Autumn and I return – Blackberry and Apple Loaf

Blackberries

Cannot believe I have not posted since the Spring. Somehow lost my focus, but an amazing holiday in Denmark and Norway has completely inspired me to cook again.

Why, you may wonder?

The list is long however one word, maybe two…or three, sums up the impressions our summer holiday left with me.

Natural – Wholesome – Simple

Bread is not just bread; it is seeded, it is rye, it is wholemeal, it has nuts in it, berries – dark chocolate. Wow! That is one recipe that will be shared eventually!

The environment is not just used; it is adored, appreciated, cherished, looked after. Every turn takes your breath away. Every turn inspires dreaming and laughter. Maybe some of the dreams created whilst there will be shared eventually!

People are not just strangers that pass you by; they are strong, sturdy, friendly, helpful and kind souls who make a proper effort to make your day better than it already was. True selflessness and kindness. Inspiring.

Walks are not just walks; they are rejuvenating, awe-inspiring, berry picking, soul enlightening miracles. And from the walks come fruit – berries – and from those berries come wonderful recipes. One of which I will share with you now. 🙂

Picking

We had friends over a few weekends ago and went for an amazing walk through fields of clover, parks, over little bridges and close by lakes. All along the way were rows and rows of blackberry bramble; bursting with ripe berries. I made a mental note and promised the children to return with bags and bowls…

For those that have followed this blog for a while, and cooked my recipes, you will know that I always try to incorporate healthy aspects into every meal (almost anyway!).  This gorgeous blackberry and apple loaf is no different. Very easy, very quick – moist – full of flavour, rye and fruit. A great lunch box or after school treat or a lovely Sunday breakfast or tea time surprise for the family.

What goodness will it give you?

  1. Exercise, a smile on your face, your children out of the house and maybe muddy shoes – picking the berries of course!
  2. Vitamin A & C, dietary fibre, heart-healthy fats, potassium and calcium – blackberries are an amazing addition to your diet. They are one of the berries women are advised to eat if they would like a flatter stomach (or so I have heard…)!
  3. Potentially cancer reducing – apple peel has quercetin in it – some studies have shown this to be a cancer reducing food.
  4. Slow releasing energy – rye! Read more here: benefits of rye

No excuses – get your wellingtons on, get into the outdoors, and pick those blackberries before they disappear.

Blackberry and Apple Loaf

150g rye flour

100g plain flour

175g butter (can be substituted for vegetable oil or apple sauce)

100g dark brown unrefined cane sugar

5 tbsp. Demerara sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. baking powder

2 eggs

Zest of an orange

1 green apple grated (NOT peeled)

225g blackberries

  • Pre heat your oven to 180C
  • Grease a loaf tin using either butter or vegetable oil (approximately 1.5L)
  • Place the two flour types, butter (or oil/applesauce) and two sugar types in a mixing bowl
  • Combine with your fingers until the mixture resembles bread crumbs
  • Take 5 table spoons of this mixture and place it in a separate bowl – you will use this as topping at the end
  • Add the cinnamon to the topping mixture
  • Add the baking powder to the flour mixture
  • In a separate bowl combine eggs, the zest of orange and the grated apple
  • Pour the fruit mixture into the flour mixture and combine with a fork – do not over-mix (this will make a harder textured cake)
  • Gently fold the blackberries into the dough, again making sure not to over-mix
  • Spoon the dough into the loaf tin, sprinkle with the topping and place in the warm oven for approximately 1 hour (or slightly longer depending on your oven/tin etc. Please insert a skewer into the loaf after an hour to check that the dough is fully baked). If the cake starts looking a little dark for your liking simply place some tin foil over the top of it and leave to bake until it has finished.
  • Let it cool in the tin on a wire rack for a good 30 minutes before removing.
  • Serve as is or with crème fraiche/ice cream/custard….
  • (the little jar in the pictures below contains blackberry and ginger compote – great with cheese! That recipe will have to follow)

(for more information on the healthy benefits of almost anything: http://health.learninginfo.org/)

ApplesBlackberry and Apple LoafFinished LoafAs a gift?

