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Loff, Traditional Norwegian White Loaf



Is there anything more welcoming and homely than the smell of fresh bread? I think you'll agree with me when I say it's one of life's simple pleasures.


Bread is a staple of any Nordic table and as lovely as it is to have loaves that are packed with nuts, seeds and grains, sometimes we need the classic simplicity of a white loaf. I love this Norwegian classic because it only has a handful of ingredients and lets us make bread in the simplest and most down to earth way possible. I've put together a method for making the bread by hand. It encourages us to slow down and really appreciate the food that we are preparing. If you prefer to use a stand mixer you can and it will be just as good.


I'm a huge advocate of keeping cooking simple. Our most cherished heritage recipes are usually the simplest ones; the ones with the fewest ingredients; the ones cooked in the most basic way. Making the most of and starring a few ingredients reminds us of how good food can be without adding all kinds of preservatives, flavourings and products that detract from the true flavour of our food.


Bread has been around for thousands of years and even if you don't eat it yourself there is no denying that warm cosy feeling that it gives you when smell a loaf, or hear the crackle of a crispy crust and watch the butter gently melt into a warm slice.


Goodness, now I am getting hungry. Let's make some bread!



Loff (Traditional Norwegian White Loaf). Makes one large loaf


Ingredients

600g / 1lb 5oz plain, all purpose flour

15g / 0.6oz fresh yeast OR 7g / 0.25 oz dried yeast

1 teaspoon salt

400ml / 13.5 fl oz warm water


Method

  1. Blend the yeast with half the water.

  2. Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and gradually add the water and yeast mix, stirring in well. Add enough of the remaining water to make a soft but not too sticky dough.

  3. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes making sure you stretch the dough nicely.

  4. Put into a clean bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave in a warm place to prove for 1.5 hours.

  5. Once the dough is about doubled in size, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead lightly again.

  6. Shape the dough into a fat sausage shape about 25cm long. Carefully place onto a greased and floured baking sheet and cover once again with a damp cloth.

  7. Leave to prove a second time for about 1 hour on until the dough is a little less than doubled in size.

  8. Preheat oven to 220C/425F. Place a dish or tray of very hot water into the bottom of the oven. This is going to create steam which will give your loaf a beautiful crisp crust.

  9. Lightly dust the loaf with flour and use a very sharp knife to give your loaf a long shallow slit from one end to the other and place in the hot oven.

  10. After 5 minutes reduce the temperature to 175C/345F for a further 35 minutes or until the bread is crispy and golden brown and it gives a hollow sound if you tap it on the bottom.

  11. Cool on a wire rack. As the loaf starts to cool down the crust will crackle and "talk" and produce that beautiful crackle effect on the surface.

This classic white loaf is perfect sliced and served with some prawns and mayonnaise on top, or with a slice of Jarlsberg cheese and a spoonful of strawberry jam. or be very Norwegian and have it topped with a slice of brown cheese and a glass of milk.


 


Enjoying simple pleasures and learning to live more intentionally are just some of the ways that people in the Nordics make life so happy.


My special membership, The Nordic Way, an authentic Nordic life, your way, is perfect for you if you want to live a simpler, cosier and more intentional life the Nordic way.


Each month we are exploring a new theme like Simple Pleasures and Eating the Nordic Way.


I would love you to join us!





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