Awesome Swedish Rye-and-Wheat Overnight Breakfast Rolls

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So recently I have been wanting some Swedish-style breakfast bread rolls that tend to contain rye or whole wheat, and which are awesome slathered with butter, loaded with cheese or charcuterie, or even jam (but maybe not all at the same time), and go amazingly well with hot tea or coffee on a cold winter morning.  Now, these rolls aren’t really something that you buy – they are only really good if you baked them yourself or if someone like a nice relative or friend or a restaurant baker has recently baked them.  They are absolutely best still warm from the oven (though not piping hot), or at most the next day if you stored them well.

Which is to say, if you want those, and especially if you aren’t in Sweden or somewhere where someone is willing, or is paid to, bake those for you, your best bet is to do it yourself.  Thankfully it proved to be remarkably easy, and the results were bleeping fantastic, if I do say so myself.  And I do.  The recipe as given doesn’t suggest any seasonings, and in fact, the rye flavor does shine through really well as is, but I imagine that for next time, I might mix in some linseeds, or some ground fennel, or cumin seeds – whatever spices seem appropriate to you for breakfast rolls with a touch of rye in them.

As far as the recipe is concerned, I haven’t modified it at all – it is a straight translation of the one I found on a Swedish blog called Ett kreativt liv (A Creative Life), and if you would prefer to read it in Swedish, that’s where it is.  My rendition (see below) will include any notes I may consider helpful to people baking this, and my commentary, but the recipe is otherwise entirely unchanged.

The key thing – and the most important one – is that the dough for these must be mixed up the day before you want them.  Don’t worry, though, because it only (literally) takes 5 minutes, and no kneading is involved.  So, without further ado:

Ingredients:  (makes 8 medium or 12 small rolls)

  • 3g dry yeast of any sort
  • 9g salt (fine, any sort – you just don’t want coarse chunks of it)
  • 380g bread flour (‘Special’ flour in Sweden and Finland)
  • 70g fine or medium grind rye flour
  • 350g cold water (yes I weigh my water because it is more precise)
  • 1tsp cumin seeds, or ground fennel, or 1-2 tbsp linseeds, or whatever seasoning you may like with these.  None is entirely acceptable, and in fact, no seasoning at all turns out lovely.

Here’s what you do:

Evening:

  • Weigh out your flours, salt and yeast into a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine.  Weigh your cold tap water in some vessel (or measure it by volume).
  • Dump the water into the flour mix, and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour bits are wet, and no dry particulate is showing.  The dough will be a wet soggy mess and that is fine.  It’ll also look ugly and grey because of rye flour.  That’s normal, too.  Cover with a non-vented lid or a plastic wrap and leave overnight at room temperature.

Morning:

  • Dump, or rather, scrape, the risen and messy mass of gluten strands (eeek, I said ‘gluten’!), onto a very well-floured surface.  This will be still somewhat wet, and a bit sloppy.  Fold on itself 3 times, cover with the upside-down bowl you just scraped out, and let rest 10-15 minutes.  Go take a shower, brush teeth, make a coffee or whatever.
  • Come back and put a sheet of baking paper (parchment) onto a flat baking sheet.  Lift the bowl, and fold the dough a couple times more, then carefully stretch it out into a sausage.  Carefully because you don’t want to degas the dough too much.
  • Using a dough scraper (mine is cheap and plastic), cut the sausage in half, adjust the two halves for thickness if needed – so they are more or less uniform, and chop each half in 4 parts.  Using dough scraper or spatula and your floured hand, transfer the rectangular-ish blobs (I mean, ‘artisanally shaped’ rolls!) of dough onto the baking parchment, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rise for 35-45 minutes at room temperature.
  • In meantime, preheat your oven to +250°C (it can take as little as 10 or as long as your oven may take, so time accordingly).
  • Once the rolls are ready (they won’t visibly puff up much, though they may grow a tiny noticeable amount), stick the baking sheet into the very hot oven in a middle or middle-lower position, and time 12 minutes.  The baking time in my oven was actually 14 minutes, but ovens vary, and the original recipe gave 12-15 minute estimate.
  • Once the rolls have puffed up some and are coloring nicely (after the 12 minute mark because you don’t want to underbake them), take the sheet out and slide the rolls off that onto a cooling rack.

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While the rolls cool, make more coffee, get out butter, cheese, whatever it is you want to have with them, bring it all to the table, and stuff yourself silly, because these are pretty filling, but warm from the oven with butter, they are also so so delicious that you can’t eat just one.  Count on a large breakfast – or make these for brunch.

Sharp Things and an Asian Salad

Good morning, happy October – or something.  The sky outside, to quote my friend N, looks like someone forgot to upload the sky texture file – featureless and gray.  The sun no longer really goes very high up in the sky here, so unless it’s bright and sunny, the days are beginning to get pretty dim.  We are in the opening act of The Long Dark here, taking our Vitamin D fish oil capsules, lighting candles and drinking glögg (Nordic fortified mulled wine).  Cookies and chocolate and cakes come to mind under these conditions, but if I give in to that mode of thinking, I’ll not fit any of my nice clothes before Jul gets here.

