Mid of May 2013 I had an opportunity to visit Oslo, Norway on an official assignment. As always buying local Norwegian ingredients and bringing them back to India and making a custom India-International dish was on my un-official agenda 🙂
Norwegians are very proud to have a variety of bread types, from half-baked to healthy whole grain varieties; they all are always stacked in convenient stores across Oslo. Ready to make bread flour and a packet of yeast was something I picked up to be taken to India. To this I could also add the Norwegian herbs a packet that was gifted by my dear Norwegian friend and foodie Oddlaug Lindgard.
Here is a Norwegian bread recipe customized for the Indian palate, dedicated to Oddlaug.
1) 500 grams Norwegian ready to bake flour. This variety isn’t available in India obviously, but a close equivalent can be easily made at home. We have a flour making machine (Ghar-Ghanti) at home and making instant healthy flour is therefore very easy. If you don’t get a ready to make whole grain bread mix you could make a 500 grams mix at home by mixing fine whole wheat grain flour 350 grams, coarse whole wheat grain flour 75 grams (having an occasional whole grain gives the very good look, besides the healthy fibre) , oats 50 grams , and 25 grams sesame seeds.
2) Yeast (I used a Norwegian brand but there are several Indian local brands available)
3) 100 grams garlic de-skinned garlic pods, you could reduce this for a milder flavor.
4) 2 table spoons dried red chili flakes; I made them fresh at home by simply cutting dried chilies in 5mm by 5mm pieces.
5) 1 table spoon dried dehydrated curry leaves powder; this was also made at home to ensure authentic freshness. Simply dehydrate the curry leaves in an oven and then crush/grind them in a mixture. Preserve in a deep freezer.
6) Olive oil.
7) Norwegian herbs. This was a gift by my dear friend Oddlaug when she learnt about CookingWithMySpouse. It is impossible to get one in India, but I can suggest an equivalent. Take 2-3 handful of Kasuri Methi, a pinch of Saffron and 2 tea spoons of bay leaf powder. This should give the baked bread a nice texture and flavor.
Activate the yeast by adding the yeast powder to 150 ml warm water set aside for 10 minutes. You should get a fermented smell if the yeast is good to use. Long term refrigeration of yeast makes it dormant and ineffective.
Coarsely crush the garlic pods in a pestle.Mix the Norwegian bread mix (or you Indian equivalent) , Norwegian herbs (or the Indian equivalent), Garlic paste, Curry leaves powder, chili flakes. Add salt to taste. Add a tea spoon of sugar. Now start adding water and knead well. Also add the warm yeast liquid. The kneaded dough should be firm.
Make buns and add cuts to allow the buns to expand well when baking. Place on a baking dish with an aluminum foil. Set aside for 10 minutes to let the yeast do its work. The uncooked buns will rise.
While the uncooked buns rise pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes. Place the uncooked buns into the oven and let them cook for 25-30 minutes. The top of the bun may become a little hard and brittle. Remove the buns and brush them with olive oil and put them back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
The buns are now ready to be served plain of with a side dish. We served the hot buns with Tomato Marmalade, and what a dish it turned out to be. One of the best breads I have ever eaten second only to authentic Norwegian bread and original Goan fresh bread.