Rich, deep and complex smells fill the air in my kitchen every time I bake this loaf. This wholesome Swedish Wholegrain Bread is incredibly easy to make and so delicious.
Now I have to be truthful, I bake sourdough 99% of the time. I love the process, the sour taste and the health benefits. That said, there are occasions when baking sourdough is almost impossible…when it’s extremely hot! And what a summer it’s been for severely high temperatures!
You’ll find dense wholegrain breads are particularly popular in the Nordic countries. They are most commonly served topped with gravad lax , prawns or hard-boiled eggs with a big sprig of dill. Also served for breakfast with a selection of sliced cheese, cold meats and pate. Or simply with a generous slathering of butter and topped with jam.
Classically, more often than not, this sort of bread, contains dark syrup or molasses. My preference is a less sweet loaf, so I have cut done on it here. A combination of rye and strong wholemeal flour along with seeds and oats makes this a nutritious and sustaining loaf.
Why use kefir? Well it gives a slightly sour taste and another plus point, it’s a moister, longer lasting loaf.
When it comes to yeast, I like to bake with fresh. You’ll know that if you have made my cardamom buns. Not always readily available I know but there are a few good online sellers in the UK, I like Bioreal organic available from Shipton Mill, there are no chemicals, unlike conventional yeast.
Dark, wholegrain bread, such as Danish Sourdough Rye Bread (Rugbrød) traditionally takes 2 days to make, this comes a close second and takes a fraction of the time. Oh and when it is a little stale, I highly recommend toasting the slices then topping with several slices of mature cheese…delicious!
Swedish Wholegrain Bread
- 25 g fresh organic yeast or 2 level tsp fast action dried yeast use according to manufacturers instructions
- 240 g organic wholegrain dark rye flour
- 200 g organic strong wholemeal bread flour
- 8 g fine sea salt
- 40 g black treacle
- 225 g organic kefir or vegan equivalent
- 200 ml stout *see notes (Guinness or the equivalent)
- 20 g butter or rapeseed oil
- 60 g pumpkin seeds
- 60 g sunflower seeds
- 25 g linseeds flax seeds
- 25 g porridge oats extra oats for sprinkling on the loaf
- Line the base of a 1.5 Litre loaf tin with parchment paper, grease the sides with sunflower oil and dust with flour. Set to one side.
- Begin with the seeds and oats. Place them into a bowl and cover with 100ml boiling water. Leave to absorb the water.
- Meanwhile heat the butter (or oil) in a saucepan on low to melt, then add the kefir, heat to 37°C. Remove from the heat. Pour the contents of the saucepan into a bowl of a free standing mixer. Stir the yeast into the kefir mixture, then follow with the stout. Now add the other ingredients with exception of the seeds. With the dough hook attached, mix on medium for 5-8 minutes.
- Now cover the dough and prove for 30-45 minutes, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. It will almost double in size. Set the oven to 200°C fan. Drain any excess liquid from the soaked seeds and pour onto the dough. On a very slow speed, blend the seeds with the dough for 20 seconds. This dough is quite wet so just pour the it into the greased tin, smooth the surface and sprinkle liberally with oats . Leave to prove for about 30-40 minutes.
- Place on the lower part of the oven. Reduce the temperature to 175°C as soon as you place the tin in the oven. Bake for about 1 hour. Turn the loaf out of the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack for 2-3 hours before consuming. Wrap the loaf in a clean tea towel to store.