Thursday, May 08, 2008

Swedish Rye Bread (Page 609)

  • Date: Wednesday, May 7, 2008 -- 7pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: C+

The Book claims that this bread is a staple in Wisconsin, so I figured I should make it, given my Wisconsin roots. It must be a staple in a different part of the state than where I grew up, however, because despite the 16 years I lived in Wisconsin, I have never had a bread quite like this one. This rye bread was studded not just with the usual caraway seeds, but also with anise seeds and orange zest. A touch of molasses gave it some sweetness and a combination of rye and all-purpose flours gave it an unmistakable rye flavor. The flavor of this bread was ok, but the texture left something to be desired. For whatever reason the dough just wouldn't rise as it should have. I proofed my yeast and they seemed fine, but the first rise was really slow. Finally I resorted to putting the bowl of bread dough in the bathroom and taking a hot shower to fill the room with steam. That helped and eventually the dough doubled in volume. The second rise was even slower, and the still-steamy bathroom wasn't enough. I gave it a lot of time, and eventually gave in and put the loaves in the oven. One usually expects a nice oven-rise from bread, but that didn't happen either. So the loaves I ended up with were smaller than they should have been (The Book says this makes 2 8-inch loaves. I ended up with 2 6 or 6.5-inch loaves.), and consequently too dense. Rye bread can get away with being a little on the heavy side, but this was just too much. It was terribly dense, to the point of being unappealing. I like pretty much all homemade bread items, but I was not a fan of this one.

This recipe isn't online.

I am having some trouble getting back into the swing of things since my grandmother's death. I am back in Boston now. When we left Wisconsin Matty and I drove straight through for 20 hours to get back to Boston. We left Wisconsin in the evening, which meant that we drove straight through the night. I had never done that before, and expected it to be miserable. In fact, it wasn't so bad. Perhaps I was too emotionally and physically exhausted at that point to get antsy being in the car so long, but I felt very comfortable for most of the 20 hour drive. Matty drove the miserable 10pm to 4am shift and I tried to get some sleep. Despite being tired from a weekend spent in the ICU, I just couldn't stay asleep for more than a few minutes. So at 4am when it was my turn to drive, I was pretty tired. Desperate times called for desperate measures, so I stopped and got myself a Big Gulp of Diet Coke. After nearly three years without caffeine, a little goes a long way. After drinking that thing I was pretty awake for the remainder of the trip. Now I am back in Boston, sleeping off the sleep debt I accumulated and trying to get back into the rhythm of working, cooking, and exercising.


Rachel said...

I'm thinking of you, Teena! And I can't wait to see you to give you a real hug. Love, R

Teena said...

Thanks Rach! I'm so excited to see you too!