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Rye #6 – Sticky Cinnamon Buns

Despite the ability to post on rye recipes probably for ever, this will be the last recipe in the series for now! To be honest, this one is the guilty pleasure of the series and really I am posting it to show that you can adapt any recipe and add rye, without killing the flavour.

I adore cinnamon rolls. They are very much part of the Danish culture and my preferred pick from the Bakers on a Sunday morning (when in Denmark!) They go hand in hand with celebrations, treats, coffee…. any excuse to indulge slightly.

The classic ones are very buttery, puff pastry like, with a lot of cinnamon and usually icing sugar on top. These are not what I would call classic Danish cinnamon rolls, in fact, when I presented them to the children they sort of wrinkled their noses a bit – even if young they know their cinnamon rolls! However, within the first bit there was silence….and with the last bite…finger licking. Always signs of a good snack! I adapted my normal recipe – here – quite substantially.

Hope you enjoy – have to admit – despite the rye flour addition, these are still what I would classify as a naughty food! 🙂 Crunchy on the outside, soft and sweet on the inside!

PS – Apologies – the pictures did not turn out well, bad day for photography, thank goodness the flavours did!

Dough

300ml lukewarm milk
100g melted butter
80g caster sugar
20g fresh yeast – (or 3/4 tsp dried yeast)
1 tsp ground cardamom – if you cannot find, crush cardamom seeds in a pestle and mortar
1 egg
300g plain flour 
250g rye flour
 

Filling

75g soft butter
120g light brown soft sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
 

Glaze

100 ml water
85g caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
 
  •  To make the dough, lightly warm the milk and butter in a saucepan
  • Once the butter has melted, pour the liquid into a bowl and let cool to finger warm
  • Add the sugar, yeast, cinnamon and egg and whisk to combine, ensuring the yeast dissolves
  • While stiring, slowly add the flours until you have a dough ball that may still be slightly sticky. Transfer this to a clean bowl and cover with a tea towel – let rise for about an hour in a warm place. If your house is cold – a good trick is to turn your oven on 20-30C and leave the bowl in there, with the door slightly ajar. This works really well so long as you do not let it get any warmer than that!
  • While the dough is proving, combine butter, sugar and cinnamon to create the filling – yum! This is so tasty! In the pictures the filling looks grainy; my butter was too cold. Warmer butter will create a soft spread which is easier to work with. The end result is the same though so don’t worry either way.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and knead a few times on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough to a rectangular shape, leaving it a good 5mm thick.
  • With a spatula or big spoon, spread the filling onto the dough ensuring all is covered
  • Roll the rectangle dough up from the long end, until a sausage is formed!
  • Cut the rolls – in a triangle if you want as I did or simply thick slices are also fine. You want to cut them quite thick as this creates a more impressive finished product! 5cm probably. If you cut a triangle, stand on lined baking sheet. If slices, lie them down.
  • Leave on the lined baking sheets for about an hour to rise – covered with a tea towel
  • Pre-heat oven to 200C and bake the buns until golden – 20-25 minutes
  • While the buns bake make your glaze – add all ingredients in a saucepan and cook for about 15 minutes – it will still be watery but slightly thicker than when you started. If you want a thick glaze, let cook for longer and just check as you go – and stop cooking when it reaches the consistency you like
  • Remove the buns from the oven, place on a wire rack – lay something underneath as it gets messy – and drizzle the glaze over them. Use it all…go large!
  • Enjoy….

Dough will be slightly sticky 

Very tasty dough….

Dough will double in size once left in a warm place

Roll and fill

 Place on baking tray and leave in a warm place to rise again

The dough puffs up and the buns sink slightly

Sticky, warm and irresistible!

Rye #5 – Thin Rye Crisps

If you have ever gone to IKEA you most probably will have seen the massive, round rye crisps – with a hole in the middle. Essentially, that is what this recipe will make you – but slightly thinner (as this makes a more crisp, crisp!) and I make mine smaller so they are snack size for the children after school.

Why the hole in the middle? In older days when these were made, they were hung on poles to dry by the fire. Cute right?

