Thursday, July 23, 2015

Rye No-Knead Bread with Orange, Fennel, Anis, and Cardamom

I love the spiced Swedish "limpa" that is so popular here in Sweden.  Limpa means "loaf" in Swedish but refers to a particular type of bread which is spiced and has a lot of sugar syrup in it to sweeten it. It is particularly popular at Christmas. Swedes routinely put various spices into their bread. For example, most sweet breads, like cinnamon rolls, have cardamom in the dough. The old fashioned limpa generally has "bread spice" which you can buy pre-mixed in a packet in Sweden.  The other day, I decided to try to mimic this flavor using my quick and easy no-knead bread recipe. I added a bit of rye flour to get a more earthy flavored bread and dumped in a bunch of spices.  A tad more honey and a generous amount of raisins give it sweetnes.  I stuck it in the oven, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.  The loaves were delicious! Both loaves were polished off by me and my two sons in one afternoon...we were so full of bread that we skipped dinner.  There was just a small bit left in the morning, which my sons ate for breakfast.  I call that a success.

2 loaves

25 grams fresh yeast

3 dl water
1 dl filmjölk, buttermilk or yogurt
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
9 to 11 deciliters flour
1 dl fine rye flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground anis seeds
zest of one orange
about 1 dl orange juice
2 dl raisins

In a large bowl, pour in the water, which you have run from the tap

to feel warm but not hot with your fingers.  If the water is too hot, it will kill your yeast.  Crumble in the yeast and stir until the yeast is dissolved.  If your spices are whole, grind them now in a mortar and pestle or other spice grinder.  Add the ground spices to the yeast.
 Zest the orange and add to the yeast mixture.  Cut the orange in half and then juice the orange. It should be about 1 dl.  Add the orange juice to the bowl. Add in the filmjölk, salt, and honey. Stir to combine.

Dough after all the flour is mixed in.
Add the rye flour and then the regular flour, a bit at a time until the dough starts to form a ball. At first it will look like you have too much flour and it will look shaggy.  Stir it a bit more and the flour will absorb more
Dough with raisins forming a ball.
water. Give it a good stir to make sure that all the flour is well mixed in. 
If you have the perfect ratio of flour and liquid, it will come together as a ball and your bowl will be clean, although the dough will still be very
Dough doubled after 2 hours.
sticky.  But if this doesn't happen, don't worry. This recipe is forgiving.
Add the raisins to the dough and mix again until the raisins are nicely distributed through the dough.  Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let stand in a warm and draft-free place for 1 ½ to 2 hours.  The dough should more than double.

Pre-heat an oven to 225 degrees C.  Pour the dough out onto a well floured board or smooth counter-top.  Divide the dough into two pieces, making sure your hands are well floured.  Lay each piece onto a baking sheet covered with parchment.  Dust each loaf with flour.  Let it rest with a cloth over it while the oven warms. When the oven is hot, you can slash the loaves with a very sharp or serated knife, if you like.  The dough is quite soft so if your knife is not very sharp, it will just mush the dough.  If so, you can just skip this step.  You do not need to let the bread rise a second time, it will rise further in the often. 

Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until nicely golden brown on top.  Take out and let cool, preferably on a rack of some kind, in order to let the moisture from the bread dissipate.  If you just rest it on your cutting board, the moisture coming out of the bread as it cools will make your crust soggy.

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