Updated: Jun 27
In almost every supermarket in Norway and Sweden you will find a small, round, soft bread known as Polarbrød. Polarbrød is actually the brand name of this delicious bread that has been produced in northern Sweden by 5 generations of the same family for 140 years. It's been sold in Norway since 2002 and is hugely popular here, although many people make their own. Once it is made in the factory, it is immediately frozen (in line with the original way of preserving it), and homemade polarbrød also freezes beautifully and defrosts in just a few minutes.
Polarbrød is a very moreish bread that is most commonly eaten at breakfast or lunch with something on it (a bit like a round open sandwich) or with a stew such as reindeer or game. I have not met a single child yet who doesn't instantly love polarbrød for breakfast, and with no crusts you will find they eat the lot!
Nordic Polarbrød (makes 10)
560g plain flour/4 cups plain flour. I use a no-nonsense all purpose flour
20g fresh yeast, or 10g dried yeast/2 teaspoons dried yeast
7g fine salt/ 1 teaspoon
30g/2 1/2 tablespoons margarine or flavourless oil
3 teaspoons honey
200ml/ 3/4 cup milk
150ml/ a little over 1/2 cup warm water (although you may need more depending on how dry your flour is)
Gently heat the milk until it is at blood temperature and blend in the yeast. Put all the other ingredients, except the water, into the bowl of your standing mixer (or a large bowl if you are making this by hand), attach the dough hook and blend together with the milk and yeast mixture. Slowly add the water until you have a soft but not too sticky dough. If you are making this by hand, turn out onto a floured board and knead for 10 minutes. If you are using a standing mixer, put on a low speed for 10 minutes. Once kneaded, place in a bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
Preheat the oven to 180C/375F.
Knock back the dough and divide into 10 equal pieces. Knead each one into a ball and roll out with a rolling pin to about 10cm across. Place them greaseproof paper lined baking sheets giving them enough space to spread a little, cover again with a damp cloth and let them prove until risen about half as much again. To make the characteristic dents in them lightly poke with the end of a skewer, dust lightly with flour and bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until a light golden brown. Cool on racks.
Serve fresh and preferably slightly warm. Polarbrød keeps very well for a few days in an airtight box, or alternatively freeze it as soon as it's cooled. It can be reheated in a few minutes in a warm oven for a quick breakfast or lunch.
Vær så god!
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