29 October 2009


Once again...our cousin Claus Meyer has a new book. This time he has teamed up with his colleague Nicolai Halken Skytte from Meyers Madhus for a new baking book. It delivers an array of easy to follow recipes from the wonderful bread and cakes of Meyers own bakery.

DANSK: "Meyers Bageri - ny bog udkommer på fredag 30/10
Meyers Bageri af Claus Meyer og Nicolai Halken Skytte er en grundbagebog med mere end 80 opskrifter på alt fra rugbrød og hvedebrød til croissanter, æblemuffins og tebirkes."

ENGLISH: Meyers Bageri - new book for release on friday 10/30.
Meyers Bageri (Meyers Bakery) of Claus Meyer and Nicolai Halken Skytte have a basic baking book with more than 80 recipes all from rugbrød (pumpernickel) and hvedebrød (wheat bread) to croissanter (croisants), æblemuffins (apple muffins) og tebirkes (tea rolls). 

Published by Lindhardt og Ringhof.

Below you will find a translated excerpt from their upcoming book:
(Page 52)


This is the starter we use for all of the breads in our professional bakery - both wheat bread and rye bread. This starter is technically a ‘biga’ (see page 25) is nearly as thin as water. But, it gives a fantastic taste to the bread.It is my experience that a thin sourdough starter is far better than a very thick and often more acidic one as it brings out the taste of the grain better.

If you bake regularly, you should always use the starter below. It is not at all complicated and you get a more personal, complex and healthier bread out of your efforts.

The starter should be kept partially hidden in a bucket, a glass or ceramic bowl on the kitchen table or in a closet. Here it can remain for about one week without going bad – even, if you don’t use it. Should you go away or on holiday, place the starter in the starter in the refrigerator. When you return home discard half and restart with fresh water and flour. Then it is ready for us again after two days on the kitchen table.

You can easily use a starter that smells sour as that is what I do often. But, it is a myth that it should smell this way. A perfect sourdough should smell like a good dark beer. If your starter smells sour, there are many acetic acid bacteria in it and not enough lactic acid bacteria. This means that your bread will be flatter, less elastic, less airy and more acidic than it was intended. But, it can still taste good anyway.

:: Remember to start a new batch from scratch every 10 days ::


9 dl vand / water
150 g økologisk hvedemel / organic flour
75 g økologisk grahamsmel / organic graham or whole wheat flour
75 g økologisk rugmel / organic rye flour

Pour all ingredients into a bowl and whisk them together well. Transfer batter into a glass or ceramic bowl and cover the container partially as to allow the dough to still breath. Store at room temperature

Whisk the batter once a day. After about 10 days (of fermenting) the batter should have the good smell of a heavy dark beer along with a healthy foam on top. Now it is ready to use.

Afterwards, you will need to regularly stir the starter once a day or every other day at the very least. Stir gently thoroughly from top to bottom making sure you fully mix the foam throughout the batter. Otherwise, the starter will begin to separate and rot.

General Rule: Each time you use some of the starter, you freshen in up with the same quantity of flour and water that you use of the batter.

:: Once you have this starter up and ready....i'll post his rugbrød (pumpernickel bread) recipe!

18 October 2009

RETRO REQUEST: Øllebrød - Beer Bread Soup?

Oddly enough... I have to admit that it has been many years since I even had a nice bowlful of Danish Beer Bread Soup (øllebrød). The last batch I consumed was in the winter of 1981 when I was visiting my family after high school graduation. You see…My grandmother (bedstemor) was an amazing cook - and she was one of those experienced cooks who knew what to do with leftovers. Thus, this request is stirring up memories of low light winter evenings from that time and from those of my earlier youth in Jylland (Jutland).

Our first retro request comes from Giovanna Zivny (@giovannaz) from Portland, Oregon via Twitter as we pursue the lovely goodness of this winter bowl of bread and beer.

For those unfamiliar with this cold season Danish treat, take the scene from the movie Babette's Feast and imagine old-fashioned goodness versus the expression Babette showed us. Let me guess…anyone unfamiliar with this soup is probably grimacing away right now. But, take a look first at the clip and then, follow through with the recipes provided and I think you'll be easily converted...especially, if you already like a good bowl of oatmeal.

Since Denmark's love affair with 'smørre' (butter) and 'brød' (bread) has yielded their passion for smørrebrød (open face sandwiches), it seems appropriate to share with you something much older to the traditional cuisine of the Danes, 'øllebrød'.

Øllebrød is a dish that typifies much of the hardiness of its people. Its names are derivation of the two main ingredients of this soup; the word 'øl' (beer) and 'brød' (bread), which were generally stale or old. Any soup that takes the economy of stale bread and beer and turns it into a happy bowl of seasonal warmth deserves continued play.

Here are two recipes that were interchangeable used over the years by my family with a little change or two depending on the mood of the cook. But, remember it will taste the best when cooked over low heat with much patience.

Know your Danish measurements
tsk=demitasse spoon / spsk=large soup spoon / and measure in metric.

Below you will find recipes translated into English from the Danish original.

:: Here is ‘Frøken Jensens Kogebog’ (1901) version of the country classic.

Frøken Jensen’s Øllebrød (Beer Bread Soup)
4 servings

200 g Pumpernickel Bread - stale
1/2-3/4 liter Water
1/2 bottle Pale Sweet Malt Beer
1/2-1 dl Sugar
1-2 tsk Fresh Lemon Zest

Break bread into small pieces, cover with water and soak overnight. Cook slowly with lid over low heat until it becomes dark – but, stir often as not to let it burn. Whisk hard to eliminate all clumps before bread is cooked down or you will have to strain it or use a blender. If necessary, use more water to cook down the bread. Dilute the soup with the beer, adding sugar and lemon zest to taste. Cook an additional 10-15 more minutes on warm. Add additional water or beer, until there is about 1-1/2 liters of soup.

