Applesauce-Buttermilk Rye/Omenalimppuja (Finland)

Rye %: 50%
Stages: Straight dough
Leaven: Instant yeast
Start to Finish: 3½ hours
Hands-on Time: 30 minutes
Yield: Two 1½ lb/725 g loaves

In terms of rye baking, it can be said that Finland is where East and West meet: The breads of eastern Finland are dense, dark and sour, much like the breads of their immediate neighbors, Russia and the Baltics. To the west, the breads have more in common with the sweet, fragrantly spiced mixed-grain breads of Sweden.

This Applesauce-Buttermilk Rye, which comes from the region around Helsinki, is just such a bread. It’s built on a yeast-leavened straight dough consisting of 50/50 wheat-rye, hydrated with beer, applesauce and the fermented milk the Finns call piima, sweetened with syrup, and spiced with anise, fennel, cumin and orange zest. In all, it’s a flavorful, highly accessible bread that could just as easily be found on any table in Stockholm, Uppsala, Göteborg or Malmö.

In the past, I’ve used commercial low-fat buttermilk in breads that call for soured milk; this time, however, I chose full-fat kefir, Middle Eastern-style fermented milk that’s thicker and more sour than buttermilk. For the applesauce I used organic unsweetened from a jar and for the beer I chose a hoppy West Coast IPA.

The bread is incredibly complex – a riot of flavors that plays the spice of the rye against the sweetness of applesauce and syrup, fragrance of anise, fennel and cumin, and bitterness of the orange zest. The cake-like crumb is close and moist, the crust thin and crunchy, the chew smooth and mouth-filling, punctuated by surprising sweet-bitter nuggets of candied orange peel.

I’ve eaten this bread with prosciutto, Swiss cheese and butter and it complements each of them beautifully. My favorite topping, however, is goat cheese topped with a dab of orange marmalade, which gives me sweet orange above and below, sandwiching the creamy-sour-funky chèvre. I accompanied it with a glass of 100°-proof rye whiskey, but coffee or tea will do just as nicely.

Final Dough:

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Baker’s
Percentage

Buttermilk or kefir

260

9.15

30.59%

Unsalted butter, room temperature

15

0.55

1.76%

Unsweetened applesauce

260

9.15

30.59%

Dark corn syrup or light molasses

145

5.10

17.06%

Beer

75

2.65

8.82%

TOTAL FLOUR

850

30.00

100.00%

   Medium rye flour

425

15.00

50.00%

   Bread flour

425

15.00

50.00%

Salt

12

0.40

1.41%

Instant yeast

15

0.55

1.76%

Candied orange peel, minced

25

0.90

2.94%

Anise seed, ground

3

0.10

0.35%

Cumin seed, ground

2

0.05

0.24%

Fennel seed, ground

2

0.05

0.24%

Grated orange zest, ¾ tsp.

2

0.05

0.24%

TOTAL FORMULA

1,666

58.70

196.00%

In the mixer bowl, warm the buttermilk or kefir over a pan of boiling water to body temperature (100°F/38°C). Stir in the butter until melted, then add the applesauce, syrup and beer and continue mixing until blended. Add the flour, yeast, salt, ground spices, orange zest and candied orange peel.

Use the dough hook at low (KA2) speed to mix until the dough gathers around the hook and cleans the sides of the bowl, 6-8 minutes.

 

 

Cover with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature (70°F/21°C) until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

 

 

Turn the dough onto a well-floured work surface and divide it into two pieces, each weighing approximately 29 oz./825 g. Shape each into a boule or bâtard and set on a well-floured peel, if using a baking stone, or on a parchment-lined sheet pan.

 

Cover and proof at room temperature until the surface shows cracks and/or broken bubbles and the loaves have visibly expanded, 45-60 minutes.

 

Preheat the oven to 395°F/200°C. Slash each loaf to a depth of at least ¼”/0.6 cm, brush the crust with water and bake for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature to 335°F/170°C  and continue baking until the loaves thump when tapped with a finger and the internal temperature is at least 198°F/92°C, 40-45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.


5 Comments

  • Ted Fichtenholtz

    February 8, 2017

    Great recipe, but you left out when to add the yeast.

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      February 8, 2017

      Thanks for pointing that out; it goes in with the flours. I’ve revised the recipe.

      Reply
  • rudirednose

    February 12, 2017

    Hello Stan, thank you for this recipe!
    Here you see my first result
    http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/50815/applesaucebuttermilk-rye-recipe-stanley-ginsberg
    My usual proceeding is baker-% x 5 = 500 g total flour, and so all the ingredients. And therefore only one loaf. Baked with your temperatures but in convection mode and 5 minutes longer for the greater loaf. Wonderfull bread! rudi 😉

    Reply
  • Tia

    February 21, 2017

    Hi, your bread here is reminiscent of a bread called “Setsuuri” which comes from Eastern Karelia, close to the Russian border. It was regarded as a festive bread because of the added spices and syrup – baked for weddings, funerals and also Christmas. It was made half and half with rye and wheat flour. The rye flour was scalded first with boiling water and left to absorb over night (autolise) before the wheat flour and yeast was added to it in the morning. It is a relatively sweet bread with a tight crumb. Sometimes it is basted with sugary water to give it a glazed finish. My recipes call for raisins instead of apple sauce but in principle the bread is very similar. Will have to try it with apple sauce next time I make some!

    Reply
    • Stanley Ginsberg

      February 21, 2017

      How interesting! I’m familiar with some Karelian dishes, especially the rice tarts (Karjalanpiiraka) and what I call Salmon Wellington (Kalakukko). This info is a nice addition to my knowledge. I’d be very happy to see your recipe, since this one, which comes from the Helsinki region, doesn’t use a scald.

      Reply

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