Rugbrød, a danish treasure.
Sunday 7:30 am.
I do not normally wake up at that time on a sunday off, except due to travels or mushroom hunting, when it’s season.
Today , I will not sleep until total rest because I have one of the most important days since I put my feet on danish soil.
I am jumping on my old bike, direction Nørrebrogade, sorry if that sounds cliché, but I am about to take part in a workshop at Meyer Madhus (yes, one of Klaus Meyer latest piece in his culinary empire, a private cooking school).
I am expecting very much from what is going to happen during the next few hours, I am about to learn how to, and bake my first rye-bread ….(Mit første rugbrød..).
It may not sound exciting for most, but I have to confess, I am a rugbrød enthusiast, and I am probably on my way to become a fanatic.
Back in time,
At age 8 my interest was teased by the never ending discussion between my stepdad, a ”pain de seigle” (”rye-bread”) preacher and nutrition enthusiast and french national treasure the all mighty ”baguette” champion , my granddad. During the war he got his share of dark bread for a lifetime and only the sight of it will turn him into a rage…
the argument will go on forever at the sunday dinner table, white versus black, over the checked tablecloth.
Followed my first escape from France around age 15 and first bite in a slice of German swartzbrod and pumpernickel while on a language exchange in north Germany.
The sinful idea and treaters filling that baguette could be overtroned starting to grow stronger.
Followed many other dark bread experiences, other pumpernickel, english countryside rye-bread other pain de seigle, other swartzbrod, some from the Netherlands, from Lithuania and Latvia (flavoured with bison herbs and caraway), all with different flavours, acidity, moister, bites and density.
As i lived in Norway many years after, I became friend with a danish citizen from Greenland, Jakob, an ex Michelin’s star restaurant chef and autodidact baker. We enjoyed many bread talks and a few night of baking together in his organic bakery in Stavanger. I loved Jakob’s bread, and the way it was made, hand folded one by one, on the big wood table. For sure, the best bread in town.
Jakob always said that the most skilful baker were danish. He mentioned Aurion, his baking guru and the danish rugbrød. Turning it into a mystic baking experience, close to alchemy where rye, water and salt will be transform into bars of pure gold.
I could only confirm what he said a few years after when I moved from the UK to Kph and taste my first danish ry-bread.
Denmark, rye-bread heaven.
I got really lucky as this rugbrød was the fruit of a master baker, Per Bryn and the best and most authentic rye-bread I tasted since I arrived in Denmark.
I requested and admitted Per Bryn’s bread only to honour our customer’s tables every day at Botaniq restaurant ever since.
I became really found of rye-bread, and know now where to ”score” the vegan one that suite my taste.( it is not always vegan some sour milk could be used…ask first.)
It is to me the best danish product and the only one I always bring with me for a trip out of Denmark, for myself or for a gift to my friends and family. It is the healthy and the tasty finally unified and pacified.
It is food as it should be, simple, honest, nourishing, practical , made from well adapted local ingredients, with local tradition and lots of care and dedication.
Now I have made and baked one almost on my own, a very dense one, very acidic, a bit to chewy.. there is still a lot of work to do before I can assume that I know how to bake a good rugbrod but I feel I have brook the spell, and the shelf for me to make this danish wonder mine.
Rest is work and patience. And that does not seems to bewildering to me.