The recipe is an adaptation of several recipes and my own experimentation! I have added bits from one, bits from another, therefore mentioned must be the recipes of London’s Nordic Bakery, Nigel Slater and Annie Rigg. You can, of course, just buy them at the supermarket but what would be the fun in that? These come out all different shapes and sizes, uneven and individual! Cute as a gift, maybe with a jar of homemade hummus?

As always, full of rye, seeds, quinoa – all great for you! Don’t consider this a diet snack because it actually is not meant to be! It is just a light and crunchy bread that tastes great! How to eat this? With dips – hummus, pesto, olive tapenade or with salmon and cream cheese, mackerel pate, cottage cheese, brie and peppers, as a side to any salad, in the children’s lunch box with a bit of butter on….so many ways! Hope you enjoy!

Thin Rye Crisps

100ml luke warm water
100ml luke warm milk
100g butter (can be substituted with a few tbsp olive oil or omitted)
10g fresh yeast
400g rye flour
100g plain flour
4 tsp small seeds – caraway, sesame, poppy or even sunflower seeds
1 tsp quinoa
1 tsp salt
Optional sea salt for sprinkling
 
  • Gently heat milk and water in a pan until finger warm (if you decide not to add butter, add a bit more water or the olive oil at this stage)
  • Put the yeast in a large bowl and pour the luke warm liquids over the top – whisk the liquids until you have dissolved the yeast
  • Measure out your flour, seeds, quinoa and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and combine until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the luke warm liquids to the mixture – combine to form a ball –
  • If you find your dough to be quite sticky this is also OK – it might be a bit tricky for yo to roll out the crisps later but once baked the taste will be fine. If you do not want it sticky, add a bit more flour
  • Leave in a warm place to rise for an hour – it will probably only puff up slightly but this is fine
  • Pre-heat oven to 210C
  • Once risen, on a slightly floured surface, roll out your dough – thin but not so it falls apart! Probably 2-3mm
  • If you want round crisps, roll little dough balls and use a rolling pin to shape – make a hole in the middle
  • If you want rectangular ones – cut them to that shape. Use cookie cutters to make hearts or other shapes too…cute for different occasions
  • Place the crisps on lined baking trays and punch holes in them with a fork or a grating board – works a treat! You may even be in the possession of a proper, Swedish thin crisp rolling pin…use it if you are!
  • Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt – if you like!
  • Place in the warm oven and bake for between 10-15 minutes – watch them carefully as they are not nice if burned but not crisp if undercooked. Dark brown is good.
  • Let cool completely on a wire rack and store in air tight container.

Dough BallRectangular

For round thin crisps

After school snack or in the lunch box!

Rye #4 – Stress Free Carrot and Rye Breakfast Rolls

The reason these are called stress free buns is that you make the dough the day before and leave it to cool overnight – then grab it when you want it, shape your rolls and place them in a cold oven, turn it on and cook for 35 minutes – the result being amazing! While they are cooking you can go for a short run, take a shower or bath, play with the children, read the paper…what ever you fancy! And when your timer goes off, breakfast is served – stress free! Combine with a big mug of coffee, some orange juice, slice of cheese with a dollop of strawberry compote…heaven!!!!

As with all my rye recipes they are jam-packed with goodness! The seeds and carrot only add to it – and the children absolutely adore them.

I like to make the dough on a Friday afternoon – sometimes a double portion – then Saturday and Sunday breakfast becomes a treat and a really lovely time where we can sit together as a family and enjoy. There is nothing like a freshly baked roll in the morning.

This recipe is a mix of my Dad’s and my Mum’s – thank you both!

300ml (ish) luke warm water
15g fresh yeast or 1.5 tsp dry yeast
Drizzle of honey
250g rye flour
150g plain flour
1.5 carrots – grated
Handful sunflower seeds or more
Salt
1 tbsp olive oil
 
  • Pour luke warm water into a big bowl and dissolve the yeast – fresh or dry – in it with a wooden spoon
  • Drizzle honey in and stir
  • Add the flour – both types – stir to combine. What you want is a dough that is sticky but not runny. It should make your hands messy…but not too wet. You definitely do not want it too dry. So add the flour slowly and stir as you go.

