Thursday, September 24, 2015

Britt-Marie's Swedish Round-Loaf

Britt-Marie is my mother-in-law, and this is Donald's translation of her recipe for what he calls "round-loaf" bread.  It's tasty when it's still warm from the oven with cheese (and/or lunch meat, sprouts, etc.), but it also freezes well.  Donald likes it for cold breakfast sandwiches, and it's convenient to take just one wedge out of the freezer and defrost in the microwave.  (About ten seconds per side works for us.)

I've written the recipe exactly as we make it, right down to the speed settings on our combination stand mixer/food processor, but of course you can make it the old-fashioned way, too.  Also, the exact mixture of types of flour can be tweaked according to your tastes.

Though the flours used in this recipe go beyond the typical all-purpose/self-rising varieties, the only really unusual ingredient is something called "light syrup" (ljus sirap).  It's a common baking ingredient in Scandinavia, but we've yet to find it locally.  (IKEA might still stock it, but we don't have one in this area.)  I've seen people online say that you can use honey or corn syrup instead.  The honey will impart the flavor of honey; I'm not sure how different the corn syrup would taste.  "Light syrup" is made from sugar beets, so the flavor of corn syrup will not be identical, but it should work.  If you can find it, there's an English product called "golden syrup" that is said to be the next best thing to genuine Scandinavian "light syrup".

Note: I've left some of the units of measure in metric, because it was just easier than translating.

Britt-Marie's Swedish Round-Loaf

Equip the mixer with the dough hook.
To mixer bowl, add 4 tsp dry active yeast.

In pot on stove-top (med-high heat), melt 1/2 stick (4 Tbsp) butter.
Once butter is melted, add 500mL milk to pot.
Heat to lukewarm / "finger-warm" (feels slightly warm to the touch).
Pour into mixer bowl and mix on setting 2.

Add ½ dL (50 mL) light syrup to bowl.
Continue mixing.
Add 1 tsp salt.

Set mixer to speed setting 1 and continue mixing as you gradually add the following:
1 dL rye flour
3 dL whole wheat flour
10 dL bread flour

Turn speed up to 2 and mix until no loose flour remains in the bowl.
Dough will be sticky.

Remove the bowl from the mixer (and take out the dough hook).
Sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with bread flour.

Cover the bowl with a towel and leave it in a relatively warm spot.
(For instance, on the stove-top, near but not on the recently-used burner.)
For best results, don't leave a ceiling fan going in the same room.

Let rise for about 1 hour.

~ ~ ~

Line cookie sheets with parchment (if desired).

On a lightly floured surface, roll/knead dough for approximately a minute (until "elastic").

Split the dough ball into four equal parts.
Sprinkling the work surface with fresh flour as needed, roll each portion into a ball.

Flatten each ball slightly, then further flatten with a rolling pin.
(If the dough has a tendency to stick to the surface, lift it gently and add more flour underneath.)

Roll until each round is about as large as it can be and still fit on your cookie sheet.
(This, within reason.  Probably no more than a foot wide.  Our cookie sheets are not very large, so our loaves are smaller in diameter, but a bit thicker than they'd be if rolled thinner.)

Place the rounds onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Prick each loaf with a fork (about fifteen times each).

Put the cookie sheets back on the stove-top and cover with a light towel.
Let rise about 20 or 25 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 410°F.

~ ~ ~

When the loaves have risen enough, a slight poke will lift back up and won't leave an indentation.

Bake for about 11 or 12 minutes.

Remove loaves from cookie sheets and place on cooling rack.

Serve warm or allow to cool before storing.
(If you're not eating them right away, they're easier to handle after they've cooled.)

Cut each round loaf into wedges.
(We usually cut them into sixths, but fourths works, too.)

Slice each wedge open (like a bun) to make a place for cheese, sliced meat, and/or vegetables.
(Or you can eat them plain or with butter or your spread of choice.)

Freezes well.