Janny de Moor Janny de Moor

Allan’s bread (Sweden)


Baking tool:

  • a non-stick cake tin
  • about 25x11x7,5 cm,
  • greased with butter


Dough (makes one loaf):

  • 250 g wholemeal rye flour
  • 250 g strong white bread flour (protein about 13,3 %)
  • 7 g easy-blend/easy-bake dried yeast
  • 75 ml black treacle
  • 350 ml warm water
  • 6 g salt dissolved in 50 ml warm water

Everything is beautiful in the wooden kitchen-diner of my Swedish friend Solvi Mettinger. I admire the rail from which fine China teacups are hanging, the waving lace curtains, the gorgeous wall decoration made of cords and wooden beads. All her own work. But the showpiece is the substantial pair of antique scales, which she uses for the preparation of the rich pastry collection we are enjoying. “This is a present from my father-in-law Allan. He became a baker in Helsinborg when his farm had burnt down. My mother-in-law was a baker’s daughter and she had always kept the traditional recipes carefully. These were just what they needed. I still have one of his bread recipes.” And she walks to the cookbook shelf, where she keeps more handwritten than printed recipes, for Solvi is a real queen of the kitchen, just for fun. Her explanation is a piece of luck. Recipes for daily bread are rarely written out. They are passed on from generation to generation through manual demonstration, accompanied by oral comments. So it is my good fortune that Solvi is willing  to share Allan’s written recipe with me. A stunning bread that  does not need kneading.

  • Mix rye flour, bread flour and yeast in a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Dilute the treacle in the warm water. Pour the brown liquid into the well and stir it thoroughly through the flour. Add the salt solution. Stir again vigorously to obtain a smooth dough. Cover the bowl with, for instance, a plastic basket on which a damp cloth is laid – this because the dough should not be touched – and leave for two hours at room temperature to rise to a volume of about two litres.
  • Wet your hands and put the dough into the tin, gently ease it into the corners so it fills the tin evenly. Leave to rise in same way as above unto a little bit above the rim in about 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F/gas 6.
  • Uncover the dough and bake about 40 minutes on the lowest shelf. It is fully baked when a skewer inserted to the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out the loaf and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Stays fresh for a long time, can be deep frozen in slices.

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