  • Throw in the grated carrot and seeds, season with salt and add a bit of olive oil – about 1 tbsp
  • Put a lid or tea towel over the bowl and leave in a cool place. If you have a larder, great, if not the fridge is good. Walk away!
  • The day after, the dough will have risen and be spongy, it may also smell slightly sour and yeasty. That is fine! It will not have risen a lot as the rye flour is heavy.

  • Shape small dough balls with your hands and place the rolls on a lined baking tray – as mentioned earlier the dough will be sticky. Rolling each bun in a little flour will make it easier and neater – for a more rustic appearance, see note further down!

  • Pop in a cold oven, turn it to 225C and bake for 30-35 minutes
  • Let cool for about 10 minutes before eating

If you are lazy, or do not want to get your hands sticky, you can simply drop the batter onto the baking tray with a wooden spoon – this will give you a more rustic looking bun and it does not affect the flavour at all!

Rye #3 – Quinoa, rye and seed quiche pastry

This third rye recipe I have used for years and come back to again and again. It is really easy, looks beautiful, tastes great, is healthy and can be used for many different occasions – buffet lunch, breakfast, brunch or an easy dinner when served with a side salad.

Prepare the pastry the night before and leave in a cold oven with a tea towel over it until needed. This will make it stay crisp as well as reduce stress levels if you are making them for a special occasion. Simply pop the filling in 45 minutes before you want to eat and stick it in the oven.

Everyone in our house has their own favourite filling so I often make two or three. They taste great cold the next day and you can also pop it into the lunch box if you fancy.

Filled with rye (read benefits here) and seeds as well as, depending on your choice of filling,  fresh vegetables, cheese, eggs or bacon, it is hard not to ENJOY!

Quiche Pastry – makes 1 quiche

110g plain flour
55g rye flour
Handful of quinoa
1 tbsp of both sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil
Cold water to combine pastry
 
  • Preheat oven to 200C and grease and line pastry tin.
  • In a bowl combine flour, seeds, salt and quinoa. Slowly add olive oil and water and knead by hand until all ingredients form a dough ball that is not sticky.
  • Lightly flour your working surface and roll out dough with rolling pin. Transfer into pastry tin, it does not matter if this happens in smaller pieces that you mold together in the tin, ensuring that the dough not only covers the base but also goes half way up the sides – this to ensure your filling does not overspill. Save a small piece of the pastry for “mending” holes – see below!
  • Prick with a fork and pre-bake (empty) for 15 minutes (should be light brown).

  • When out of the oven you may notice that the pastry has contracted slightly in places – mend the holes with a bit of the raw pastry if this is the case – to ensure no holes.

Egg/cream topping mixture

This mixture goes on top of the various types of quiches – depending on filling. If you do not eat eggs, or want to avoid the calories from eggs and cream – I suggest making the spinach quiche as you can omit the topping for this one and simply sprinkle with some cheese. The spinach is moist enough on its own.

4 eggs and 200ml double cream (for egg/bacon, leek/bacon and tomato/onion quiche)
2 eggs and 4 tbsp double cream (for spinach quiche)
Grated cheddar cheese
 
  • Simply beat the eggs and cream together with a fork in a bowl

Filling Ingredients

Egg and Bacon quiche – great for breakfast or brunch

200g pack bacon lardons
200ml creme fraiche
Pinch ground nutmeg
 
  • Pre-heat oven to 200C
  • Fry bacon in a pan until brown
  • Put on paper towel to dry off excess oil
  • Add bacon and creme fraiche to egg/ double creme mixture (as above)
  • Season with nutmeg
  • Pour the filling into the pastry in the tin and sprinkle cheese on top
  • Bake in pre-heated oven for 40-45 minutes

Egg and Bacon

Simply egg is also good 

Spinach, feta and sun dried tomatoes quiche – great lunch or dinner

500 g of chopped, frozen spinach
20 sun dried tomatoes – or more if you like
Feta cheese to taste
Salt, nutmeg
 
  • Thaw spinach in a bowl
  • When defrosted add chopped sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese broken into pieces (quantity depends on your personal preference)
  • Season with salt and nutmeg
  • Put filling into the pastry in the tin
  • Pour over egg/cream filling and sprinkle cheese on top – or simply sprinkle with cheese and avoid the egg and cream all together.
  • Bake for 35 minutes if you added the egg/cream but only for 20 if you did not.

