Written originally in Swedish by Tove Jansson, a Swedish speaking Finnish writer, and much adored all over the world, the Moomins arrived in England in 1964 as the Finn Family Moomintroll. My mother promptly got hold of a copy and read it with us and the Moomins turn up in my dreams even now. (Click Continue Reading to see the recipe for this Finnish bread….)
Oliver Weiss, a friendly American illustrator, has an enviable collection of Moomin books and he has kindly allowed me to reproduce his scan of the cover of my childhood book from this post of his and you can read his thoughts on the Moomins too. (By the way, Tove Jansson wrote for adults as well as children; in 2003 The Summer Book was published in English; I love this book too and recommend it if you haven’t come across it.)
Image courtesy of Oliver Weiss Design archives
The Moomins live on in my kitchen, in a collection of mugs that Tutak and I share a love for, and I like to think that maybe they would have enjoyed this bread, toasted over a fire in the woods, made with Finnish piimä yoghurt and soft, well cooked chopped rye and served with a generous dollop of my Aunt Barbara’s Swedish clearberry jam!
The other part of this post is about how I came to bake this bread. I spend far too much time on Dan Lepard’s forum and last month an innovative poster called Karumbalimba took the trouble to write up a recipe for a bread he had made using piimä yoghurt and cooked rye grains. It sounded absolutely delicious and as I had been making breads with the whey left over from yoghurt, it sounded like something I should try too!
I sourced some Piima yoghurt culture starter from the kefirshop and cultured some of this lovely yoghurt. I believe that Finns drink it as a lunchtime beverage. I tried some in a glass and it was pretty good, though I am not a great gulper of dairy products generally.
Inevitably the bread I made was a bit different from Karumbalima’s. I used chopped rye grains from Shipton Mill, not whole rye and I misjudged how much yoghurt/ryegrain mix I had made, so rather than throw it away (!!) I made this loaf as follows:
- Cook 100 grams chopped rye by covering with water, bringing to boil and simmering till soft. Top up with water as needed.
- Mix with 200 grams of piimä yoghurt and leave in fridge overnight.
- Prepare sourdough for next day. I made 150 grams of white sourdough at 100% hydration, from 20 grams mature sourdough plus 75 grams each water and bread flour. I was intending to make a half quantity of Karumbalimba’s recipe but I ended up with so much piima soaked rye that I made two loaves as follows:
Final dough ingredients:
- 600 grams (approx) Piimä yoghurt and chopped rye grain mixture ( I don’t know how I ended up with so much! The rye grain must have taken on a huge amount of water whilst cooking)
- 150 grams mature sourdough starter
- 150 grams water
- 100 grams weizenvollkornmehl (a white german wholemeal flour)
- 100 grams coarse wholemeal flour
- 300 grams white bread flour
- 1 tsp active instant yeast
- 1 and a half teaspoons of salt
This made an extremely soft and sticky dough which had a bulk prove of about 3 hours, with folds every hour, using light olive oil to handle the dough. If anyone wants a go at this be prepared to adjust the flour/liquid ratio to suit your comfort zone or go back to Karumbalimba’s original formula as my version was a bit trial and error.
As I was remaking the 80% rye with rye flour soaker the same day I made all the bread in tins that day. I divided the piima dough into two lots and put it in buttered and floured 2lb tins. It took a good couple of hours more to rise in the tins.
The oven was preheated to 240 C. All the tins went in at the same time. I put boiling water in a little tray on the shelf below to create steam.
After 15 minutes I turned the oven back to 200 C and then carried on baking the bread for another hour. Long bake, but we tested the breads after the first hour and they didn’t tap hollow and were very soft still, so they had another 15 minutes on top of that.
I loved this bread and so did Brian. It toasts well and reminds me a little of a granary loaf without the traditional english malted bits and it is a great way to experiment with adding whole grains and calcium to your daily bread. I will definitely make this again and take sandwiches with me when I next go hunting for the Hobgoblin’s hat!