Thursday, April 24, 2008
With everything I have going on this week, it's surprising that I've managed to bake bread, too. And possibly one of the best breads ever! Even more surprising, perhaps, is that you can do it without any sort of kitchen machine, and without kneading, at all. And no, this is not that "no-knead bread" from Jim Lahey. I tried that, but it didn't turn out very flavorful, and I thought it was too fiddly and didn't give a strong enough crust.
This one though? Perfect. The idea comes from Swedish baker Anna Bergenstrom, who has had this bread in her cookbooks for years and years. I added some typical bread spices - aniseed and fennel - some crushed linseed, and some sifted rye flour. Rågsikt is a Swedish mixture of 60% sifted wheat flour and 40% sifted rye flour - if you can't get it, you can substitute pretty much any other flour you might want.
600 ml (2,4 cups) water
50 g fresh yeast
2 tsp flaky sea salt
1 tbsp aniseed, ground
1 tbsp fennel, ground
1 tsp sugar
900 ml (3,6 cups) wheat flour
300 ml (1,2 cups) "rågsikt", sifted rye flour and wheat flour (see above)
3 tbsp crushed linseed
Crumble the yeast and add all other ingredients in a large bowl. Stir very well - but no kneading, this should be like a thick porridge. (You might want to add a splash more of water if it seems too dry.) Cover with plastic and leave it to rise for an hour. After that, stir it, cover again, and let it rise for another hour. (After which the photo above is taken - look at that gluten development!)
Pour the dough into greased loaf tins and leave to rise for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your owen to 275°C. When it's good and hot, place the breads in the oven for 12 minutes. After that, lower the heat to 100°C and leave the breads for about 70 minutes.
If you want a strong crust, after 50 minutes or so, you can remove the loaves from the tins, and just have them on the oven rack. You can also experiment with adding steam - I didn't this time, but I probably will on my next try.
Recipe in Swedish: