13 november 2010

Mette Hvid’s rye bread story.

Maybe rye bread is just the true essence of Danish food culture, and not always for the good. Rye runs in our spine and genes. It has been in our lunch boxes all life in my generation of 40 something. But unfortunately not in a very flattering industrial version… and it somehow gave the impression that food should be rough and healthy and not very enjoyable, with the positive effect that we still eat rye and somehow have avoided the white industrial bread. I might be wrong but as a Dane I live with the impression that industrial rye bread is still better than industrial white toast…

Rye bread meant nothing more or less to me than to any other dane. As a kid you wished for something else, but you also knew that you would never get it (unless sick or visiting some old aunt or something likewise). Growing up leaving home and taking controle of my own food situation I think rye bread was still around, but just occasionally. Then I moved into a community/collective (kollektiv?) and a new area of rye bread and rye bread baking began. Christian – a former waiter from Erwin Lauterbach – who was re-introducing food quality to me (my grand parents where farmers and my parents sort of foodies so this was not completely new to me, but I needed to be reminded in the 90’ies fascination of low calories, comfy food, e.t.c. products) also introduced rye bread baking. It became a common routine but it also had its time and slowly I went back to industrial rye bread, mostly roasted – then all rye bread tastes good.

I don’t think rye bread will ever leave my diet… it would simply just be too risky!

I am therefore passing on this particular piece of Danish food culture! My kids gets their rye bread in their lunch box every day – of course along with veggies and stuff, but something deep deep down inside me tells me that they need their rye bread! Remember to eat you rye bread before you eat the chicken, or sausage, or even carrot… Its like solid ground in bringing them up and who knows what might go wrong, if we skip the rye bread… All bad things could happen!

And now I am back on the baking track! Today I bake and eat rye bread, basically because it has the best taste. Even the ones from the good baker, does not get close to the right taste of home made rye bread. I am not good at domestic planning and I never found pleasure in the long term baking process – not very strong in the whole baking discipline I too often got caught up in the 3 days, two dough stages kind of stuff leaving me too much to midnight or early morning baking activity. I was saved by Camilla Plum and her recipe for a one stop 12 hour rye bread on sourdough:.mix stuff, down in form, rest for 12–24 hours and in the oven. That works with me. And I can mix and match different kinds of flour (as long as I remember the rye), malt sirop, honey and grain as I like. And I have actually been able to keep my sourdough alive, which is not to be said about the herbs in the windowsill…

Rye bread deserves to be made with love (I have a lovely friend, Grethe, who always brings home made rye bread on visits – its just called Grethe Bread by the kids – and suddenly its an event eating rye bread…) and personality, actually rye bread bakers are bit like dog owners (At least that is what I expect since I do not have a dog myself, but I observe them often – the owners more than the dogs…). We exchange sourdough, pass on tips and tricks and we also compete a bit… so come on and join the party!

Trine Hahnemann