Tag Archives: baking

Saaristolaisleipä – A Traditional Finnish Bread

I have been making our own bread for quite a while. If I have enough time on my hands I usually make sourdough bread but it is not as failproof as normal yeast dough and really time consuming. For a few weeks now I have tried to master an Estonian sourdough rye bread but I keep on failing miserably. I can tell you that nothing is worse than having to throw a fresh loaf into the trash!

I decided to have a break from Estonian bread making, so next on my agenda was a traditional Finnish bread – saaristolaisleipä. Often translated as Islander or Archipelago bread, it consists of rye and wheat flour with rye malt and dark syrup. The malt gives the bread the dark look that is typical for this bread and the syrup a soft and sticky consistency and a slight sweet flavour. And the best thing: it isn’t a sourdough bread and therefore easier to make (at least for me).

Saaristolaisleipä - A traditional Finnish Bread

The recipe I used was originally for three breads but in case I would fail again I only made two. I also converted the measurements into grams since Finnish recipes mostly use deciliters for measuring and it tends to confuse people too much.


665 ml buttermilk, 2,5% fat
50 g fresh yeast
200 ml dark bread syrup (contains malt) or other dark syrup/treacle
150 g malt flour (I used rye malt)
60 g spelt bran (or wheat/rye bran)
130 g rye flour
400 g wheat flour
3/4 tbsp sea salt

For the glaze

1tbsp dark syrup
3 tbsp water

Spices (optional)

bread spices like coriander, fennel, cumin 
hemp seeds

Take a saucepan and heat the buttermilk on the stove until it’s lukewarm. Crumble the yeast into it and let is dissolve slightly, then add the syrup.

In a big bowl mix all the dry ingredients (including spices if you like) and then slowly add the buttermilk/yeast mixture while stirring with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. You don’t have to mix it for long but make sure everything is properly incorporated. The dough will be quite liquid, unlike wheat dough. Cover with a towel and let it rise for around 1,5 hours in room or above room temperature. I put it on our bathroom floor which has floorheating. Make sure to check the dough every once in a while because how fast it will rise depends a lot on the temperature and also texture of the dough. The dough is ready when it has doubled in size.

Make sure to preheat the oven to 175°C before the rising time is up. Grease two loaf tins with butter and divide the dough into two parts. Distribute it equally between the tins and smooth out with wet hands. You can then add hemp seeds on top of the breads if you like. Bake them on the lowest rack for 2 hours. Spray a bit of water into the oven or keep a little bowl with water underneath the breads to keep them moist. Depending on your oven you might need to cover them with tinfoil after an hour to prevent the top from burning.

For the sticky glaze mix the syrup with the water and brush the breads with it 15 – 30 minutes before they are done. When the time is up, take the breads out of the tins immediately and brush the rest of the syrupy water on them. Then wrap each in parchment paper and wrap firmly with two towels. Let them  cool down like this completely or best overnight so they are well rested in the morning. Now it is time to taste your bread! Enjoy!


Saaristolaisleipä - A traditional Finnish Bread

Saaristolaisleipä - A traditional Finnish Bread

Saaristolaisleipä - A traditional Finnish Bread


Happy Runeberg’s Day!

On 5th of February Finland celebrates Runeberg day, the birthday of national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg who lived in the 19th century. Although he wrote in Swedish, part of his most popular work became the National Anthem of Finland. It is said that his wife, who was a writer herself, invented the Runeberg cake which her husband loved to eat for breakfast. The pastry is flavoured with almonds, cardamom and is topped with raspberry jam in the middle of a sugar ring. Traditionally it is eaten on Runeberg’s birthday.

2women2cats: Runeberg Cake (Finnish pastry)

Tiia usually makes Runeberg’s cakes herself but this week was so busy that she didn’t quite have the time for it so far. Fortunately Kanniston Leipomo, a bakery nearby, sells freshly made ones, so I got two pieces for the afternoon. On the weekend she’ll hopefully get around to make some of her own and put the recipe on the blog, so everybody who is not able to buy these great pastries in their country can make their own.

Happy Runeberg’s Day or hyvää Runebergin päivää!



Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

This year I wanted to try a few more vegan recipes, especially in baking. I saw these cookies on mywifemakes and immediately wanted to try them. They turned out to be delicious and I will definitely make them again. No one would ever guess they’re vegan and they are really easy to make! The raw dough still tasted a bit coconutty but I couldn’t taste any coconut flavour in the baked cookies. I also used my homemade peanut butter which is a really quick 1-ingredient recipe, while store bought jars often include extra oils, salt or sugar.