You can omit sun dried tomatoes and add pine nuts as I did here 

Onion and tomato quiche – brunch, lunch or dinner

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 onions – sliced thinly
3-4 ripe tomatoes
 
  • Gently fry sliced onion in a little olive oil until soft
  • Spread onto pre-baked pastry base
  • Pour over egg/cream filling
  • Slice tomatoes thinly and layer on top of the egg/cream mixture
  • Sprinkle cheese on top
  • Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes

Leek and bacon quiche – lunch or dinner

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 leeks – sliced
200g pack of bacon lardons
 
  • Cut the leek length wise, not all the way through – enough to open it slightly. Rinse it under cold water to ensure you get any dirt out. Leek is often full of soil!
  • Slice the leek thinly and gently fry it in a little olive oil until soft but not brown
  • Spread onto pre-baked pastry base
  • Fry bacon in a pan until brown
  • Put on paper towel to dry off excess oil
  • Sprinkle the bacon lardons over the leek
  • Pour over egg/cream filling
  • Sprinkle cheese on top
  • Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes

This one was eaten too fast to get a picture!! The leek goes ever so soft and slightly sweet…beautiful!

Rye #2 – Muffins with Rye,Raspberry,Strawberry and Quinoa

Eat and be very, very, berry healthy! Literally!

I discussed the benefits of rye in my blog a few days ago – if you missed it read it here – and this recipe is a fabulous example of a treat that is a deceptive bomb of healthiness! My children, and us adults, love them and I make them for after school snacks or as pudding when they have play dates.

Raspberries actually deserve a blog of their own but for now I will just mention a few of their benefits:

  • help to sustain energy levels
  • promote more youthful-looking skin
  • promote weight loss – this because raspberries have a low glycemic load which stabilises blood sugar thus keeping those bursts of “cravings” at bay! I am sure we could all benefit from a few handfuls of them after December’s food mania!
  • rich in vitamin C
  • fat, cholesterol and sodium free
  • high dietary fibre content
  • contain more antioxidants than any other fruit – thus helping to combat the free radicals created in our bodies by our consumption of:
    • Fried food
    • Excess consumption of alcohol
    • Irradiated foods
    • Air pollution
    • Smoking
    • Ultraviolet radiation from the sun
    • Excessive exercise

A few became many – sorry – but I was amazed at how good raspberries actually are for you! So go ahead, make these very easy and quick muffins and enjoy a treat that for once is really good for you and your children as well as gorgeous to look at not to mention smell – mind, body and soul fulfilled! 🙂

Rye, Raspberry and Strawberry Muffins – adapted from an Easy Living Magazine recipe

Makes about 8 large muffins

75g caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
150g rye flour
100g plain flour
2 tbsp quinoa
50g chilled butter
175ml milk
1 large egg
100g raspberries
75g strawberries – halved
 
  • Heat oven to 200C
  • Place sugar and baking powder in a bowl
  • Sieve in the two kinds of flour – tip the grains left in the sieve into the mixture – don’t want to lose the goodness there!
  • Grate the butter – this is always really funny – strange feeling! Combine into the flour mixture using a fork – children happily do this bit

  • Add the quinoa – can be omitted but gives a nice crunch and is so so good for you!
  • Beat the egg and milk together in a separate bowl
  • Add egg/milk to the flour mixture and gently combine – do not overstir as this will make low, hard muffins. The mixture should be lumpy – far from smooth
  • Add the berries and gently fold them into the mixture
  • Spoon the mixture into muffin cases and cook for about 25 minutes – or until risen and golden brown!
  • Let cool on a wire rack before enjoying – they are also good day 2 but probably won’t last!

Enjoy, once again, the feeling of being the best mum or dad in the world when you hand your children these!

