Sweet • Sour • Savory

Food blog on scandinavian style food done right.


Ciabatta Bread Rolls

Breakfast, Bread, BrunchTove Balle-PedersenComment
Ciabatta Bread Rolls

Ciabatta Bread Rolls

Ciabatta is one of the best breads for sandwiches, and I wonder why it took me so long to bake them. This recipe is made with a preferment (poolish), that you preferably can start the day before you bake the bread, it will give your rolls more flavor. But to be honest starting the poolish in the morning, worked fine today.

Makes 8-10 rolls.



  • 200 g all-purpose flour

  • 200 g water, room temperature

  • 1 g dry yeast


  • Poolish from above

  • 200 g water, room temperature

  • 200 g all-purpose flour

  • 100 g manitoba flour (high protein flour)

  • 8 g salt



Stir all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. The dough should be very soft and sticky, looking like a thick batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 3-4 hours, until the poolish is bubbly. Refrigerate the poolish. The slow fermenting at low temperature will help develop flavor and texture. The poolish will keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Remove the poolish from the refrigerator prior to making the ciabatta dough.

I didn’t make my poolish in advance, so I only fermented my poolish for 4 hour on the kitchen counter at about 20℃ (68℉).


Dilute the poolish with the rest of the water, and transfer it all to the bowl of the stand mixer. Add flour and salt.

Using the paddle attachment knead the dough for about 5 minutes, starting on low for the first 60-90 seconds. The kneading is complete when the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Wet your hands when handling the dough, because it’s very sticky.

Oil a wide bowl with some olive oil. Place the dough into the oiled bowl, and let it rise covered for 3 x 45 minutes.

With wet hands fold the dough for 5-6 times, and let the dough rise another 45 minutes and repeat the fold. Let the dough rise for the last 45 minutes.

Gently flour a bakers couche (or a clean flour sac) and the work surface.

Turn the dough out onto the well floured surface, be careful not to deflate it. A simple way to do this is turning the bowl upside down just over the counter and letting gravity help you. Sprinkle a fair amount of flour on the dough, and gently form the dough into an rectangle.

Making the rolls: Divide the into 2 logs using a bench scraper, and divide each into 4-5 pieces/rolls. Sprinkle with additional flour, so you have no bare dough visible. Use the bench scraper to get under the roll and carefully lifting it onto the couche with generous spacing between them. Bunch the cloth in between rolls to make a small wall. Sprinkle with more flour, and cover the rolls with a clean tea towel. Let the rolls rise for about 20 minutes.

Heat the oven with a pizza/baking stone to 445℉ (230℃), Have a jelly roll pan at the lower shelve, so you can pour some hot water into it, to make steam in the oven.

Use a baking peel and parchment paper to transfer the rolls into the oven. Pour about 1 cup water in the jelly roll pan, and quickly close the oven door. Bake 4-5 rolls at a time for about 18 minutes until done and deep golden brown.

Let the rolls cool on a wire rack before serving.


Artichoke Parmesan Sourdough Bread

Bread, BrunchTove Balle-Pedersen2 Comments
Artichoke Parmesan Sourdough Bread

Artichoke Parmesan Sourdough Bread

This bread is a take on the garlic artichoke bread from Pescadero's Arcangeli Market, but in a sourdough version. The original bread is really yummy. My neighbor introduced the bread to me, and it paired perfectly with cheese, charcuterie and some red wine. But I felt it could benefit from the sourdough texture. And boy was I right?

I baked my test loafs last Friday, being the first sourdough bread baked in my 'new' oven. (I have had this oven for almost a year, but who is counting??).

I decided to share the great bread with my neighbors, who introduced me to the original, as a thank you. I do believe they liked it. 

Makes 2 loafs.



