When I was in Norway in 2008, all those years ago, one of the things that I appreciated most was that even what I would consider to be bad bread (AKA mass produced bread bought from the supermarket) was of a better standard than what is available in the UK. The range was vast and way more interesting, with different grains used and lots of varying shapes and sizes. Even bog-standard sandwiches on trains were better than back at home, with rye bread making a substantial and very much appreciated appearance. Those Norwegians…they know good bread.
Enter grovbrød – a hearty wholemeal bread, made with three types of flour, which sets it apart from something like my North Folk bread which is also hearty, but has a quite heavy crumb by comparison. Grovbrød also has a light sweetness to it, thanks to the smidgeon treacle and the malted wheat flakes, which pairs beautifully with nutty Norwegian cheeses, such as Jarlsberg or even Brunost if you’re into that sort of thing.
Norwegian Grovbrød (adapted from Scandilicious Baking by the wonderful Signe Johansson. A book that you should absolutely treat yourself to if you don’t already have it in your collection.)
- 200g stoneground white flour
- 100g stoneground wholemeal spelt flour
- 100g stoneground rye flour
- 50g oatmeal
- 50g malted wheat flakes
- 10g fresh yeast (or 5g dried)
- 2 tablespoons of treacle
- 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
- 375g water
Start by weighing out and mixing your flours, oatmeal, and malted wheat flakes. Stir in a large bowl to combine.
In a little bowl crumble the fresh yeast and mix in the treacle to dissolve. If using dried yeast, mix this with a little of the water and leave for around 20 minutes until a foam appears on the surface and the yeast granules have been dissolved.
Add the water, yeast mixture, oil, and sea salt to the bowl and stir with your hands to combine. Knead briefly, and then return to the bowl to prove for around a couple of hours.
When the dough has doubled in size, knock it back, shape it into a sausage and place it into a lightly oiled tin. I used two little 450g tins, but using a larger 900g tin would work just fine too.
Pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees centigrade and set aside your covered tins until the loaf has almost reached the top of the sides.
Bake at 220 degrees, spritzing the oven with cold water as you load in the loaves to create lots of steam. After the first 10 – 15 minutes turn the temperature down to 190 degrees centigrade and cook for a further 30 minutes.
Check the loaves are done by giving them a tap on the sides and bottom – they should sound hollow and have a good crust. If the outside still feels a bit soft, take the loaves out of the tins and give them a few more minutes to crisp up on the outside.
Enjoy with some salty butter and Norwegian cheese.