Read more on raspberries and berries in general here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry

http://superberries.co.uk/berries/

Rye #1 – Rugbrød (Sourdough Rye Bread)

The New Year is here and the children’s mood swings as well as scales are a gentle (or not so gentle!) reminder that December’s sweet and indulgent time must come to an end…at least for a little while. So, with this in mind I am, over the next few weeks, in the name of health, going to share with you a series of rye flour recipes that I love and make often.

Being Danish, Rye is very much part of my every day life and I am a passionate advocate of it! I rarely eat any bread that does not contain it and try to incorporate it into cakes and pastries also. Most of the time the children do not even know they are eating it.

So what is rye and why bother? Rye is a cereal grain, known scientifically as Secale cereale, which looks like wheat but is longer and more slender. It is one of the most recently domesticated cereal crops. Unlike some other cereal grains that can be traced back to prehistoric times, rye was not cultivated until around 400 B.C. It was first grown in this manner in Germany. Rye is thought to have originated from a wild species that grew as weeds among wheat and barley fields.

Unfortunately, ever since the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans, this nutrient-rich grain has not been widely enjoyed. In many countries, rye seems to have been relegated to the back of the shelves – maybe out of sight out of mind? Luckily for me, in some food cultures, including my Danish one, rye is still widely used and retains an important position. Especially in Denmark, rye bread (rugbrød) holds an especially esteemed position – hence the recipe I will be posting today!

  • Rye contains high levels of proteins and fibre. It contains good amounts of iron, calcium and zinc and a whole slew of B and E vitamins
  • Rye contains a lot of soluble fibre which slows down the release of carbohydrates and sugars, so that you feel satisfied for longer after eating it compared to wheat bread – thus beneficial in controlling body weight
  • Being overweight and lacking exercise can lead to type 2 diabetes. Whole grain food, including rye bread, consumption is significantly associated with reduced risk of diabetes due to the fact that rye bread generates a lower insulin response than wheat bread does
  • Rye bread and other rye-products can improve bowel function and prevent constipation as well as colon cancer
  • If you think of carbon footprint then rye is a good way to eat as it is easier to grow than wheat in many climates and therefore requires fewer inputs
  • It tastes great!
  • In summary – by eating rye and other fibre rich produce you can lower cholesterol, reduce risk of heart disease, constipation, hemorrhoids, colon cancer, high blood sugar, diabetes and obesity as well as being good to the environment! Nice list isn’t it?!?

(For more information please see  www.ryenadhealth.orghttp://www.whfoods.com, http://www.greenfootsteps.com/rye-flour.html, http://commonsensehealth.com/Diet-and-Nutrition/High_Fiber_Food_Chart.shtml).

Rye flour is the key ingredient in this traditional Danish sourdough rye bread I am about to share with you! Be excited! My father is the one who inspired me on this one – he is THE rye bread maker at home!

A final few words before we get on with it though. Bread made with rye flour is more compact and dense than normal wheat bread as its gluten is less elastic than wheat’s. Therefore, do not expect a light, fluffy bread! However, as rye flour is less processed than wheat it retains a large quantity of nutrients. What I am trying to say is – it may be heavy but it’s good for you!

Sourdough Starter

100ml buttermilk
100ml water
55g rye flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp runny honey
 

Traditional Rye Bread from Sourdough starter

400g rye flour
100g strong white flour
250g seeds – rye, sunflower, pumpkin – any you like! Add nuts too – walnuts are lovely.
About 500 ml luke warm water
1 tsp salt
Sourdough stater (made from recipe above)

Sourdough Starter

The hardest part of making sourdough rye bread is getting the sourdough starter going. The first time you make the bread it will probably not turn out well. This is because it takes the wild yeast you are creating time to become strong. Do not let this discourage you! I had to throw away my first two loaves when I started…now however I have the most gorgeous rye bread that I, and my family, eat all the time.

Add all the sourdough starter ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine – it will look something like the above! The reason you are adding salt and sugar is that you essentially are “feeding” the mixture!