(optional) In place of the lemon zest, you can also use marinated orange rind or a whisked egg with sugar and two spsk of orange juice into the bowl while holding the bowl at an angle to allow for whisking of the ingredients.

Serve with milk, cream or whipped cream.

:: And from the notorious little paperback cookbook ‘Den Røde Kogebog’ that every Danish housewife has available in the kitchen comes this simpler version:

Den Røde Kogebog’s Øllebrød (Beer Bread Soup)
4-6 servings

350 g Pumpernickel Bread
3/4 liter Water
1 bottle Pale Sweet Malt Beer
50 g Powdered Sugar
1 tsk Vanilla Extract
1/2 Fresh Lemon (zest + juice)

Break the slices into four pieces each, soak in water and cook for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through a (large wire) colander and return to stove. Add beer to soup mixture and cook about 10 minutes more. Then, add sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and juice to taste.

Serve with whipped cream or cream.

:: And best of all, without the Noma Cookbook at my finger tips, I found their heavenly reinterpretation online thanks to a posting in the kristeligt-dagblad:

Noma’s divine....Øllebrød (Beer Bread Soup)
(four part recipe)
4 servings

Øllebrød- Part 1
500 g Pumpernickel Bread soaked in pilsner beer
120 g Brown Sugar
80 g Sugar
100 g Heavy Cream
½ Fresh Lemon (juice + zest)
1 tsk (Apple Cider) Vinegar Reduction
20 g Dark Chocolate - grated fine

Remove 250 g of the liquid from the wet pumpernickel and blend with the rest of the bread. Cook until thoroughly warm adding the rest of the ingredients while adjusting the sugar and lemon to taste.

Rhubarb Sorbet (Rabarbersorbet) - Part 2
500 g Fresh Rhubarb
½ liter Simple Sugar (from ½ l water, ½ l sugar + 50 g liquid glucose)
2 sheets Gelatin (dissolved in cold water)

Parboil 300g of rhubarbs with the simple sugar. Cook until the rhubarb is broken down and allow it to cool off. Then, mix in the dissolved gelatin. Blend the mixture with the rest of the remaining 200g of rhubarb and strain mixture. Allow it to cool off and then freeze until needed as sorbet using an ice cream machine.

Milk Chiffon/Siphon (Mælkesifon) – Part 3
¼ l Heavy Cream
20 g Pastry Sugar
3 sheets Gelatin (dissolved in cold water)
½ l Whole Milk

Heat the cream up with the pastry sugar. Melt the gelatin in the mixture and mix it up with milk. Pour the mixture on a siphon bottle and allow it to cool down. Give the bottle a new charge….or if you don’t have a manual seltzer bottle with charge, use a hand mixer and whip until fluffy.

Pumpernickel Crumble (Rugbrødcrumble) – Part 4
2 slices Multigrain Pumpernickel Bread
4 spsk. Butter
rock salt

Tear pumpernickel into fine pieces and roast until crisp and golden in butter. Drop and scatter onto a sheet and sprinkle with salt.

How to serve:

Place a spoonful of the hot beer and bread soup at the bottom of four soup plates. Place on top of soup a ball sherbet and the splashes milk siphon/chiffon around it, so that it covers the hot porridge. Sprinkle with crumble and serve immediately.

Nordic resources

 Here is a quick shopping resource guide for Nordic food and supplies:


2709 San Pablo Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94702
T 510.705.1932 / 800.854.6435

30 High Street
Norwalk, CT 06851
T 203.838.2087


Olsen's Danish Village Bakery
1529 Mission Drive
Solvang, CA 93463

1216 Burlingame Ave.
Burlingame, CA 94010

1679 Copenhagen Drive
Solvang, CA 93463-2734
T 800.621.1679

::BASIC FOOD SUPPLIES (non-specialty)::

Trader Joe's
European Style Pumpernickel Bread
Fried Onions (seasonal)

IKEA (food market)
items vary from cheese, salmon, herring, etc.

05 October 2009

RETRO FLASH: Krydderfedt Sandwich 1944

slrfrom the archives of Gourmet Magazine...



"Present butter supplies just won't stretch to meet every holiday occasion. Take a tip from the Danes and try a quarter-pound of an unrationed fat, the Krydderfedt, made of tried-out fat of poultry, beef, and pork. It's a good spread for dark bread or the ubiquitous rye krisp. We approve it especially for a sandwich made with salami or corned beef or the Danish rolled veal. The chef of Old Denmark, 135 East 57th Street, cuts the fats into small bits, puts them into a heavy kettle along with diced onion, then over low heat for two to three hours. Next the fat is strained, then set to harden. Meanwhile, the crisped skin of the poultry and the golden bits of onion are ground and returned to the fat, to make a savory stuff that has all the appearance of a golden nut butter.

Spread it over a slice of pumpernickel, sprinkle with a liberal addition of salt and freshly ground pepper. For a treat of the first order top the fat with paper-thin slices of Danish salami. In Denmark this fat is used the year around as a spread for the meat sandwich. A little spreads about a mile, and so it should—for the cost is 80 cents a pound."

Now I know where our mother got her taste for bacon fat sandwiches from...it was an way of stretching the rations of war and economy. And heck, even today I still drain the bacon grease from the pan and save it in the fridge for later uses...but, for me - never on a sandwich alone like she did.


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