Caraway Yeast Buns

Whilst doing some research on caraway,  I found that in 2011, Finland  produced over 25% of the worlds caraway.

So I thought why not a recipe from Finland!

This is a based on a recipe for pulla –  in Poland they would be called  bułeczki  – they are yeast buns and in Finland they are served with coffee.

These buns  are originally flavoured with crushed cardamon seeds – I have adapted this for caraway.

In Poland caraway is often added to rye bread but not usually added to wheat flour buns.

Ingredients

500g plain flour

50g butter

80g of granulated sugar

300ml tepid milk

1 teaspoon of dried yeast

1 egg beaten

1 tablespoonful of caraway seeds

1 teaspoon of salt

1 egg white, beaten, for glazing (does not burn as easily as whole egg).

Optional

Crushed sugar cubes.

Method

In a small dish start the yeast off with 2 tablespoons of the milk and 1 tablespoon of the sugar until it is bubbling.

Rub the butter into the flour.

Add the salt, caraway seeds, sugar, yeast mixture, milk and egg.

Mix thouroughly with a wooden spoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover the dough with clingfilm or a cloth and leave to rise.

I left mine over night in a cool cellar and then followed by a few hours in the morning in a warmer kitchen.

Grease 2 baking sheets.

Take the dough out of the bowl – a special dough scraper is very good for this.

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Divide the dough into 12 pieces  – a dough cutter is most useful for this  and shape each one into a ball using floured hands – do not over work the dough or add flour – keep the mix as soft as possible.

Place the balls on the sheets – leaving room for expansion.

Cover and leave to rise.

Pre-heat the oven to GM 6 – 200°C

Brush the top of each bun with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with the crushed sugar if desired.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden – brown.

 

Getting ready for morning coffee

 

 

Enamelled coffee pot by the Cathrineholm ironworks in Norway  –  Lotus – from the 1960s,

Coffee cups and saucers by Elizabethan  – Carnaby – from the 1970s

The buns are on a hand-decorated  cake stand made by Fairmont & Main who were established in Huddersfield in 1994.

The pattern is Carnival and this is a recent birthday present from one of my friends.

Note

As with all yeast buns these will go stale quickly – if I have any left – I cut them in half and pack into bags and freeze them.

On de-frosting I toast them and serve with butter.

Podpłomyczki – Polish Unleavened Bread

This is a very old recipe for an unleavened, flat bread  – that is one made without yeast.

In Polish, bread has to contain some rye flour, so these are not called bread as  they are made from wheat flour.

Podpłomyczki – płomyczek means flame  and pod means under – these would have originally been baked on stones placed on a camp fire.

The most original recipes are made with just flour, water and salt* and are cooked on a cast iron griddle – these I think are delicious.

I think podpłomyczki are cousins of  the  rotlis from Gujarat that my friend taught me how to make!

As well as this recipe I tried out two other versions.

The first had an egg added to the mixture – I do not think it was any better.

The second used eggs and milk rather than water and were made slightly thicker and one suggestion was to bake them in the oven.

I tried baking in the oven,  on a griddle, both thick and thin.  I thought they were all horrible!

So I am only writing up this one recipe which was really good.

Ingredients

250g plain flour

200ml water

1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Method

Mix the flour and the salt.

Add the water and mix to form ball of soft dough.

Place the dough into a plastic bag and leave it for 30 minutes.

On a floured board flatten the dough into a thick circle.

Cut the dough into eight.

 

Form each peice into a ball and then roll this out thinly using a rolling pin.

Cook these using a cast iron frying pan or griddle.

Do not use any fat or oil.

Turn then over to cook both sides.

Bamboo tongs are very useful.

Watch as they puff up as the water in the dough turns to steam !

They are best eaten straight from the pan.

Otherwise wrap them in a tea towel to keep them warm.

I ate them with butter and with butter and honey – delicious!

* Salt – Polish Salt Mine &  Legend

In southern Poland there is one of the oldest salt mines in the world – the Wieliczka salt mine. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has produced salt since the 13th Century until 2007.

Legend has it that when Princess Kinga, a Hungarian Princess, became betrothed to Bolesław V,  Wstydliwy  (Bolesław V, the Chaste), Prince of Krakow, she asked for salt as her dowry and then threw her betrothal golden ring into a Hungarian mine.

On her arrival in Poland she asked a miner to dig in the ground and there he  found her golden ring inside a rock of  salt and that place became the site of the Wieliczka salt mine.

Because of her good works, Princess Kinga became Saint Kinga after her death.

Photos taken at Wieliczka

 

 

 

Caraway Biscuits

Caraway is such a popular herb/spice in Poland and is used in breads, meat & vegetable dishes.  So it is quite surprising that it is not used  in cakes or biscuits there.