Once combined, leave it covered in a warm place for 24 hours – give it a stir and leave for another 24 hours. Have a look at it. It should start to smell sour and bubble slightly. Place in the fridge for 3 days. After this time it is ready for use but remember, the first few times you use it the bread may not turn out as well as you expect.

Traditional Rye Bread from Sourdough starter

DAY 1

Get a large mixing bowl and pour in 450ml luke warm water as well as the sourdough starter. Mix well.

Add both types of flour to the mixture and stir until it has the consistency of a really thick bowl of porridge! Add more water if necessary. It must not be runny though so if you add too much water stir in a bit more rye flour. You will end up with something that looks like the image here – not pretty I know!

Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it rest for at least 12 hours – I usually leave it over night. Do not fill the dough more than 2/3 of the way as it will rise.

Day 2

Once risen, your dough should look like the above image! It will be spongy when you touch it.

Add the seeds or nuts/rye – my seed mixture (cracked rye and wheat and others) needs to be soaked in boiling water for a few minutes before being added, as below, but if you just use nuts and seeds you can add them as they are.

Give the mixture a good stir and add 1tsp of salt – you can add more or less salt if you wish – taste it and see what you think. The dough should feel soft to stir but not be watery. If it is too hard you may add a little bit of luke warm water – not more than 30dl though – which probably is equivalent to a few tablespoons. If you make it too watery the bread will come out sticky.

Once you are happy with the consistency of your batter, take a good couple of spoonfulls out of the bowl and put in a glass – as below. This will be the sourdough starter for your next bread!

Put a few tsp sea salt on top of the sourdough and close the jar with a lid. Again, only fill the jar about 2/3 of the way as it will rise. Place it in the fridge until you need it! Leave at least 3 days before you use it though as the wild yeast needs time to develop.

The image below shows how the sourdough ferments after a few days – notice the air bubbles – this is how you know it is a good sourdough. It took me 3 loaves of bread, and sourdough, before mine was really good.

Take your batter and pour into a greased bread tin – you will need a rather large, rectangular one or two smaller ones. I often make mini loaves for the children – they are really sweet! You could use silicone cupcake cases for this if you do not have actual miniature tins.

Once in the greased tin, let the dough rise for two hours under a tea towel before you place it in the warm oven.

The bread will need 1.5 hours at 100C. After this time, turn the oven up to 200C and give it another 1 hour – if you feel it is going too dark simply place some aluminium foil over the top.

When the 2.5 hours are up – turn it out of the tin and listen to it “talking” to you! Don’t laugh…it really does! You know that the bread is good if it crackles and hisses when you listen to the bottom of it.

The smell in your kitchen will be phenomenal at this point and you will, no doubt, be tempted to slice it open, butter it and eat it all! DON’T! As with any fresh bread, it needs time to sit and collect itself before you slice it.

Wrap a damp tea towel around it and put it back in the oven, now turned off but still warm, with its top down. Let it stay in there like this until the oven is cold, then transfer to a plastic ziplock bag – to retain the moisture in the bread – and place in the fridge. It will be ready for you to eat the next morning – or a good half day after being put in the fridge.

I know it sounds awfully complicated and labour filled – the first time you make it, it is! But once you get into the rhythm it takes no time at all and you fit it into your day.

Stunning fresh rye bread!

These are some ways I LOVE to eat mine. I always toast it on high to make it nice and crisp and then…

 Pan fried cod roe with lemon…heaven!

Avocado, pepper and sea salt…a fibre health bomb of deliciousness! 

The children’s favourite…cheddar and jam! 

My, sometimes, mid-morning snack! Cheddar and orange/elderflower marmelade…doesn’t get much better! 

So there you have it – Danish Rugbrød! Very much a part of my food culture and filled with goodness. Serve it for breakfast with cheese – fibre and calcium covered! For lunch with pate and cucumber, cheese and a slice of red pepper (vitamin C), hummus and ham (protein)…so many options! For dinner it is great served with an omelette…

It freezes well so make a double portion and freeze one loaf – pre-sliced maybe – then all you have to do is pop a few slices in the toaster and you are off to a great meal or snack!