Instead, I had gotten it into my head that I don’t eat enough vegetables, and the reason I don’t eat enough vegetables is that a lot of the really good healthy local vegetables we have here in winter season – beets, carrots, red cabbage, green cabbage, etc. – require a lot of slicing and chopping to make into easy-to-eat form.  I do own good knives, but julienne cutting and all of that takes forever, and I don’t have that sort of patience, and never did.  Enter my idea to buy a mandolin to make short work of these.  Now, I bought a big Italian one first, and it proved to be overpriced, huge and dull to boot, so I took it back the next day, and instead invested in a simple slicer by Fiskars (not a sponsored link), and a julienne cutter that looks like a vegetable peeler with cross-blades by I-forgot-what-brand-name.

And what better way to try those out than an Asian-style salad with my favorite dressing?  Eat the rainbow!

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Well, maybe not the entire rainbow, but certainly a large part of the spectrum.  The beets are in the bottom, but there’s quite a bit of red in there hiding under the green.  Now, I am not going to give you a recipe for the salad, because that’s pointless.  Some sliced vegetables you like and have on hand (carrots, cabbage, radishes, beets, cucumber, onions, cilantro, etc.), or whatever else you like will be fine.  What really makes this salad awesome, however, is the dressing – and that comes together in 5 minutes and is really really delicious!

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So, without further ado – to the dressing!  Now, I am no stranger to chili heat, but if you prefer to be cautious with it, reduce the amount or swap out the birdeye chili for something milder.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp soy sauce (I prefer Kikkoman, and no they aren’t paying me for saying that)
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • A splash of fish sauce (literally a splash, and to your taste)
  • A splash of rice vinegar (optional)
  • 1 flat teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 birdeye chili – I don’t seed it, and just slice finely across.  Adjust or replace this to fit your capsaicin tolerance
  • 1 solo head or 3 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 2-3cm knob of ginger, julienned (optional, depending on whether you like ginger, and want the added heat)
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil or other neutral oil
  • 1-2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Combine all the ingredients except the oils in a small bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  Add the oils, and whisk a little with a fork or whatever.  Let stand, and slice your salad vegetables up in meantime.

If you are carnivorously inclined (and I often am), salt, pepper, or season a nice thick entrecote (boneless trimmed ribeye) steak, and sear it 2-3 minutes on the side, or until medium rare, on an oiled cast iron pan preheated to medium-high heat.

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Toss the salad with dressing, put the steak on your plate, and I don’t need to give you further instructions, do I?  We had this with a nice French Sauvignon Blanc, but that, too, is entirely up to you.

The whole thing tastes reminiscent of the Thai beef salads if you’ve ever had those, though I, as always, make no claims of authenticity at all, and it makes for a really great light and beautiful dinner with bright and sharp flavors that doesn’t leave you hungry or unsatisfied – just the right thing for a bland, colorless October evening.  Or at least so it is to me.

Busy Summer, Moving, Etc.

There is neither rant, nor a recipe in this post (unless you count the list of pizza toppings, in case I guess there is), because this is mostly a light-hearted update about my life over the past few months during this blog’s inactivity.  But, if you feel like looking at some pretty photos and reading me blathering about life, plans, and Everything™, then read on!

This summer has turned out to be as busy as the preceding months, and I am not going to apologize for it, or for not posting anything.  And then the school year and the associated deadlines hit, and we were both too busy to breathe for a while.  On top of that, my back and shoulder have been acting up again, and at the moment, my Median and Ulnar nerves are somewhat compressed, which necessitates many silly stretches per day to get them to not be.

Now some of that is past, and we have a little bit of breathing space, so I would like to write an update about the new place (which I love-love-love!), the kitty (kitty!!!), and a bunch of food-related and -unrelated things.  First of all, we’ve gotten a(n adorable) kitten whom we named Valkyria, because she has lightning marks on her paws, so what is she, if not the rider of the storm?

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Disclaimer: no kittens were allowed to actually drink cognac in the making of this photo.

Second, we’ve moved house, and our new place is right in the city centre, and we have a gorgeous view of one of the two city parks from three of our windows, which is great!

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Third, the new rental apartment is really nicely done up inside – according to the realtor who was showing us around, a bank executive used to stay there, and it was made nicer at that point – the door to the  bedroom from hallway was removed, a giant wall closet was put into the bedroom, and instead, a wall between bedroom and living room was cut into a wide arch with two sliding doors which can be opened to create a much larger space.

The bedroom and living room both have balconies, which look out in opposite directions on the building, giving really great ventilation in the summer, and tons of natural light (the windows are full-wall width including the glass door, and extend from 50cm of the ceiling to about 70cm off the floor).

