Finnish Christmas Buttermilk & Rye Bread
Joululimppu is a typical Finnish Christmas bread. Irresistibly moist from the buttermilk, this bread is dark and nutty from the rye flour, sweet from the treacle and fragrant from the toasted fennel and caraway seeds. It's not difficult to make and will fill your kitchen with the most delicious Nordic flavours as it bakes. This is one of those recipes when a Cloche is worth its weight in gold, not just because you get a beautiful even bake, but with the treacle in this bread it is easy to burn, so the even heat distribution protects the bread as it bakes which gives you a perfectly baked loaf. The loaf has both sugar, glycerine and treacle in it so osmotolerant yeast has been used which is better suited to enriched doughs than other yeasts. The glycerine is a wonderful ingredient when added to enriched dough as it makes the dough softer and reduces the drying effect as the buns age.
There is a kit with most of the ingredients and a free book here.
- 9g osmotolerant yeast
- 125g water at 28 degrees
- 20g sugar
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp caraway seeds
- 500g buttermilk
- 35g glycerine
- 100g black treacle
- 60g candied rainbow peel
- 10g sea salt
- 60g softened butter
- 250g rye flour
- 500g strong white flour
Step 1 Mix the yeast
Dissolve the yeast in the water, stir in the sugar. Leave for 10 minutes.
Step 2 Toast the seeds
Toast the caraway and fennel seeds lightly for 2 minutes and then set to one side
Step 3 Warm the buttermilk
Warm the buttermilk, glycerine, and treacle to 33C.
Step 4 Mix the liquids
Stir in the warmed buttermilk mix, peel, spices, salt and butter
Step 5 Add the flour
Stir in the rye flour stir well then add the strong white flour, stir well. Leave for 10 minutes.
Step 6 Knead
Turn out onto a lightly floured table, knead for 5 minutes then shape into a ball.
Step 7 Prove
Place the dough seam side up into a banneton then leave to prove until almost doubled. (This can vary, but as a guide it will take about 1 – ½ hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen).
Just before the dough has doubled in volume, preheat your oven to 220C and place your La cloche inside. Once it is at temperature remove your cloche from the oven carefully, set the lid to one side and dust the base with polenta or rye flour. Turn the dough into the cloche; score with a grignette, then replace the lid. Put the cloche into the oven and turn the temperature down to 200C. Bake for 1 hour. Test by inserting a skewer, if it comes out clean then the bread is done.
Step 8 Cool
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the cloche base. Transfer to a wire rack to further cool. Once cool store in a cotton bread bag.