  • 2 tablespoons mature sourdough

  • 200 g warm water (80℉/26℃)

  • 100 g whole wheat flour

  • 100 g all-purpose flour


  • 700 g warm water (80℉/26℃)

  • 200 g leaven

  • 900 g all-purpose flour

  • 100 whole wheat flour

  • 16 g salt

  • 50 g warm water (80℉/26℃)


  • 340 g well drained artichoke hearts in water, quartered

  • 100 g grated parmesan


  • italian spiced

  • chopped garlic

  • olive oil


Draining the artichokes.

Draining the artichokes.


Day 1, morning: The morning before you plan to make the dough, feed the sourdough starter. Mix the sourdough starter from your refrigerator in water, and add flours. Mix well so you don't have any lumps of dry flour. I do this in the container that I keep my sourdough starter in. Let rest on the counter for 8-10 hours.

Day 1 - night: Mix 200 g leaven with water and flours. Mix well so you don't have any lumps of dry flour. Let rest overnight on the kitchen counter. 

Drain the artichokes:  quarter them, and place them on paper towels, to dry them as much as possible. Keep them in the refrigerator overnight. 

Day 2, morning: To test leaven's readiness, drop a spoonful into a bowl of room-temperature water. If it sinks, it is not ready and needs more time to ferment and ripen. If it floats, it's ready to use. As it develops, the smell will change from ripe and sour to sweet and pleasantly fermented.

Make the Dough:

Pour the warm water into a large mixing bowl, adding leaven, stir to disperse. Save your leftover leaven.  It will be your sourdough starter for next time you bake. Add flours and mix dough with your hands until no bits of dry flour remain. Let rest covered with a tea towel on your counter for 30 minutes. Add salt and remaining 50 grams warm water. Transfer to a medium plastic container or a glass bowl. Cover with kitchen towel. Let rest for 30 minutes.

Adding small amount of filling, when folding the dough.

Adding small amount of filling, when folding the dough.


I use the folding technique from the basic country bread a la Tartine during the fermentation. Instead of kneading the dough I stretch and fold the dough, which helps build up the gluten network. The rise is temperature sensitive. As a rule, warmer dough ferments faster. Robertson tries to maintain the dough at 78℉ to 82℉ to accomplish the bulk fermentation in 3 to 4 hours. I ferment my dough in my oven on the proof setting, 85℉/29.5℃.
Fold dough, repeating every 30 minutes for about 2½ to 3 hours. To do a fold: Dip one hand in water to prevent sticking. Grab the underside of the dough, stretch it out, and fold it back over itself. Rotate container one-quarter turn, and repeat. Do this 2 or 3 times for each fold. After the first fold, let the dough rest covered for 30 minutes. Add a little of the cheese and artichoke on top of the dough, before the next 4-6 foldings, to incorporate the filling into the dough. After the 3 hours, the dough should feel aerated and softer, and you will see a 20 to 30 percent increase in volume. If not, continue bulk fermentation for 30 minutes to 1 hour more.

Gently pull the dough out of container using a dough spatula onto an unfloured surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough and use a bench knife to cut the dough into 2 equal pieces. As you cut the first piece, use the bench knife to flip it over, so the floured side now rest on the work surface. Do the same with the second piece of dough.

While working with the dough you want to incorporate as little flour as possible. Work each piece into a round using scraper and one hand. Tension will build as the dough slightly anchors to the surface as you rotate it. By the end, the dough should have a taut, smooth surface. Dust tops of rounds with flour, cover with a tea towel, and let rest on the work surface for 20 to 30 minutes. During this stage, (bench rest), each round will relax and spread into a thick pancake shape. The edges should appear fat and rounded, not flat or "dripping" off the edge. If the dough is flat or the dough is spreading too much, the dough has not developed a strong enough gluten network during the bulk fermentation. To correct this, shape the dough into a round for a second time and let it sit to rest covered once more. 

The final shaping:

To form the loaf's, carefully turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface with the floured side down, using the bench knife. Now the underside is facing up. Be careful not to deflate the dough. This final shaping builds up tension inside each loaf, so it holds it's form and rises substantially when baked. This is called "oven spring."

