Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bless the Swedes

Someone has been keeping the one copy of Kitchen of Light for-ev-er. I have been #4 on the library waiting list for, like, ev-er. 

There is a nifty feature on the library website that allows a patron to "browse the shelf." Since I was going to have to put off my Scandinavian cooking agenda for a while, I browsed and happened upon Sweet and Savory Swedish Baking. I would only rate this book overall as okay. The author's sins are dual: 1. The instructions are lacking and vague at times, e.g. In one recipe, step one says to cream the butter and sugar, then step two says to melt the butter. There are several such errors, forcing me to come up with my own method, which worked out fine because I am somewhat experienced, but would have been a disaster if I were a beginner. 2. The title is not apt in that there are a bunch of Italian and French recipes, and even an American cheesecake (insert editorial yuck). And yet there are no cream or jam-filled sweet breads (wait, not the meat kind of sweetbreads, but the bread kind) and no lefse. Perhaps these are attributed not to Sweden, but at least they are Scandinavian and surely belong in this book much more than focaccia. Anyway, I don't object to these foreign recipes, per se, but rather to the misleading title. 

Aside from the sins, then, it's a good book. I have made a few things and plan to make a few more. I like how the author gives a basic recipe, then a few ways to vary it, e.g. spongecake, saffron spongecake, apple spongecake. 

What I like most about the seemingly Swedish recipes is the use of unfamiliar flours - unfamiliar, that is, to American bakers who are heavily influenced by France and England, perhaps Scotland, where the use of white flour and oats prevail. But bless those Swedes and their rye, spelt, molasses, and caraway seeds. (I had to look up rye grits.)

The loaf below is my new go-to morning loaf. It has all sorts of goodies in it: molasses, rye flour, flax seeds, hazelnuts, golden raisins. It's hearty, sweet, earthy, even a little spicy and chewy. Perfect with a wee bit of butter. 

1 comment:

  1. Mmm,saffron. Since Easter just came and went, did they include a recipe for paskbullar? Actually, I just looked it up and what my family had as paskbullar was repurposed lussekatter. Yummy saffron rolls!