Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bread Baking Babes - Brunkans Langa

I will give you a direct quote from Gorel, our Babe of the Kitchen this month, on the bread she chose:
"Brunkan is a nickname for Brunkebergs bageri (the bakery of Brunkeberg, situated in Stockholm), and ”långa” means ”the long one”. When they bake this bread at the Brunkeberg bakery, it is more than two feet long – hence the name. The owner of this bakery is Heléne Johansson, an IT consultant who decided she needed a career change and thus started her own bakery in 2002. This proved to be very successful, and she has now started a second bakery and also taken on catering as a business. A true babe, isn’t she? This bread is from the book ”Bröd” (Bread) that Heléne published last year and which contains the most popular breads in her line."

Is that not a great and intriguing introduction to this months bread? Well then let me tell you more. Not only does the bread require a starter because it's a sourdough (yipee!), the starter is made with graham flour, which I've never used before. And shockingly, could actually get my hands on!

My story does not have a good beginning, however. I went to the 2 "largest" health/natural food stores here, which happen to be about a block away from each other. The first was closed, so we walked to the other. I scoured the flour aisle but could not see graham flour. A clerk asked me if I needed help and I told him what I was looking for. I followed him to a different aisle, where he waved his arm towards.....a bunch of cookies. No no, I said, I need graham flour. Just take the graham cookies and grind them up! he replied.

Even I knew that probably wasn't right.

The other store managed to open on a weekday and I found the flour there within seconds. Graham flour is actually a type of whole wheat flour, with both finely and coarsely ground components. And you thought I didn't know anything!

So, you make your starter, which takes at least 3 days. After which you can either store your starter and occasionally feed, or make the bread. But then when you mix the dough, it needs an overnight rise in the fridge. We had some last minute company who would be leaving the day the dough would be ready to bake, so I figured the day before I'd make the dough and then it could sit in the fridge until they left, at which time I'd bake it.

They decided that last morning that they'd stay another day if that was ok with us. It was, and I told myself that I was sure the dough would be ok in the fridge for another day. But then I opened the fridge.

The dough was massive! I was truly afraid that if I left it any longer it would end up stuck to the sides of the fridge. So I baked it that morning.

What a bread! The sourness was very light but lovely. If you wanted it stronger you could certainly leave the started longer before you bake, but I loved it just as it was. I gave one loaf to my parents and we motored thru that second loaf in less than 2 days. It was easy and lovely and very impressive.

A word of warning - this is a big dough. So unless you have a really big mixer (not a regular kitchenaid as that is what i have), mix this by hand!

Please visit Gorel for the recipe, and the rest of the Babes (listed over on the left) to see how their breads turned out. If you'd like to be a buddy, bake the bread and send a link to your post to Gorel by the 29th.