pics can be found in my gallery, too.

Bunny bread rolls – makes 24 little bunnies

6dl               White flour

2tbs             Sugar

1ts               Salt

200g          Sour cream

0,5dl          Water 

2tbs            Butter

20g             Fresh yeast

Black peppers

1. Measure the dry ingredients in to a bowl.

2. Measure the sour cream, water and butter in to a pot and heat up on a mild heat ’till hand warm.

3. Dissolve the fresh yeast into the liquid and add this into the dry ingredients

4. Knead ’till smooth and let the dough rest covered for an hour.

5. Having rested, knead a bit to puff the bubbles and divide into 24 equal pieces. They’ll be quite small.

6. Form the pieces into oval shaped balls, like easter eggs, and cover again.

7. Put the oven to heat up to 225°C.

8. Let the rolls rest for about 15 minutes. As it took so long for me even to shape them, I begun working with the first ones almost immediately when I got the last one done.

9. Make the ears and eyes row by row. First cut the ears with scissors. Then make eye holes e.g. with a chopstick. Put little black peppers into the holes and tuck deeper with the chopstick. Move on to the next row, and cover the ones that are done.

10. Check that all bunnies have their eyes inside and ears enough down. Place them to bake into 225°C oven, middle-level for about 10-15 minutes ’till nice and gold. You can use fan to help in the end.

11. Take ’em out and enjoy! You can place them round salad bowl and they’ll be super happy and cute! And just to mention, they tasted super good, too. Mmm..

Marika~

Ps. Could own these for my mother, ‘since it’s Mothers’ day and she likes bunnies – did you spot the french lop?

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The pig

So that anyone even stands a chance of baking this for Christmas, here comes the recipe for the Pig.

Note! More pictures of the process are displayed on the Gallery-page

Dough, makes one good piggy

250g          Mild water

53g             Syrup

20g             Fresh yeast

9g                Salt

80g             Fine rye flour (in Finnish: sihtiruisjauho)

320g           Wheat flour

1. Weight out the flours and salt into a bowl.

2. Weight out the water, syrup and yeast into another bowl and mix them. Add into the flour mixture.

3. Combine well by kneading, cover with a towel and leave to rest for 35 minutes.

4. After proofing, take a little bit (about 50g) of the dough aside and form a ball out of the rest.

5. Place the ball on top of a baking sheet and let it rest covered for 25 minutes.

6. On the meantime, you can roll out the dough taken aside, about 3mm should be a good thickness. Then with the help of a cookie shaper, an apple drill and a pizza slicer, you can form pig nose and ears out of it. The pic underneath shows you how they ought to be like. Cover also these, to avoid them from drying.

7. After the rest-time, attach the nose and ears. Take a little cup of water, and moist the parts from one-side. Glue them into the pig. Be sure you moisture the other ear so that it goes different way around.

8. Then with a chopstick or such make two little holes on the pig’s face for the eyes. Tuck raisins (deep) into the holes. Let the pig rest for another 35 minutes.

9. Put the oven and a tray to heat up to 220°C degrees.

10. When the time comes, slide the pig with the baking paper on top of the hot oven tray, and let them bake  on the low level for 15 minutes.

11. Then take them out to be brushed with syrup-water-mixture (1/3 syrup, 2/3 water) and tuck back into the oven. Now you can lower the heat to 200°C degrees.

12. Let the pig bake for another 15 minutes, ’till nice golden brown. Then take it out, let it cool a bit and enjoy.

Marika~

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