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A Taste Of Scandinavia: Caraway Loaf

Scandinavian baking is as beautiful as its landscapes (or so I’ve been told), it is bold but naturally elegant and soul nurturing.

On the weeks ahead of Christmas we embarked on a mission to go to as many food and crafts markets in London as we could.

Some were exciting and fun, and some were soporific. But all the same we enjoyed the chance to have a day out and do some conspicuous shopping of edible seasonal treats.

One we certainly enjoyed was the Scandinavian Christmas Market in the Finnish and Norwegian Churches in Rotherhithe (really close to Canada Water).

I don’t want to instigate an international row but between the  Sjomannskirken Norwegian Church and the Finnish Church, the second was by far the best.

The whole church was handsomely decorated and the air was filled with spices, the mellow smell of freshly baked bread made everybody feel welcomed and warm.

 

One of the attractions was the adorable huskies, kids (and grown ups) could have their picture taken in a Christmasy set and pet the very patient pups.

 

 

Obviously, some of the first things wse bought were several pieces of fragrant, dark Finnish bread.

Before and after our visit to the market I’ve baked different versions of rye & caraway loaves, here is one of the winners for you:

 

This loaf makes a great toast specially if liberally spread with good butter. You will need:

 

  • 300g rye flour
  • 200g strong white flour
  • 1 sachet of dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp black treackle
  • 350ml tepid water
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Method:

Re hydrate the yeast in the water and let it set for 5 minutes.

In  large bowl mix all the dry ingredients, add the olive oil to the water and yeast and mix with the rest. Start incorporating by hand, when the dough comes together transfer to a ligthly olied woreking surface and knead for 15 to 20 minutes.

I know what you are thingking, but believe me, thoise extra minutes will make all the difference. Remember that rye has a low gluten content so you really have to work it twice as hard to develop the structure.
Form a tight ball and let it prove in an oiled bowl. Cover and let it prove for about 3- 4 hours. If  you want a 100% rye loaf, you should prove it overnight.

Preheat the oven at 220C


Knock down the dough down and shape it to be baked in a tin or on a baking tray.  Score the top with a sharp knife or a scoring blade and bake for 30-35 minutes.
You can always dust the top of your loaf before scoring to get a more rustic touch.

Let it cool completely for at least  1 hour before slicing.

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3 Comments

  1. Yes, the baking in Scandinavia (or at least Sweden, where I am) is much different to anywhere else in the world. Their bread is amazing, but they often don’t use strong bread flour, instead using plain for pretty much everything! They especially love rye and seeds in bread! Yours looks amazing!

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    • Thanks! And aren’t you lucky indeed? There are a few good Scandinavian bakeries in London but I do like to make my own, the smell of freshly baked rye bread is positively intoxicating. Hat tip for your ancestors for domesticating such formidable wild grasses!

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      • I am actually British – my husband is Swedish, so that’s how I get to be so lucky and live here! Yes, they did seem to make do very well with their somewhat harsh environment!

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