Oatmeal, rye and wheat bread on a lazy weekend

Accra food

A street sign I passed the other day, heading to the tailor.  Fufu is a popular Ghanaian staple food prepared with plantain and cassava or yam, eaten with soup or sauce. Not dissimilar to sadza or ugali, though those are usually made with maize. Banku is another starchy Ghanaian dish, a mix of fermented corn and cassava dough.  Ghanaian food is tasty, though I find fufu rather on the gloopy side.

A three-day weekend, and no plans…. Friends invited me to the Volta region, but road safety is bad enough here that several hours in holiday traffic was not tempting. No, I do have plans: be home alone, do laundry, read, browse Ravelry, start packing for upcoming work trip, plan holiday knitting, and take stock of my fridge shelf. One thrill after the next, I know. Work is really busy and it is lovely to switch off, to not worry about the clock, and to do some leisurely bread baking.  I had oatmeal for breakfast, and 12 grammes of fresh yeast lurking in a small box, so this bread is being thrown together in an ad hoc way. Time to empty out anything that might spoil or that the the ants might get into while I am away. The next trip is a chance to get exotic things like affordable cheese and celery, sundried tomatoes, biscotti and yes: fresh yeast. There is generally a wishlist from friends as well, so suitcase space for the return trip will be well used.


This makes a nice sandwich bread, in the Kneippbrød style. Matpakkebrød, as Norwegians would say: “packed lunch bread”, sturdy bread for open-faced sandwiches wrapped in paper. Often one slice with salted butter, Norvegia cheese and a slice of red bell pepper, and one slice with brunost (brown goast cheese) – mmmmmm.

Oatmeal, rye and wheat bread  (3 loaves)

12 grammes fresh yeast (or 6gr dry yeast)
1 litre water
1000 gram plain wheat flour
150 grammes wholewheat flour
150 grammes  coarse rye flour
100 grammes quick cooking oatmeal
1.5 tsp sugar
Last: 25 grammes salt

Crumble the yeast into lukewarm water and stir. Add the rest except salt and stir well: thus will be a shaggy moist dough. If you do not have rye flour, no worries: just use same weight in wholewheat flour. I just figured it was time to break into my precious bag of Norwegian rye flour. After ten minutes, sprinkle salt over dough, then fold dough over itself with a sturdy wooden spoon. Cover and leave to rest in the bowl for an hour (I use a  plastic shower cap to cover the bowl). In a cool kitchen you might need more time.

After an hour, fold the dough again: Using a wooden spoon or a strong spatula, lift and stretch, folding dough over itself, going around the bowl. You’ll see the gluten developing, and the dough becoming more elastic. Leave to rest another hour or so. I am not a great kneader, so seeing how time and higher hydration make up for some of that always makes me happy.

Divide dough into two or three parts, depending on the size of your loaf tins. Line loaf tins with baking parchment. It’s quite a high hydration dough, I did not shape it or tighten edges. Tip dough into loaf tins, and let them rise for the last time, covered with a damp tea towel. The dough should double: at 30C  in Accra, about 40 minutes. Heat the oven to 230C. Bake them on lower shelf for 40 minutes or so, depending on your oven. I baked all three loaves at once.


This was dinner, with the last episodes of “Alias Grace”, which was excellent.  Next time I I must remember to slash the dough right before it goes into the oven, to avoid cracks on side. Baked loaves freeze well (I cut the loaves in two, so I can pull out a half loaf at a time from the freezer bags.)





A new Norwegian apple cake


Today was lunch with friends,  and I had offered to bring something sweet. There were a couple apples lingering in the veg drawer, so time to make an apple cake while the electrician finally installed the kitchen extractor fan, after three months of waiting.  I looked up “eplekake 2 egg” for ideas and this one popped up: a thin quick apple cake, with butter shaved on top of batter. Interesting! The kitchen extractor fan was installed, but without working lights, so they uninstalled it. Maybe next week…

Here we go, adapted and translated from Eplekake raskt og enkelt which looks lovely.

A new Norwegian apple cake

3 medium eggs
200 grammes white sugar
150 grammes plain white wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 apples (tart ones better)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs sugar

shave over: 50–70 grammes cold butter

Whisk eggs and sugar until light and slightly firm. Carefully sift in flour and baking powder. Peel the apples and cut them into thin apple slices. Toss apple slices in a bowl with cinnamon and sugar. Heat oven to 200C.

Pour batter into a 24cm round cake tin (base lined with parchment). Arrange the apple slices in the batter (I put them in pointing to center, an external ring and leftover bits in centre).

Right before baking: With a cheese slicer or knife, shave the cold butter over and top with the last sugar. Bake at 200C lower half of oven for 30 minutes or so. Serve lukewarm with icecream for whipped cream.

Note: the article says the cake does not keep well, as there is no butter in dough but that it freezes well and thaws quickly. It was like an upside down pineapple cake in consistency, light and taller than expected. Maybe a bit less sugar next time. We had it with watermelon, then with some icecream, and most of the cake vanished.


Eaten at lovely lunch at a friend’s house, seven people from six different countries.

Making munker (æbleskiver)

IMG_20180331_205645.jpgMore exciting cooking projects: making munker! These are Norwegian pancake puffs, though you might know them as æbleskiver, the Danish name. The cast iron pan was a birthday present from my mother, and it travelled Norway-London-Accra-Rome the last couple months. Realizing that Rome has better cooking conditions that sweat-dripping Accra, I took the pan back for Easter and tried it out at a friend’s house.  Often made with buttermilk or kefir and baking soda, but these were made with milk and yeast.


Everything measured out and ready to go: this only needs 30 minutes to rise, so I assembled it on arrival at our friend’s house. Just whisk this together, cover bowl with tea towel and enjoy your dinner. I found this recipe on the always enjoyable Recipe Reminiscing: Maiden Draason’s Apple Slices (monks)

Munker (pancake puffs, with milk and yeast)

25 grammes fresh yeast (or 12.5 grammes dry)
250 ml milk
1 tbs sugar
60 grammes of soft butter
4 eggs
zest of 1/2 lemon (I skipped this, as I had none)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
300 ml plain white flour

Extra butter for frying
Jam or icing sugar to serve: we used crema di pistachio, which was gorgeous


After half an hour, the batter was bubbly and frothy.  I heated the cast iron pan (9 holes) on the gas burner, brished the holes lightly with butter and spooned in about 2/3 hoe worth of batter. Very exciting! I did have several helpers. Here we are, turning them 3/4 with wooden skewers so the batter runs out to complete the sphere of pancake. We tried, we erred, we improved. We ate them all.


Not quite spherical, but better: serve warm with jam and enjoy! These were very light and more-ish, and the batter made 3-4 rounds worth. Definitely to be explored with the sour milk variations, which would be tangier. The pan should also work well for takoyaki (octopus balls), which will be tried.