I think in this past week, you've managed to increase future tourism to Tallinn and the rest of Estonia! It's now on my list of countries to visit, at least!
Thanks for blogging this week, and giving us a taste of your wonderful country and life!
Rona - I sure hope so
Thank you for your kind words!
Now, my foodblog is semi-offically over, but Snowangel
has kindly allowed me to use this space for another few hours. Some of you have asked for recipes - most of them are available on my Nami-nami foodblog
, but I've also added some recipes to RecipeGullet. Here are the links:Estonian sauerkraut soupMy simple apple cakeSemolina breakfast porridge with eggs
I promised to show you how to make Estonian naturally leavened rye bread - as pictured on one of the teaser photos. Bread - rukkileib
- is the most important element of traditional Estonian eating. When we start eating, we say 'Head isu!' or bon appetit, but when you enter the room where somebody is eating, you'd wish them 'Jätku leiba!' or 'may you have enough bread'. The word for bread - leib - actually only means a rye bread (whether 100% rye, like the bread I make, or a mixture of rye and wheat). What is known as bread in most other countries - the one made with wheat flour - is known as 'sai' in Estonia. There's also 'sepik' which is made with barley flour or coarser wheat flour.
I don't have time for a proper step-by-step tutorial for that, but those of you who are interested, can probably find it on my other blog within a week (or fortnight, at the most). But I compiled this bread-making collage for you:
It's a no-knead bread
, though not as the very famous one everybody has been talking about (inc here on eGullet
There's very little hands on time, but it does take quite a lot of time to ferment. The basic ingredient list is basic: rye starter, warm water, rye flour, sugar, salt, more flour. On the day one (let say, on Friday morning before going to work), you take a big bowl, mix the starter (mine lives in a small jar in my fridge; the lid has small holes pierced in), 1 litre of warm tap-water, and so much flour that the mixture reminds you of sour cream (ca 300-400 grams). Cover (I use cling film), and place in a warm area to ferment for 24 hours (close to a radiator, next to your fireplace, on a floor with under-floor heating). No need to do anything with it during this time. (The sourness of the bread depends on this process - the longer the fermenting period and warmer the place, the more sour the resulting bread will be).
After this time (alas, Saturday morning), take the jar you keep the starter in (there is NO need to wash it between fillings), and put few ladlefuls (about 150 grams, perhaps?) into the jar. Put the jar into the fridge again until your next bread-making session.
Now, take the mixing bowl and add 4 tsp of salt and 150-200 grams sugar. Mix. [Now the optional part - you can add caraway seeds - a typical bread flavouring here, and compulsory element in my opinion; sunflower seeds, linseeds/flax seeds, oats, oat bran, - whatever you fancy]. Add more rye flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. The exact amount depends on zillion factors (incl whether you added any seeds or oats), but you want a mixture that isn't too runny nor too thick and heavy
Take two bread tins - I use Kaiser loaf pans, and butter them thoroughly. Divide the bread mixture between the two (filling them about halfways). Smooth the top with a wet hand. Cover again with cling film and leave to raise in a work place for the whole day (6-10 hours, depending what time did you get up on Saturday morning
Heat the oven to 200-220 C. Place the bread tins into the middle rack (removing the cling film, of course). During the first 20-30 minutes the bread develops a crust. After that you can cover the bread with foil to avoid burning it.
Bake for 60-70 minutes in total (sorry, this depends again on the oven. I bake my breads at 200C for 60 minutes, and that works out well). Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 7-10 minutes.
Now turn the breads out of the tins onto 2 sheets of parchment paper, schmear with butter on all sides, and wrap into the baking paper (and then on foil). Leave to cool for a little before eating.
Bread like this keeps fresh and moist for a week (you can put it in the fridge on day 3 or 4). It slices well, and tastes heavenly.
Now, the tricky part:
I also hope your rye starter is something we can replicate at home.
I got my rye bread starter from a kind fellow Estonian blogger back in April, and have been using the same starter from the beginning. If you'd be in Estonia, I could easily give you one, but most of you aren't.
I've got two tips from various local cookbooks, but I haven't tried them myself, so I don't guarantee they'd work:
Version 1. Mix rye flour and water into a thick mixture. To encourage fermenting, you may add something sour - grated sour apple or even apple juice, sour rye bread pieces, sauerkraut liquid or sour milk/kefir. Leave to ferment for 1-2 days in a warm place. The starter is done, when it deflates after rising."
Version 2. Mix some kefir/sour milk, few smashed boiled potatoes and enough rye flour to get a thick mixture. Sugar can be added, too. Leave to rise and deflate in a warm place.
Hope that helps.In any case, it's been fun blogging with you, dear fellow eGulleteers!
Edited by Pille, 24 September 2007 - 04:04 AM.