Brød – a simple country loaf of bread

Bread is not just bread. It is how it is made that defines it and gives it flavor. You can taste the way it was made, either on fire, grill, or oven. The texture changes, but the core ingredients remain the same throughout millennia.

All cultures use bread, but we make it different, and that is what makes bread so awesome.

Bread, in all its various forms, is the most widely consumed food in the world.

Etymology

Old Danish brøth – Old Norse brauð – Swedish bröd – English bread – German Brot

We call bread brød in Denmark, and here’s how to pronounce brød in Danish.

History Lesson in 15 seconds

Egyptian breadmaking process captured on beautiful wall art.

It has been suggested that humans started baking bread at thousands of years ago. There is clear evidence that the earliest bread was made in or around 8000 BC in the Middle East, specifically Egypt (of course).  The Egyptians strike again with their forward-thinking and amazing way of life.

Prehistoric man had already been making gruel from water and grains, so it was a small jump to starting cooking this mixture into a solid by frying it on stones.

We have evolved a lot since, and now making bread is becoming an art. Some fancy bread has been labeled artisan bread. Small bakeries have popped up all over the country, supporting the growing economy, and people can afford a lot of nicer bread.

Artisan bread is a term that has no absolute definition but refers to a style of short shelf-life bread that is usually offered unpackaged (in baskets) and consumed immediately after baking for maximum freshness. … Longer fermentation times compared to commercial pan bread and rolls.

Making an Artisan Viking Loaf

I’ve always been fascinated by the country-style bread, their simplicity, and excellent flavors. It has been an adventure I wanted to experience, purely to test my patience and baking skills. The only challenge is, you need to set aside time to allow the core ingredients to work their magic.

The last Viking dinner – courtesy the Viking TV show

Baking a country-style bread is not a two-hour process like many other bread recipes. It would be best to let the dough cold rise, which slows down the time it takes to grow and allows the bread to develop a nice fluffiness and air pockets inside the bread.

My latest baking adventure took 24 hours, start to finish. It is fair to say that it is not a bread that you want to make for family dinner. You need to plan.

The beauty of this recipe is that it only contains 3 ingredients; flour, water and dry yeast.

You may raise eyebrows and wonder, “where is the salt?” If you recollect, I do not use salt unless I cure meat or fish. Many foods have natural salt, and most items you buy in the grocery stores have plenty of added sodium.

Let’s Make Bread

Please note, this bread is made on my Traeger peel grill. I’m sure you could make it in a conventional oven, but you have to test that yourself. I normally make this bread midday if I want to eat it the following evening.

  • 2 teaspoons of dry instant yeast
  • 3 cups of lukewarm water
  • 6-7 cups of flour

You do not use a machine for this amazing loaf. It is hand power. We need to get back to the skills our Viking ancestors used. A bowl, a wooden spoon, and your hands. Trust me, it is much more fun when you get to touch the dough.

  1. Pour the dry yeast into a large bowl
  2. Pour in the lukewarm water
  3. Gently whisk the water to mix in the yeast – no lumps
  4. Add three (3) cups of flour, and turn it with a wooden spoon
  5. Add two (2) more cups of flour, and turn it with the spoon
  6. Add one (1) more cup of flour.
  7. Add a little more sprinkles of flour if you need it.
  8. The dough should start to get more firm. It has to be sticky but not stick to the sides.
  9. Cover the bread with plastic wrap and a tea towel
  10. Place the bowl in an area where you will not place something on top and not too warm.
  11. It needs to rise for 18-24 hours

The longer you let the bread rise, the more air and holes the bread will get.

The baking process is even simpler, taking less than an hour. All you need is a large 7 qtr. cast-iron Dutch oven and your Traeger.

If you get excited about cooking with a cast-iron pot, then you know that you have moved into the adult phase of your life. A few years ago, I couldn’t care less about which pot I used, and I never expected to be a Dutch oven preacher. They are awesome!

The red beauty

SALES PITCH! If you are not familiar with the Dutch oven. You need to invest in one – today! I can highly recommend the excellent quality of Le Crueset. Granted, it is a little more expensive than regular pots but totally worth the investment. It’ll last you decades, and you will not regret it.

But, you do need to learn how to cook using a Dutch oven. You cannot blast up the heat as food will burn due to the cast-iron and how it transmits heat. The cooldown is also much slower. Be careful when you grab the lid or handles.

Baking Time

It has been 18-24 hours since you read the first part of this post, and I’ve distracted you long enough. The dough should be ready for the baking process at this point, assuming you are back reading how to bake the bread.

You should notice when you remove the tea towel and plastic wrap that the dough no longer looks like the dough ball you made the day before. It has almost melted, looking like some alien lifeform, with bubbles. The blob has been born in your bowl!

  1. Preheat your Traeger grill to 450F
  2. When it reaches 450F, place the empty Dutch oven in the grill.
  3. It needs to heat up for 25-30 minutes.
  4. While the Dutch oven is heating up, we can prepare the bread.
  5. Dust down the kitchen counter slightly.
  6. Gently pour the dough blob on to the surface.
  7. DO NOT knead the dough!
  8. Dust the dough blob a little, and slowly move it around until you have a nice more solid dough ball. Again, not too firm, and DO NOT knead it!
  9. When the Dutch oven is ready, carefully place the dough ball in the center of the pot.
  10. Cover the pot with the lid
  11. Place the Dutch oven back in the Traeger.
  12. Bake the bread in the Traeger for 25 minutes
  13. Remove the lid, and bake for another 25-30 minutes. This gives the bread a nice golden finish.

Please be VERY careful when you remove the pot from the grill. It is scorching, and you should place it on a heat-resistant surface or stove.

I normally remove the bread immediately. Amazingly, it does not burn or stick to the pot. I believe it’s because the pot is so hot when you place the raw dough in there that it quickly score the bottom. I could be wrong, of course.

If you pay close attention to the bread and place your ear next to it, then you can hear it crackle. That is such an awesome sound and makes you feel proud.

Let the bread rest for at lest 10-15 minutes before cutting it.

Finished product – excellent for soups, snack, cheese platter, etc.

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