75 g virgin coconut oil, melted
110 g brown sugar
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
2 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
110 g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt & some for sprinkling the cookies
80 g vegan chocolate
50 g hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 175°C, line a baking tray with parchment paper and roast the hazelnut for a few minutes.

To make the flax egg mix one tablespoon of ground flax seed with three tablespoons of water and set aside until it becomes gelatinous. In the meantime chop the nuts and the chocolate.

In a bowl whisk together the sugar, vanilla, coconut oil, peanut butter and flax egg. Add the flour, soda and baking powder and mix until everything is just incorporated. Then you can add the hazelnuts and the chocolate and carefully mix everything together. Drop the cookies with two spoons onto the tray or use your hands (I think hands are the easiest option) and flatten the cookies a bit. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake around 11-13 minutes. Let them cool down because they will be quite soft at first. Enjoy!


2women2cats: Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

2women2cats: Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

2women2cats: Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

2women2cats: Lemon Poppyseed cake

I made this cake on Christmas Eve because I didn’t want a heavy cream cake this year as a dessert. There is usually so much food that eating cake afterwards becomes a challenge. I wanted something a bit lighter with a fresh lemony taste and immediately thought about a lemon poppyseed cake.

The dough is basically the same as my Frankfurter Kranz recipe with added lemon and of course poppyseeds. I used a loaf baking pan for it but I am sure it would also look wonderful as a Bundt cake.

250 g softened butter (add a bit of salt to the batter if you don’t use salted butter)

200 g sugar
1/ 2 tsp ground vanilla
4 eggs
zest of 1,5 lemons
juice of 1 lemon
125 g plain flour
125 g potato or corn starch
1/2 tsp baking powder
50 g poppyseeds

For the glaze
100 g powdered sugar
water or lemon juice
elderflower syrup (optional)
sugared flowers or other decoration

Preheat the oven to 180°C, grease the loaf pan and sprinkle with bread crumbs to prevent the cake from sticking to the sides.

Beat the butter with the sugar and the vanilla until it’s white and fluffy. Add the eggs and the lemon zest.  Beat until the batter is thick and fluffy.

Combine the flour, starch and baking powder in a bowl and slowly add to the mixture until everything is incorporated and the dough is shiny.

Add the lemon juice and mix slowly until everything is smooth, then add the poppyseeds and pour the dough into your baking tin.

Bake for around 60 minutes. If the crust gets too brown, cover the cake with aluminium foil. Let the cake cool down in the baking pan and wait with the glaze until it’s completely cold.

If you want to use elderflower syrup for the glaze, add around two teaspoons to a bowl of powdered sugar and add as much water or lemon juice as needed to make a runny paste. Don’t make it too thin or else it won’t cover the cake but instead run down the sides completely. Decorate with sugared flowers, sprinkles or leave it plain. Enjoy!


2women2cats: Lemon Poppyseed cake

2women2cats: Lemon Poppyseed cake

Book Feature

We’ve been trying to eat a bit healthier lately. No industrial sugar or wheat flour which means less candy and other crap. Unfortunately it’s Christmas season and my grandma decided to send a huge package of German Christmas candy! At the moment it is sitting in the cupboard tempting me but I think I’d rather start the day with a chia pudding and some fresh mango. Also a sourdough rye bread is enjoying the radiator wrapped in a warm cloth for the next two hours before it will be baked. I have been making all of our breads (all sourdough) recently from rye or spelt flour and they are way better than most bought ones.

Other times when we feel like something sweet, I usually make some raw treats like raw protein bars or raw cake. And I have to say it does make me feel way better. I have more energy and whenever I actually ate some “normal” store bought candy I immediately craved for more and it left my body feeling kinda bleugh the next day which I don’t experience with self made foods. This still won’t mean I’ll be eating only raw from now on or completely healthy. I think it is perfectly fine to enjoy some of the Christmas candy once in a while or to make a normal cake with white flour but I’d like to make our own food as much as possible.

I have two more recipes coming up: one for raw protein bars and one for a layered cake with whipped coconut cream and chocolate mousse. I am also thinking about trying to make a raw nutella today.

Also some news: Two of our raw recipes have been selected to be featured in a free online book! Geoff and Robyn Randolph from The Pure Healthy Way have selected our Raw Goji- & Mulberry Cupcakes With Salted Chocolate Frosting and our Raw Chili Chocolate Cake to be part of it along other great recipes. The book is called The Pure Healthy Way To Enjoy Desserts and can be downloaded on their webpage. Many thanks to Robyn and Geoff!

2women2cats: Raw Goji- & Mulberry Cupcakes with Salted Chocolate Frosting

2women2cats: Chili Chocolate Cake