Swedish Sour Milk Bread
Two 9-inch (23 cm) loaves
Recipe adapted from Chef Henrik Norstrom in Stockholm, Sweden. This is more of a cake-like ‘bread’, than a traditional bread. Think French Pain d’spices; a moist batter with lots of spices, with a soft crust and bready interior. I made it twice, and mine came out slightly lighter than the one served at the restaurant (shown.) It goes well with a swipe of butter, but you could certainly serve it with a compote of cherries in red wine syrup, a sharp cheese, or snack on it just as-is, which is what I did with each loaf. Note that this recipe uses dark syrup, which is ubiquitous in Sweden. I picked up a few bottles in Sweden to bring home, but I’ve suggested some alternatives at the end of the recipe.
2 1/4 cups (350g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (175g) rye flour
2 teaspoons baking powder (preferably aluminium-free)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons anise seeds
2 cups (500ml) buttermilk
3/4 cup (210g) dark syrup, or an alternative (see Note)
1. Preheat the oven to 215ºF (100ºC.) Lightly grease a 9-inch (23 cm) square cake pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and rye flours, the baking powder, baking soda, and caraway seeds.
3. In a spice grinder, or mortar-and-pestle, grind the fennel and anise seeds into they are close to finely ground, but they can still have a bit of texture to them. Whisk them into the four mixture until they are evenly dispersed.
4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk and dark syrup. Stir the mixture just until the dry ingredients are completely moistened, but don’t overmix.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.
6. After 30 minutes, increase the heat of the oven to 325ºF (160ºC) and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the bread feels just-cooked in the center when you press it. (If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read 190ºF, 88ºC.)
7. Remove the bread from the oven and as soon as it’s cool enough to handle, remove the bread from the pan and let it cool on a wire rack.

To serve, cut the bread in half down the center, making two rectangular loaves, then cut slices of the bread.

Storage: The bread will keep for up to 3-4 days at room temperature. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months.