Wrapped in Memories

Put a loaf of bread in front of any one of my family members, and we will devour it. We are all a bunch of carb-loving food lovers with big sweet teeth and the philosophy that no meal is complete without a slice of warm, yeasty bread. The leader of our gourmet pack was always my Morfar, my grandfather, whose plebian tastes morphed into an enjoyment of anything laden in salt, sugar, or memories. Some of his tastes seemed peculiar to me growing up, like canned sardines, pickled herring, or Triscuit-like hard-tac biscuits. Others brought me joy and expectation of a moment shared with him. After a trip to Ikea, whose stores were still spare up until my early teens and made for a great treat, Morfar would come back with buckets of Lingönberry jam, tiny shrimp to fill the freezer, and these naan-like breads. The soft, earthy bread had caramelized, imperfect spots waiting to come alive when toasted into a complex, slightly sweet bread like no other toast you’ve ever had. Brushed with butter and drizzled with honey, it was a simple pleasure that reminded Morfar of his simple but treasured childhood in rural Sweden, and would bring to mind stories I loved to hear him tell. Though he is no longer with us, I like to stir up his memory and the many things he taught and captivated me with by putting my mark on these traditional Swedish foods and filling my home with his honor and love.

 

 

Hönökaka

525 g. (about 2 1/4 cups) full-fat coconut milk

10 g. (3 1/3 tsp.) active dry yeast

20 g. (1 Tbsp.) golden syrup (from beet sugar, available at Ikea – or you can use 1/2 agave and 1/2 molasses)

6 g. (1 tsp.) salt

240 g. (2 cups) rye flour

540 g. (4 cups) all purpose flour

 

1. Heat the milk until lukewarm. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the yeast and syrup, mixing to dissolve.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix with a dough hook on low speed until thoroughly moistened. Scrape down the sides of theo bowl to insure all flour gets incorporated.

3. Increase speed to medium and let the mixer knead the dough for several minutes until it’s smooth.

4. Tightly cover and refrigerate the dough overnight or up to a week to rest and slow rise.

5. On the day of baking, either preheat your oven and a couple of pizza stones to 350 degrees, or heat a wide non-stick skillet over medium high heat.

6. Cut the dough into 12 pieces. On a floured surface, roll each piece out 1/8 thick.

7. If using a skillet, cook them one at a time in the heated pan, about 3 minutes per side or until some brown spots appear on the side in contact with the heat. If using the oven, you can bake two per baking stone for about 8 to 10 minutes.

 

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