Tag Archives: finland

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.

Ingredients

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!

Stef

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!

Stef

 

A White Christmas Eve

Soon we’re off to my parents’, to spend a nice Christmas Eve & Day with my family. Can’t wait for the food, sauna and presents! I’ve made a deal with myself to not eat too much, but we’ll see how that goes… Stef made a beautiful lemon poppy seed cake that I can’t wait to taste! Of course there’s going to be traditional Finnish Christmas food as well.

Our Christmas - 2 women 2 cats

Our Christmas - 2 women 2 cats
The big Christmas tree at Senaatintori

This year we decided to not have a big Christmas tree. Instead I made some garlands out of corn starch dough. They turned out to be really pretty!

Our Christmas - 2 women 2 cats

Our Christmas - 2 women 2 cats

We also got two little trees in replacement of a big one and they’re really cute.

Our Christmas - 2 women 2 cats

I was sure we were going to have a snowless Christmas, but on Monday it started snowing, and now we have 10 cm of the white stuff!

Our Christmas - 2 women 2 cats
The view from our bedroom!

We also did some last minute gift shopping in Tallinn on Monday. The city was so beautiful with all the Christmas lights, snow and the mulled wine at the Christmas market was delicious.

Our Christmas - 2 women 2 cats
Christmas market in Tallinn

I’m looking outside and it started snowing again. We will see if there’s going to be double the amount of snow by tomorrow – I hope not!

We want to wish the readers of this blog a Merry Christmas! May all your bellies be full and your moods content.

Tiia

Our Christmas - 2 women 2 cats

Our Christmas - 2 women 2 cats

Our Christmas - 2 women 2 cats

Cats, Flowers & Summertime

The grey rainy November is at its end, the dim winter sun is hiding behind thick rain clouds and I am having a cold. This is one of those days when it’s okay to feel a bit melancholic, drink some hot blackcurrant juice and look at pictures of summertime while being lazy on the couch with a package of tissues.

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

As it seems, I have barely posted any summer pictures. I guess I was too busy enjoying the warmth – or maybe looking through hundreds of pictures and editing them just didn’t seem that appealing. Looks like I had a recurring theme in the summer photography: cats and flowers.

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

I am obviously a huge summer person and one of my biggest enjoyments are flowers. The bright colours, pleasant scents and the quiet buzzing noise of bees are simply relaxing. In the future I’d love to get my very own garden, but in the meantime I’m happy with my mini balcony and having my mother with her garden nearby.

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats
We found some amazing apothecary bottles and equipments from a university laboratory trash!

To me summer has always been about looking around at the nature and observing it; the dandelions are blooming, the lilacs are blooming, the lupines are blooming… Time to pick nettles, time to pick clovers… And so forth.

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

At least I’m not the only one in this house who is a summer-fanatic: the cats love warming themselves up in the hot sun and looking at people and bugs on the balcony.

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

Have I mentioned photography yet? It is just so satisfying to take pictures that actually have colour and light!

Tiia

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats
Spot the other silly person.

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

Teatteri: Best Salad In Town

It is warm in Finland, some might even say too hot. Finnish people at least, although I am quite sure some of them are enjoying living at the sea side and being able to swim without freezing one or two toes off! When it’s a bit too warm I never know what to eat and I am certainly not in the mood of standing in the kitchen for hours while cooking. Perfect reason to leave the house and get some food elsewhere!

Teatteri is located in the building of the Swedish Theater at Esplanadi. During lunch time there is often a queue for their salads. That made me curious and I decided it would be time to try it out.

2women2cats: Teatteri, Helsinki

A big plate with lettuce, tomatoes and watermelon plus two toppings of your choice is 10€. They usually have lots of ingredients to choose from and also lots of vegetarian options. The price also Includes a piece of bread and a salad dressing. For a few cents more you can also get a Caesar salad with either chicken or shrimps.

2women2cats: Teatteri, Helsinki
With salmon and pesto marinated mozzarella
2women2cats: Teatteri, Helsinki
Chicken Caesar salad

They have a big terrace if you want to enjoy the sun but also a lot of seats inside with comfy chairs and couches. Definitely worth trying and we will come back too!

Stef