Our Daily Bread

I might as well say it at once. I do not bake bread very often – only at special occasions. Why? Beacause my family likes the Swedish crispbread most of all.

Wasa is the world’s largest producer of crispbread. Every year the company sells around 60,000 tons of crispbread in 40 countries. Swedish people eat more crispbread than any other people in the world, almost 4 kilograms per capita. Well, my family eats a lot more than that; in fact, about 20 – 25 kilograms every year and most of the time we are only a two-person household.

Reading about crispbread I found Bob Greene’s The Best Life Diet. A lifetime plan for losing weight and keeping if off. Bob Greene helped Oprah achieve her dramatic weight loss. Oprah had Bob Greene on her show and she said: “I really love those little Swedish delights”. Wasa didn´t pay her for saying that.

Although it is surprisingly easy to bake crispbread, I have only done that a few times. Here´s the recipe4

Knäckebröd (Crispbread)

½ liter (500 ml) milk
½ tablespoon honey
½ tablespoon golden syrup
15 g yeast
500 g graham flour
250 g rye flour (course-grained)
3/4 teaspoon salt
some barley flour

* Preheat oven to 250°C
* Heat milk, honey and syrup to 37 °C
* Mix in yeast, salt, ab. 250 g of the graham flour and ab. 125 g of the rye flour.
* Then work in remaining flour to make a dough.
* Let rise for about 60 minutes.
* Divide dough into 12 pieces and form into balls.
* Roll the balls in plenty of barley flour with a rolling pin.
* Turn a couple of times during the rolling
* Finally roll to very thin rounds with a peg rolling pin.
* If you use an ordinary rolling pin, score and prick before baking.
* Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for 8 minutes.
* Then turn the bread over and bake the other side another 4 min. or until slightly browned.
* Cool on a rack.

In an ordinary oven you can bake only one bread at a time. A hot air oven bakes three at a time at 225 °C.

Swiss Lake Dwellers of over 8000 years ago baked their hard crusted bread on hot stones. For centuries after, this unleavened mixture made of flour and water remained the only known variety of bread. This bread was more or less like fried porridge.

About 3000 B.C. the Egyptians developed the first leavened loaf, the legend being that a forgetful slave set aside a wheat flour dough which fermented and rose. Disregarded this unusual phenomenon, the slave shaped the dough to bake leavened bread much as we know of it.

Now every culture of the world and every country has its own traditions and bread styles. In many cultures bread is the symbol of life itself.

The soft Indian Chapati consists of flour, salt and water. You cook it like a pancake on both sides. Tastes lovely hot and buttered.

Ethiopian Injera; not only a kind of bread — it’s also an eating utensil. It is only cooked on one side. To eat, you take pieces of injera that they give you in a basket, and fold it around the piece of food you want to eat, for instance a meat stew and/or a vegetable stew.

1 large onion, chopped
1 kg (1000 g) beef, cut in pieces
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon berbere spice mix
2 teaspoons rosemary
2 green chili peppers, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
3 tablespoons neterkive

1. Fry and brown the meat in oil.
2. Add onion and fry until all the meat juice is gone.
3. Add neterkive, berbere, rosemary, salt and a small amount of hot water.
4. Cook for 5-10 minutes more, then add tomato and chili.

NETERKIVE: On low heat melt 100 g butter in a saucepan, stirring. Add 1 small chopped red onion and 1 tablespoon cardamom. Bring to a boil and cook for about half an hour or until the mixture is frothy.

What´s your favorite bread?


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