I saw a lovely recipe on The Bread Kitchen that I have enjoyed for many years. That is by Titli Nihaan who really does a great job with her recipes. This particular one, for Polar Bread is one that I have wanted to try for quite some time. Though the recipe was posted a good few years ago I saved it as i wanted to be sure to try it at some time.
The recipe is based on a proprietary brand Polarbröd which comes in different forms and thicknesses, it seems. I read somewhere that the name comes from the fact that the bread was frozen after baking to make it easier to transport and distribute throughout Sweden.
The bread is made by forming the dough into rounds and then pricking all over before cooking on a griddle. It can also be baked in the oven if required. The resultant bake is usually thick enough that it can be sliced into to and used for making sandwiches. It is also very good to open up as a pocket and then to fill. I have seen versions which are also much thinner to be used almost as a crispbread or flatbread.
Usually the dough is made with bread flour mixed with rye flour. The ratio of bread to rye can be adjusted to invididual preference though the higher the ratio of rye flour the denser the bread will be. If rye flour isn’t available the recipe will still work with all bread flour, or with a little wholemeal/wholewheat flour added.
Often the bread is flavoured with fennel or aniseed, though it doesn’t need to be flavoured with anything at all. Or, if desired, it is suitable to be flavoured with any particular favourite herbs or spices that you may desire.
The recipe is actually very easy and can be done by hand, though I used my stand mixer for ease. Once the dough has been made and proofed it is divided into pieces and then rolled out into discs of about 5mm(1/4 inch) and allowed to proof again before being cooked on a griddle or skillet, or baked in the oven. Although I divided my dough into 6 pieces it will work well divided into 8 as well.
The resultant bread is very good indeed, chewy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside. Mine tasted very good indeed and they were flavoured with fennel which really worked well.
I also froze some of mine in individual pieces and that worked very well too. I simply thawed them out in my microwave before eating.
For another recipe which uses the griddle you may wish to try Welsh Cakes which are so easy to make and are so lovely sweet treat.
Polar Bread – Swedish Griddle BreadCourse: Bread, Stove top recipesCuisine: Swedish BreadDifficulty: Medium
6 – 8servings
400g(2 2/3 cups, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) bread flour
50g(1/2 cup) rye flour
225ml(1 cup minus 1 tbsp) lukewarm water
50g(3 1/2 tbsp) creme fraiche(or sour cream/natural yoghurt)
16g(4 tsp) caster sugar
9g(1 1/2 tsp)salt
3 1/2g(1 tsp) active dried yeast
4g(1 1/2 tsp) fennel seeds(or aniseed or other herbs/spices) (optional)
- Add the sugar into the lukewarm water and then add the yeast and stir.
- Leave the water and yeast to activate for about 10 minutes until it has become frothy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer(or just a large bowl if doing everything manually) place the flours, salt and seeds and mix around to combine.
- Add the creme fraiche and then the activated yeast water.
- Stir around to form a shaggy dough, or knead on a low speed until that is achieved.
- Knead the dough for about 8 minutes(longer by hand) until the dough is smooth and elastic and springs back when poked lightly.
- Form the dough into a bowl and place into a lightly greased bowl. Then cover and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size.
- Tip the dough out onto a work surface and divide into 6 equally sized pieces.
- Form each piece into a ball.
- Roll out each piece into a disc which is 5mm(1/4 inch) thick.
- Prick each piece all over, on both sides, with a fork.
- Place each piece onto a lightly floured tray and then cover with clean towel and leave to rest for one hour.
- Cook each disc on a medium heated griddle or frying pan for 3 minutes on each side (or for 7 to 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 200C/400F).
- Wrap the polar breads in a clean towel and allow to cool completely before serving.