Scandinavian-style Brown Bread

While were were living in Denmark I became very fond of Rugbrød, a dense brown bread which Danes eat with everything. I think it goes particularly well with smoked salmon, gravlax and cheese.

Traditional Rugbrød is made from a sourdough starter, so it’s not exactly a five minute job. This recipe is similar in style, being dense and full of healthiness, but it uses self-raising flour and buttermilk as raising agents, so it is a five minute job – apart from the baking time.

For a darker bread use treacle or molasses instead of honey. The soaked buckwheat keeps it nice and moist, so it lasts a few days in the fridge, well-wrapped. It also freezes well. I used one large tin and three smaller ones. My loaves weren’t very deep so I probably should have used one tin less in order to make them deeper.

Serve with smoked salmon, Gravlax with Mustard Sauce or an aged cheddar or Brie.

Scandinavian-style Brown Bread½ cup raw buckwheat (from Health Food shops)
500g self-raising wholemeal flour
1 cup flour
1 cup porridge oats
1 cup sunflower kernels
1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
1 Tbs honey (treacle or molasses)
600ml buttermilk + a little water

Place buckwheat in a bowl and cover generously with cold water. Leave to soak overnight then tip into a sieve, rinse under cold water and drain well. Preheat oven to 190ºC. Grease two loaf tins (or four small ones) with oil or butter.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add a dash of cold water to the buttermilk container (about ¼ cup) and swish it around then add to the bowl.  If there are any dry bits in the bottom of the bowl which won’t mix in add a little more water, but go easy. Mixture should be like a stiff scone mixture.

Divide mixture among the tins which should be just over half full. Bake for 15 mins then lower temperature to 170ºC and bake for a further 35-45 mins. Larger loaves will take longer than smaller ones. It’s nice warm but easier to slice when cold. Can be toasted.

Makes 2 loaves (or more if using smaller tins)