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January 19, 2018


A beautiful start, Janie.

I quite agree, and furthermore I want to know more about every tangent!

So now you're making ryes?

The round kilo loaves of sour Bavarian rye plus a little butter and cheese and sausage sustained me whenever I traveled on the German trains.

My mother took up baking her own bread around the time I was 5. (In part because, back in the early 50s, there was no way to get anything but white bread in the store.) It was really good, especially right out of the oven. And the smell of fresh baked bread does marvelous things to a home.

I had a particular fondness for cinnamon-raisin . . . although cinnamon bread has drawbacks when it comes to sandwiches. I know it was good, because when we had friends over, they went home talking about how they wished they got bread like that at home.

And when I left college and got my own place, I took up baking myself. Just simple whole wheat bread, sometimes with raisins, sometimes not. Cinnamon is more of a challenge, because it tends (at least when I do it) to separate internally at the roll-up interfaces.

It just isn't that hard to do. But it does have one enormous downside: you get so you can't eat bread (except maybe rye) when dining out.

When making rye bread, I warmly recommend using sourdough as leavener. You get a much better taste, and the bread feels better in the mouth.

My family and I eat a lot of bread. During the working week, the kids have vreakfadt and lunch at kindergarten, and my wife and I eat lunch at work, so in the evening, we often don't have a warm meal. Instead, we eat bread and margarine. Baking bread from sourdough is a skill none of us has, so we buy oyr bread, but the local grocery carries a good selection of rye bread. And of course, we have, just in case, about a kilogram of knäckebröd in the cupboard. That kind of bread keeps good for years and I like its down-to-earth taste for change. In addittion, having a stock of that kind of food means that we can survive for a couple of days without electricity or gtocety stores.

I know what an Italian would think of the type of bread we use. I was extolling the virtues of knäckebröd to an Italian acquantance. She responded, curtly, "I prefer my bread fresh." There is very little to answer to it.

Lurker, I'm curious about the margarine. In most people's opinion it doesn't taste nearly as good as butter, and modern medical thinking seems to suggest it's more unhealthy too. Is opinion in Finland so different, and if so, how?

Girl from the North Country,

In Finland, the margarines we usually use for the bread have a transfat content that is quite low and they have clearly less saturated fat than butter. As a result, they are considered healthier than butter and are officially recommended as an essential part of healthy diet.

i usually make sourdough, but we have some hot dogs in the freezer... and while i was snowed-in this week i really wanted a hot dog, but we didn't have any buns or bread. so yesterday i made a loaf of the Incredibly Soft And Light White Bread, just to have bread for hot dogs. it's perfect. uses a 'water roux' method, where you boil some of the flour in water to gelatinize it. makes a soft and buttery and squishy bread, almost like a potato bread.

fry hot dogs in butter. slice the bread, butter it on both sides, fry the bread.

If you want the taste of sourdough without having to feed a starter for days, try the "Artisan bread in five minutes a day" recipe, which is approximately:

4 cups of strong flour (12+% protein)
2 cups of water
7g dried yeast
5g salt

Mix in a lidded plastic box until it looks like porridge. Leave in a warm place for a few hours. Then, stick it in the fridge overnight. It'll keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, and it becomes more and more like a sourdough the longer you leave it.

When you're ready to bake, turn it out of the box, invert it to stretch the gluten over the top, leave to rise for 30 minutes, then bake on "thermonuclear" with a tray of water in the bottom of the oven to provide steam.

Any idiot can do it and it takes almost no effort.

Interesting, Lurker. I think transfats are now totally banned here (cannot check at the moment, on phone) and certainly seen as more dangerous than saturated fat, which seems to be benefitting from a certain rehabilitation. But I have now lived through enough nutritional orthodoxy reversals that I expect this is not the end of the story. Good to get the Finnish take on it however.

I love homemade bread. I could live on it. I dont make it very often, though.

However yesterday I made three oaves of walnut raisin apricot babka. I have eaten one loaf all ready.

As a German I have easy access to so many variants of bread that a full do-it-yourself has become a rarity. I occasionally use ready mixes where only water has to be added and some additional yeast and spice* are optional.
I am a great bread eater but my own talent for all things kitchen is very limited at best. Bought bread is both cheaper and better than what I can produce myself.
German wheat/rye mixed bread (called gray bread around here) and Turkish white are my staple diet with occasional onion bread** and Knäckebrot as addition.

*crisp roast onion most of the time
**not as good as I remember from my childhood but tolerable at the moment.

Lovely post, doc. My mom used to make bread and your post makes me realize how much I miss it. We have 'bread', a number of bakeries and such, but we get it as a special thing rather than something integrated into our (well, my) life.

Not doc (who seems to have not been around for a while - I hope she and Mr Dr are OK), JanieM!

lj has been in the company of a lot of "docs" lately! The term probably has become a habit. Hope you're on the mend, lj.

I used to enjoy making bread, but we have phenomenal bakeries around here, so now I really have to be in the mood. It certainly pays off with the aroma in the kitchen, even when my final product is less than stellar. But salt sticks? Worth it!

Ha! Thanks for the correx! To tell the truth, I read GftNC's comment and it just passed right over my head, it wasn't until seeing sapient's comment that I realized what was meant.

But I'm home now and enjoying it. Not going to be doing any aikido for a month at least, but other than that, I'm right as rain.

My wife and I, who both did linguistics, were lamenting (just a bit) that we didn't become (real) doctors or some sort of medical work. One of the reasons is where else can you wear pajamas to work?

Though this bread thread, especially Hartmut's comment, has me thinking about my mother's cooking. She used to make this onion bread braid that I loved.

Anyway, thanks for the thoughts, things are going well.

Truly excellent news, lj. So very glad to hear it!

Finnish bread to chirp about.

**not as good as I remember from my childhood but tolerable at the moment.

My long search for a rye that matches what I remember from my youth has not been fruitful (funny term for this). Pain D'Avignon's caraway rye - I think a strictly small regional product - is close, but hard to find.

I made a whole wheat sourdough loaf yesterday and have been nibbling my way through the loaf since.

My wife was diagnosed as pre-diabetic last year, which resulted in a crash diet correction and wildly cutting carbs. With experience she's adding things back; my bread recently made the list, with buns and rolls out being a rare treat due to their added sugar content.

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