I haven’t been blogging much, but I have been baking. Out of the oven last week came a plaited wreath of chocolate and vanilla sweetbread. (I didn’t get a chance to take a photo of that because I was already late for a party.) On here, I’ve added a resources page, which is very much a work in progress and I’m sure contains some things I will look back and laugh at after a few more months of baking.
Loaf 21 is a Romanian loaf called țară pâine from here. Polenta is a staple dish in Romania, so it’s no surprise that this mixes in a cup of yellow cornmeal. The internet is pretty quiet about everyday Romanian bread apart from some legendary and mysterious loaves from Pecica, which are baked over wood fires. So I am more ignorant about this than I’d like to be. There are a couple of sweetbreads I’d like to try - cozonac and Easter bread - but I’ve learned my lesson about not making sweetbreads except when there’s a hearty number of people around to eat it (Hungarian kalacs took forever to get through).
Next up was this Danish rye beauty from Bread & Companatico. I must have mentioned this blog before: the writer, Barbara, is an Italian living in Scandinavia. She shares my obsession with authentic regional recipes, and brings a superior knowledge to it. So I’m always hunting for treasures on there, and discovered one in the shape of this old-fashioned Danish Rugbrød.
This is a good hearty rye recipe, with a soaker of chopped rye and a sourdough leaven. It also has a whole dark malty beer inside it (the recipe makes three loaves), and a spoonful of barley malt syrup. This gives it some interesting depths to the flavour and softens the tang of the rye, which in any case is not too strong.
The recipe gives the slightly odd instruction to leave the loaves in the fridge for 20 hours after they’ve had 4 hours or so to rise. I chickened out of this step, I’m afraid. I was too worried that my loaves were already fully risen and my temperamental fridge would do goodness-knows-what to them. I’ve also read that you’re not meant to retard rye dough. Can anyone shed light on this strange step?
If you do make the recipe on Barbara’s blog, beware that you don’t make too much. I have ended up with four times the amount of bread shown above! A good job rye lasts forever.