Fold the third of the dough closest to you up and over the middle third of the round. Stretch out the dough horizontally to your right and fold this right third over the center. Stretch the dough to your left and foldt this third over the previous fold. You are now starting to get a neat package. Stretch out the third of the dough farthest from you and fold this flap toward you, over the previous folds, and anchor it in place with your fingers. Then grab the dough nearest to you and wrap it up and over, while rolling the whole package away from you, that the smooth underside of the loaf now is on the top and all the seams are on the bottom. Let the shaped loaf rest on the counter for a minute. Fold the other loaf the same way.

Line two baskets with clean tea towels generously dusted with flour. Using the dough scraper, transfer each round to a basket, smooth side down, with seam centered and facing up. Let rest at room temperature (75℉ to 80℉), covered with towels for 3 to 4 hours before baking.

Baking the Bread:

20-40 minutes before you are ready to bake the bread, preheat oven and dutch/French oven to 500℉ (260℃), with rack in lowest position.

Flip one bread into heated dutch/french oven. Score top twice using a razor blade matfer lame. Cover with lid. Return to oven, and reduce oven temperature to 450℉ (232℃). Bake for 20 minutes.

Carefully remove lid and continue to bake until crust is deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes more.

Transfer loaf to a wire rack. It will feel light and sound hollow when tapped. Mix the topping and spred it on top of the hot crust, then let the loaf cool. Letting the bread cool, is the hardest thing.

To bake the second loaf, raise oven temperature to 500℉ (260℃), wipe out dutch/French oven with a dry kitchen towel, and reheat with lid for about 10-20 minutes.




Pullman Sandwich Loaf

Bread, Breakfast, BrunchTove Balle-PedersenComment
Pullman Sandwich Loaf

Pullman Sandwich Loaf

We have all bought sandwich bread in the stores. And you might ask why spend so much time baking this simple loaf. But this loaf is not your average sandwich bread. This is a feather light sweet soft loaf. And compared to most store bought loafs, this bread is filled with ingredients you actually can pronounce. We used the bread to make simple sandwiches in a panini press. And compared with store bought, the slices of the bread didn't flatten under pressure. Well worth the effort.


  • 450 g all-purpose flour
  • 100 g Ølandshvedemel (you can use all-purpose flour or bread flour)
  • 6 g dry yeast
  • 32 g sugar
  • 11 g fine salt
  • 285 ml water
  • 1 egg
  • 25 g butter, salted and room temereature
  • 80 g cream cheese
  • egg wash 


Spray a large bowl and the pullman loaf pan with non-stick spray, set aside.

Combine all the ingredients except the egg wash in the bowl for a stand mixer. Knead 4-5 minutes on low speed to form the dough. Keep kneading on medium low for another 15 minutes. 

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Stretch the dough by making 2-3 letter folds* turning the dough a quarter each timer, building up the surface tension on the dough. Place the dough seam side down in the sprayed bowl. Let the dough rise covered for 15-20 minutes.

Gently turn you dough out onto a lightly floured surface, seam side up. Weigh the dough, so you only shape 1 kg (a little over 2 pounds). Gently pat it to remove any large air bubbles, and form a rectangle. Make another letter fold, but only in one direction. You want to build up the surface tension, that will help you get a better ovenspring. Elongate the loaf, so it fits the length of the pan.  Make 1-3 folds, until you have a tight loaf with a good surface tension, ending up with a loaf shaped as a cylinder. Place the loaf in the pan, seam side down. Brush the top with egg wash. Slide the lid onto the pan, leaving ad slid open, so you can peek inside. Let the loaf proof for 2-2½ hours until the loaf barely reaches the top. 

Preheat the oven to 375℉ (190℃). 

Close the lid of the pan. Bake the loaf for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the lid of the pan, and bake the bread for another 10 minutes until the top is deep golden brown, and the loaf is baked through. 

Turn the bread out onto a wirerack to cool completely.

Slice the bread thinly.


* Letter fold: Dough folded in thirds, like you would do a letter going into an envelope.



