- Janny de Moor - https://www.jannydemoor.nl/en -

Finnish barley bread


Baking tool:


Batter (makes one round loaf):

On top:

Our culture is still quite young, and Finland has not been affluent. In wintertime outdoor temperature can be  minus 40 degrees Celsius. So you can imagine that the first thing earlier generations were interested in was how to survive! How the food tasted was a secondary issue. Nowadays we Fins can afford a youthful enthusiasm for our own traditional dishes and local specialties. We got an eye for our clean and pure environment and are proud to present our landscape to foreign visitors.


This was what famous chef Sami Hiltunen wrote to me ten years ago when I asked him to describe the cuisine of his country. That those traditional dishes are absolutely worth while is proven by this flat barley bread Ohrarieska. According to the Fins a meal without bread is no meal. ‘Better bread than gold’ as the phrase goes. And so they developed original loaves from cold-resitant grains such as rye and barley. When these were not available they baked for ‘a rosy complexion’ even bread from pine meal (white inner bark of pine trees). The extremely healthy rye bread – Sami called it the Finnish insurance against hard times – had a hole in the middle and was hanged on the ceiling  of the kitchen to dry, where it became pretty hard. His sisters and he lost their milk teeth while eating it. The barley bead Ohrarieska from a region near the polar circle is somewhat softer. Sometimes the batter is spread on cabbage leaves before baking or small pieces of smoked  bacon or ham are added. The warm brown clour is due to the reaction of bicarbonate of soda with buttermilk, an invention in itself.