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As a result, my plants are extremely happy – Vanda “Blue Magic” bloomed again – as always, magically so.  Which brings me to the fact that I now have a kitchen with a real door that I can shut (keeping kitty out in case I am doing something which could get kitty hurt, such as baking in shrieking hot cast iron pot or such), and also a windowsill where I can grow actual herbs, which aren’t dying of being miserably light-deprived on the counter.  Ladies and gentlemen, the kitchen:

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When we moved in, my only woe was that the stove in the place (this is a rental) is a hot-plate electric, as I’ve gotten spoiled with IR and induction surfaces, but as it turned out, I shouldn’t have been upset, because while it is an electric hot-plate stove (ick), as those go, it’s a really nice hot-plate stove, which heats up reasonably fast and works well within the limitations of that design.  What’s more, the oven is a really great oven, with tons of settings, and it goes all the way up to 300°C, compared to the 250-275°c maximum for a lot of ovens I’ve encountered recently – making it pretty incomparable for pizza in the field of household non-specialist ovens.  And so there was homemade pizza baked in a cast iron pan, and there was much rejoycing.

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Wild mushroom, red onion, and garlic pizza, to be precise.

The autumn this year has been extremely beautiful, with blue skies, golden shafts of sunlight falling in-between trees, and gorgeous weather, which is to say, not enough rain for mushrooms.  It’d sadden me if I weren’t so damn happy about the weather being so beautiful, which actually makes me not mind.  If I really want some wild mushrooms, there are some in the supermarket, cheaty as that is (which is where the funnel chanterelles on the pizza came from, actually).

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So what have I been doing, in terms of the kitchen witchery?  A few things, actually, and there will be several blog posts to discuss some of these things, but in short, I’ve mostly been baking sourdough bread, and preserving fruit, because for all the mushroom season may be terrible, the fruit this year has been absolutely gorgeous.

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Like these nectarines, for example – these specific ones ended up on a cake, but their brethren have also been made into jam, along with quite a bit of black currants, Italian plums, some pineapple (I am working on a new recipe for pineapple and lime jam, and it’s going rather well), and a box of late-season apricots.

The sourdough is going very much better this year, since my starter, Herr Klegg, has finally reached proper maturity – aided by half a year’s nap in the refrigerator, after which he was grumpy a while.  I had to feed him intensively for a few days, but after that he settled into a nice routine, and behaves well.

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There will be a new recipe for easy overnight sourdough bread coming up – I think I just need one more test in a proper cast iron Dutch oven, and for that I am going to need a Dutch oven, which – squeee! – I am treating myself to next week, along with a mandolin cutter.  The latter is something I’ve wanted for a while, and have finally decided to go ahead and invest in, because I suspect that I will eat a whole lot more vegetables if finely shredding and julienning root veg and cabbage into salads wasn’t such a huge undertaking when armed with just a knife and a cutting board.

So, this autumn and winter I will try to get my shoulder to finally heal, to lose a bit more weight (nothing drastic, just healthier eating), and to reduce both T’s and my stress levels, because we both need that.  But, on the up side, we love our new place, we have an adorable critter who is great against stress (because cuddles and purrs!), and overall, life is treating us well – and I hope it is treating you well, too.

Moving House

Console arrangement ETR

Just as I got done with the dissertation and associated hoopla, and following that, the trip to Stockholm to get the apartment ready to sell, and was about to take a breath of relief, a new project has tumbled into my lap, and this one was both, unexpected and unpleasant, but will hopefully yield worthwhile results:  we have decided to move to another (also rental) apartment closer to the city centre (where the sidewalks are heated in the winter and there is a bedroom overlooking a park), because the price is right, the apartment is better, the location is better, the new place doesn’t have a bathroom designed by friendly space aliens (more about this later, if I feel like a rant, but let’s say I’ll be happy to have a bathroom without features such as a steel airplane-toilet size-and-style sink as the main sink in the bathroom), and oh, a lot of other things.

Which means I am packing, and throwing things out, and giving things away, because moving house is the best de-cluttering regimen known to (wo)man (and it’s working).  And then I am packing some more, and wondering if I really do need all these plates (I do, I use all of them, but I hate that I have to pack them!), and realizing that I haven’t seen some things I own in 2.5 years, which means that unless they are irreplaceable (some things are), out they go.

My giant IKEA blue out-bag is bulging.

Anyway.  Our moving date is June 15th, which is next Wednesday, and thanks to some awesome friends (shoutout to Katie – who has an awesome podcast if you’re wondering about life of American expats in the Nordic countries, and Anlin, who is a yarn, hook, and needles magician, and Sandrita, who all came to help me pack!), I am nearly done with this session of masochism, I mean packing.

After all this upheaval, I am really, really looking forward to our July staycation in Jyväskylä, enjoying the lakes and the emptied-out town, and not doing anything much.  Ok, picnicking, and eating strawberries and more strawberries, and maybe picking wild strawberries, and lots of sleeping in.  Hopefully that also means that I will both, have time to cook, and time to blog about things, so all I am trying to (long-windedly) say, is that normal programming will ideally resume in a month or so.

The beatings will continue until morale improves.  Or something!