Focaccia - Take 2

Bread, Brunch, DinnerTove Balle-PedersenComment


It is no secret that bread is my kryptonite. Well, it's bread, cheese, coffee and red wine. But bread is a magic thing. It is magical that you can get so much flavor from a mixture of water, flour, yeast and salt. The fermentation makes all the difference. 

Last time I made a focaccia I opted for a more complex dough. It felt more greasy. This time I used the classic No-Knead Bread recipe, transforming it into a focaccia, and it turned out perfect.

Makes 1 bread.


  • 400 ml water finger-warm

  • 5-10 g live yeast (or little under 1 teaspoon dry yeast)

  • 500 g all-purpose flour or a high protein flour.

  • 2 teaspoons sea salt


  • sea salt

  • olive oil

  • rosemary like spices (or jalapeño)

  • cherry tomatoes


Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add a teaspoon sugar if you are using dry yeast, and wait until it starts to foam. Mix in most of the flour, befor adding the salt. Mix the rest of the flour in, mixing it until you are sure you have no lumps of dry flour. You do not have to knead this very sticky dough. 

Let the dough ferment covered on the countertop for 8-12 hours. The longer you ferment it, the more flavor you get. 


Gently scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface. The dough will be very soft. With a spatula or bench scraper fold the 4 "sides" of the dough unto it self 3 times, to stretch the gluten and to build up the surface tension on the dough. Place the dough on a large parchment paper lined baking pan. Gently pat the top of the dough with a little olive oil, to prevent the dough from drying out. Let the bread rise for 60-90 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 425℉ (220℃). 

Pour some good olive oil on top of the dough and gently poke your fingers into the dough, making holes for the filling to rest in. This will spread the loaf out making it more flat and ready to receive the filling. Sprinkle rosemary and more oil over the loaf and press it into the holes. Gently press the tomatoes into the dough.  Sprinkle with a little more oil and a good amount of salt.

 Let the focaccia rise for another 30 minutes before baking it for 20-25 minutes at 440℉ (220℃). I baked mine on a baking stone, but still on the parchment paper for easier handling.

Let the bread cool in the pan before serving. 


Sifted Rye Bread - Sigtebrød

Bread, Breakfast, BrunchTove Balle-PedersenComment
Sifted Rye Bread - Sigtebrød.

Sifted Rye Bread - Sigtebrød.

This is a very old type of Danish bread. When I worked at a Bakery in Denmark, we only sold a few, if non, sifted rye breads a day. And the customer would most likely be an old person. I think younger people wanted the fancy seeded breads. But quite frankly the sifted rye bread is very tasty. The crumb is a little more compact, without being dense. The recipe calls for "sigtemel" which is a sifted flour made from 30% rye and 70% wheat.

Makes 2 breads.


  • 50 g live yeast (4 teaspoons dry yeast)
  • 400 ml tempered water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 300 ml (1¼ cup) buttermilk
  • 300 g all-purpose flour
  • 700 g sigtemel (210 g dark rye flour + 490 g all-purpose flour)
  • ½ teaspoon ground caraway seeds
  • 5 teaspoons salt


Dissolve the yeast in the water. If you use dry yeast add a few pinches of sugar. 

Add buttermilk, flours, ground caraway seeds, salt and honey, and knead the dough for 5-8 minutes to build up the gluten. Let the dough rise for about 60 minutes in a warm spot.

Knead the dough for a few minutes, and divide the dough in two.

Use the heels of your hands to gently flatten the dough into a rough rectangle. Fold the bottom third up, like a letter fold. Fold the bottom third of the dough over on itself. Press the folds with the heels of your hands, to seal. Fold the dough once more, building up the surface tension. This will help the loaf rise evenly and keep its shape. 

Place the loaf in a greased pan with the seam facing down. Repeat with the second loaf. I have a large pan that will hold both loafs, letting them “grow” together.

Preheat oven to 400℉ (200℃).

Let the loaf rise for another 40 minutes. Poke the top with a fork, and brush it with some milk. Bake loaf for 30-40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.