Finnish Sourdough Flatbread and Cookies with History

Finnish Sourdough Flatbread

In this anti-winter days – at some point the temperature reached +11 here! – I would like to share with you two recipes: a recipe of Finnish rye flatbread known in Russia as Krayushki and oatmeal cookies with chocolate and nuts… and history. Will start with the bread. You might already know that I love rye bread, especially the sourdough. I can eat it plain, with cheese or even with honey or jam. Like this:

Finnish Sourdough Flatbread

This particular bread is notoriously chewy and super rye-ish and I love it even more as the best part of the bread loaf is exactly these hard-to-chew “edges” that we call krayushki in Russia. The authentic version is made with sourdough culture but don’t worry –  you can make the flatbreads with yeast, too.

Finnish Sourdough Flatbread

I’ve tried the recipe several times, experimenting with the procedure and the ingredients, and failed only once when I forgot them in the oven which resulted in ehhm rusks rather than flatbreads🙂 The photos in this post show two versions. Here’s a different one from the bread pictured above, shaped as a circle with a whole in the middle. It was very handy when in the Finnish village they would string multiple breads on a stick and hang them to the ceiling:

Finnish Sourdough Flatbread

A year ago – Best Soviet Winter Movies. About Food Too!

Two years ago – Vermont Sourdough and Yellow Roses

Three years ago – Winter’s Here. Time for Spicy Rye Bread

Four years ago – Flammekueche – how time to make some!

Ruispalat or Finnish Sourdough Flatbread translated and adapted from www.povarenok.ru will make very flavorful and quite authentic in their taste flatbreads. Numbers in brackets indicate the amount of the ingredient needed if you do not use the sourdough culture. See my remarks in italics.

Ingredients

  • 375 g (500) rye flour – I mixed in some all-purpose and once – some wholewheat flour
  • 325 ml (450) water – I use about 25 ml less because there’s this extra water needed for the rye malt
  • 2 Tbs rye malt, mixed with hot water 1 hour before, or extract
  • 2 Tbs molasses or honey or sugar dissolved in water – I omitted this as it was not mentioned in the procedure
  • 10 g salt
  • 2-3 Tbs bran for sprinkling the top – I used oat bran
  • 1 Tbs ground coriander – do use this much, it’s so tasty!
  • 5 g (13) fresh yeast – I didn’t use yeast at all
  • 250 g (none) sourdough culture, 100% hydration – I refreshed my rye sourdough

Procedure

Dissolve your sourdough culture in lukewarm water (30 ‘С), add yeast (the author remarks that this will help soften the crumb but I didn’t use it). Sift in the flour, add rye malt and begin mixing the dough with a spoon or in a breadbaking machine. Add the coriander and the salt and mix a bit. This is (unless you use a mixture of flours which I did) a 100% rye bread so the dough won’t benefit from a long mixing anyway. Cover the bowl and leave the dough for 1-1.5 h.

Flour generously the surface and spoon the dough out on it, flouring it too. As for the shaping part, there are different possibilities:

— Roll out (which I could never do, so I just water the palm of my hand and flatten the dough with it) to thickness of 8 mm – 1 cm and cut into rectangles. Prick the dough with a fork and move to the baking sheet (this is a tricky part so I would suggest rolling the dough already on the baking silicon mat. The author warns you against using baking paper as they stick a lot. I still use baking paper but flour the surface quite heavily).

— For a super-authentic look, spoon the dough out into two heaps onto a wet surface (here too I use a heavily floured paper – it would have been impossible to transfer my dough once shaped!). With wet hands form each heap into a circle. Flour the baking sheet heavily, the same as the top of the circles. With the help of a wet knife, transfer the circles to the baking sheet. Flatten them with wet hands. Cut a whole in the center of each circle with a (shot) glass. To make the ‘rays’ use a wooden stick (an ice cream stick works well) with which you will make indentations (but do not force the stick right to the bottom).

For both variations, cover the dough with a linen towel for 50-90 min (90 min if using the sourdough). Spray the top with some water and sprinkle with oat bran generously. Put in the oven preheated to 200 ‘С and turn down to 180 ‘ С after several minutes. Bake for 12-15 minutes more. Do not overbake as the flatbreads should remain soft! (here I realized I had to increase the temperature to about 220 ‘C and bake all the way maintaining this temperature, otherwise the indicated 12-15 minutes turned into 30 minutes and still the breads would be too moist. So I baked them also at the top shelf for some minutes to get a crustier top).

Remove the baked bread from the oven and wrap it into a towel. Enjoy!

Finnish Sourdough Flatbread

Remarks: I’ve made this recipe several times, trying various shapes, cuts and baking time / oven temperature. Even if sometimes I failed to make them look ship-shape ( I also tried baking them as separate ovals or as a sheet of rectangles cut halfway through), they would still taste great. Work out the most convenient shaping procedure for yourself! By the way, these flatbread freeze well and do not take much space either.

Finnish Sourdough Flatbread

Result: These chewy breads are just wonderful. The combination of rye malt + coriander makes them very flavourful! And some of these breads did rise to the point when they split in two layers, letting you separate them or use them as a pocket and make a double sandwich, mmm!

Finnish Sourdough Flatbread

***

The $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie

For the dessert today here are these tasty sweet chocolate cookies with ground oatmeal, walnuts and pistachios! The story behind these cookies is that someone who paid for the recipe 250 dollars thinking it was 2.50 USD instead, decided to spread the recipe all over the net so that no one would have to pay that much for a cookie recipe! And you know what? The recipe is really nice and the result is probably worth the price… But I’m definitely grateful for having this recipe for free🙂

The $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie

The $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie adapted from www.browneyedbaker.com will make sweet and crunchy cookies that would certainly sell very well and justify the price paid for the recipe! For the original recipe visit the link above – and you won’t have to pay anything for that either🙂 Here are my changes and remarks:

I also put some oat bran into the coffee grinder together with the oats. Used less butter and substituted regular sugar for the brown sugar. As for the chocolate, I used 1 chocolate bar – part of which I grated and part chopped into pieces. I had a very limited amount of walnuts so I also added some pistachios.

The $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie

Remarks: I made my cookies pretty big so had to bake them longer. Be careful with the baking time though as I definitely overbaked the first batch. The recipe will make quite a lot of cookies but be ready to repeat the process very soon🙂

The $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie

Result: These are great cookies! The walnuts add to the nuttiness of the ground oats, there’s something toasted about this cookies too. Which makes me agree with the author that these cookies are truly hearty! The melting chocolate inside is so oh-oh!

Adding these recipes to Sweet, Chocolate and Sourdough collections.
G.

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