Bread is an important part of our dietary regime and there’s no greater joy than having a piece of crunchy bread early in the morning. It is supposed to be the comfort food for most. Recently, however, it is being maligned as it is said to be a roadblock in your weight loss journey, still we cannot think of doing without bread. But should we really eliminate bread from our diets or do as the Nordics do and eat the healthy version of it? The Nordic diet plan incorporates bread in their daily diet regime, but they have the whole-grain version of it. They include whole grains like rye, barley spelt and so on.
How do the Nordics Include Bread in Their Diet Plan?
The Finns or the Swedish swear by their whole grains as there are myriad benefits of whole-grain. As they are filling and wholesome, they can control diseases like type 2 diabetes and inflammation. The Nordics also follow the simple formula of eating fresh and local and hence they bake their bread within the confines of their home rather than buying store bought bread which has loads of additives and preservatives. There’s no greater joy than eating chunks of freshly baked bread. The aroma and taste can both send you into a tizzy.
Top Bread Recipes
These recipes, besides being overly delicious, are full of nutrients and help us with a balanced diet. Unlike the new age nutritionists and weight-watchers, who would like to eliminate bread altogether from their diets so that they reach their fitness goals, the Nordics think that carbs are as important for our body as the rest of the nutrients. So include bread in your diet without fear but make sure you include whole-grain to keep a tab on the health factor as well. These easy bread recipes can give you plenty of options to put on your breakfast, lunch and dinner tables.
The Cinnamon Bun
This recipe is a sure shot winner as it is full of nutrients and checks the quintessential Finnish baking techniques. The exterior is hard while the interior is soft to sink your teeth into.
For the Dough:
- Lukewarm milk 570ml
- Caster sugar 150g
- Fresh yeast 45g (or easy-blend dried yeast, according to manufacturer's instructions)
- Cardamom seeds 1 tsp., crushed with a pestle and mortar
- Unsalted butter 180g, melted
- Egg 1
- Plain flour 1 kg
- For the filling
- Unsalted butter 100g softened at room temperature
- Dark brown soft sugar 200g
- Ground cinnamon 3 tbsp.
- For the glaze
- Caster sugar 90g
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tbsp.
- You will need
- Baking Trays, Lined with Non-Stick Baking Paper.
- To make the dough, put the milk, sugar, yeast, cardamom, melted butter and egg in a food processor or mixer with a dough hook. With the motor running, gradually add the flour until it is all incorporated and the dough has come together. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with a clean small towel and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.
- After an hour, knead down the dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll it out until it is about 30cm x 80cm and 7mm thick. For the filling, spread the butter evenly over the dough and sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon all over the top.
- Roll the dough up from a long side. Cut into 7cm rolls, but cut them at an angle – so, make the first cut across the dough, and then the second cut about 6cm along diagonally in the opposite direction. You should get a roll and then carefully transfer the buns to the prepared baking trays, with the longest edge of the bun sitting on the tray, cover with small towels again and leave in a relatively warm place for 30-60 minutes, until it almost doubles in size.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Bake the buns in the preheated oven for a good 20-25 minutes, until it turns brown.
- To make the glaze, take the sugar, lemon juice, and 100ml water and put it in a small pan and start boiling it. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until it thickens considerably. The glaze will be quite watery.
- Remove the buns from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and brush the glaze generously over them. Leave them to cool before you serve it hot.
Rye is a very healthy whole-grain and is a part of the staple Nordic Diet. It is full of fiber and it sticks to water molecules giving a feeling of fullness and satiety. The Nordic have many variations of the Rye Bread. Here’s one.
For the Dough:
- Easy-blend dried yeast 14g
- Lukewarm water 900ml-1 liter
- Whole meal rye flour 800g
- Sea salt 2 tsp.
- 3 baking trays, lined with non-stick baking paper
- Put the yeast in a mixing bowl with 300ml of the lukewarm water and a couple of tablespoons of the flour. Stir nicely to mix. Cover with a clean small towel and leave in a warm place to rest for the night.
- The next morning, mix in the salt and remaining flour with enough lukewarm water to make the soft and pliant dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes – it may be soft and sticky. Cover with the tea towel again and leave to prove in a warm place for 1-1½ hours, until it doubles in size.
- Knead down the dough, divide into three and roll into balls on the floured surface. Flatten each one into a disc and make a hole in the middle to form a ring. Transfer to the prepared baking trays. Cover with the tea towel again and leave to rest in a warm place for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Dust the bread with flour and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until it is nicely browned.
These recipes from the Nordic Diet Plan are simple and easy to make and the homemade bread turns out to be the softest one you would have ever sunk your teeth into. It’s not even remotely stale, and the perfect companion to your piping hot beverage! With these bread, your mornings will never be the same again.