Sourdough Finnish Seed Loaf.

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My favourite sourdough- the Finnish Craig

Witness any form of artisanal kitchen production and watch magic happen. Observe the alchemy as flour, salt and water combine to make a nutritious sourdough loaf of bread, or the curdling and contraction of milk as it transforms into yoghurt, or the brining and pickling of vegetables as they take on another life in a jar, or the magic of egg white adding lightness and air to transform a cake, the stretching of handmade pasta into semi transparent golden sheets, the witch like brewing of a soulful soup or stock. Cooking is an enormously satisfying and creative activity, effectively chasing away heavy heartedness or mind numbing introspection. Yes, baking is the best form of therapy. Trite but true. Out damn spot, there’s knocking at the gate, to bread, to bread!

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Finnish Sourdough

Today’s wonderful Finnish Sourdough bread is based on a recipe I received two years ago from Craig, a gifted baker who used to bake the beautiful loaves in St Andrews Bakery before moving up north to Newcastle. He learnt his craft in San Francisco, and was taught this particular loaf by a German baker. I call this loaf The Finnish Craig, after Craig, who taught it to me. It takes on a deep colour from the molasses, remains fresh and moist for days and I am able to digest this bread more easily than its plainer cousins, probably due to the high moisture content. Flax seeds are also high in Omega 3 fatty acids and must be soaked, as should all seeds, before adding to bread. Craig’s original recipe calls for a proportion of rye flour in the mix. Recently I ran out of rye flour and substituted the equivalent quantity of Bakers white flour. I am now happy with this combination at half white and half wholemeal. If you wish to stick to the original recipe, the flour proportions are 144 g Rye flour and 144 g white bakers flour, to 288 g wholemeal flour.

Warning- it is a very wet mix, requiring flouring well when hand shaping for the final rise. The bread is mixed in a stand mixer on low.

The Finnish Craig

  • 288 g white bakers flour*
  • 288 g wholemeal flour
  • 365 g water
  • 173 g starter (at 100% hydration)
  • 60 g molasses
  • 18 g salt
  • 140 g flaxseed
  • 154 g water to soak flaxseed

Combine the flaxseed and water ( last quantity mentioned)  to soak the flax for 30- 60 minutes before commencing the bread.

Add water to starter and molasses. Add the flours then mix on low-speed for 3-4 minutes. Rest for 15 minutes.

Add salt and mix for 1 minute. Then add the flaxseed and soaking liquid and mix for 3-4 minutes.

Turn out and leave to prove, well covered, for 4-6 hours depending on the weather. ( I usually prove all my dough overnight in the fridge for 8 or more hours. If you do a long fridge prove, make sure that the room is warm when you bring it out. One way to hasten it back to room temperature is to transfer the cold dough into a clean, less frigid bowl.)

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and shape into batards or other shapes. Prove, well covered, for around 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 230º C. Place the loaves on a baking stone or onto trays lined with baking paper, slash well and spray with a water mist as they enter the oven. Bake in a pre heated oven at 230º C for 20 minutes, then reduce to 175º C for a further 20 minutes. Cool on racks.

The Finn in profile.
The Finnish Craig in profile.

* Bakers flour or bread flour has more protein content than all purpose or plain flour which helps with gluten development. Baker’s flour has around 13% protein. I use Manildra Bakers Flour which comes in 12.5 kilo packets at around $15.00 from Bas Foods in Brunswick, Victoria.

Andrea’s First Loaf

Before Christmas, and encouraged by Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, my bread making mentor, I sent out some packets of dehydrated sourdough starter. A few weeks ago I received a photo from Andrea, who had stashed her starter in the fridge until March, when she began making sourdough. Here is her first loaf. Congratulations Andrea.

First sourdough loaf made by Andrea. Andrea was kind enough to send a photo of her first loaf. Andrea named her starter Corinna, after the baker in the detective series by Kerry Greenwood. Corinna is the daughter of  my starter, Sorella and granddaughter of Priscilla, Celia’s now world-famous starter.

 

 

29 thoughts on “Sourdough Finnish Seed Loaf.”

    1. I asked him first naturally. Then I sent him the link. He is a very kind man, saying that it’s now mine, but to me, it will always be The Craig. It is a seriously good bread.

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    1. You can get Aussie sugar molasses in supermarkets. It has a nice sour sweet taste. I also use 100% date molasses from bas foods, a big importer here in melbourne, which is a sweeter thing, still nice.

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  1. Being from Finland is an extra treat to read this recipe. Years ago they interviewed a Finn and was asked why they were so healthy. The answer was yogurt and rye bread. I do like sour dough bread a lot even though I grew up on rye bread.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are singing my song…I’ve always cooked but now I have more time I’m getting so much satisfaction from trying new things. I’m just starting to experiment with my sourdough baking and make variants other thsn plain bakers flour. Todays effort was swapping out LSA and Spelt for some of the Wallaby flour, and tbe loaf although we haven’t cut it yet looks and smells good… to go with a big pot of pea & ham soup. Next time I shop I’ll look for flaxseed ans molasses. I like the way you explained the steps… for newbies like me it makes it far less daunting… I’m going to try an overnight fridge prove as sometimes I’d like to bske early in the day.

    Liked by 1 person

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