Drawing from Wikipeadia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to try out some biscuits with caraway seeds.  I found that the biscuts were better if not too sweet.

These are the results – they are semi-sweet and are really delicious  with cheese.

Ingredients

225g self-raising flour

100g butter

50g caster sugar

1 egg – beaten

6 teaspoons of caraway seeds

Grated rind of a lemon

1 – 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C

Grease 2 or 3 baking sheets.

Rub the fat into the flour until it is like fine breadcrumbs.

Stir in the sugar, caraway and lemon rind.

Mix in the egg and lemon juice to form a soft dough.

Roll out the dough on a floured board.

Cut out circle using a 7.5cm  diameter, fluted cutter.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes till lightly browned (take care not to burn them).

Leave them to cool on the tray and then move them off on to a cooling rack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Served on Las Palmas by Aynsley, from the 1960s, with some soft Brie.

Variation

Use 75g of caster sugar instead of the 50g to make a slighly sweeter biscuit which is delicious just nibbled on its own with tea or coffee.

Herring Salads

Salted herrings are very, very popular in Poland, they have been a staple in Northern Europe since Medieval times as this was the way to preserve and transport fish – usually in barrels.

Śledź is the Polish word for herring.

Matjes herrings (matjasy in Polish) are young herrings which are caught throughout May and June before they start spawning in July.

The way that they are prepared originated in The Netherlands and the name comes from the Dutch word maagd which means maiden(because they are young fish).

Often you will see the phrase à la matjas – this means that they are in the style of the matjes herring but they will be a slighty older fish and not as expensive .

Salted herrings need to be soaked, often for up to 24 hours, in water to remove some of the salt.

I have used already prepared à la matjas herrings and I think they are still too salty – so I take the fillets out of the oil they are packed in and put them in milk for 10 to 15 minutes (you can do longer) and then pat them dry and slice them.

 

These herring salads are often served as an hors d’oeuvre (zakąska in Polish – something to bite after), appetizer, entrée or starter.

They are usually one of the dishes served at Wigilia (Christmas Eve).

Thinly sliced onions are a must to serve with the herrings!

Simple Herrings 1

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herrings

thinly sliced onion

A little lemon juice

 

Simple Herrings 2

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herrings,

Thinly sliced onion

Chopped gherkins (ogórki).

A little liquor from the gherkin jar

Simple Herrings 3

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herrings,

Thinly sliced onion and

Sliced (red skinned) apple

A little lemon juice

Herring Salads

The dressings used are lemon juice, mayonnaise (full fat is best here), soured cream and horseradish – on their own or as a mixture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have not given quantities – exact amounts are not critical.

Herring & Apple Salad

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herring

Thinly sliced onions,

Chopped (red skinned) apples

Dressing

Herring & Potato Salads

The following salads are varaitionons on  classic Polish potato salads.

Herring, Potato & Gherkin

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herring

Thinly sliced onions

Cold boiled or steamed,chopped potato,

Chopped gherkins

Dressing

 

Herring, Potato, Gherkin & Hard-boiled Eggs

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herring

Thinly sliced onions

Cold boiled or steamed,chopped potato,

Chopped gherkins

Chopped hard-boiled eggs

Dressing

 

Herring, Potato & Peas

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herring

Thinly sliced onions

Cold boiled or steamed, chopped potato,

Cooked peas

Chopped hard-boiled eggs

Dressing

 

Herring, Potato, Peas & Hard-boiled Eggs

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herring

Thinly sliced onions

Cold boiled or steamed, chopped potato,

Cooked peas and dressing

Chopped hard-boiled eggs

Dressing

 

Herring, Apple, Bean & Hard-boiled Eggs

When I first saw this recipe I was not sure how the beans would go with the rest of the ingredients.  Having tried it,  I think the taste combination is wonderful!

Ingredients

Thinly sliced herring

Thinly sliced onions

Chopped (red skinned) apples

Haricot beans  – tinned beans  with the tomato sauce washed off , rinsed and patted drydried

Chopped hard-boiled eggs

Dressing

 

Chopped parsley & chives

All of the salads can have chopped flat-leafed parsley and/or chives sprinkled on top.

 

Sauerkraut & Mushrooms

Sauerkraut & Mushrooms  is often one of the dishes  for Wigilia (Christmas Eve) when meat is not eaten.

Ingredients

1 large jar  of sauerkraut – around 800 – 900g.

20 – 30g of dried mushrooms

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 onion – finely chopped

2-3 tablespoons of plain flour

Butter or oil for frying the onion

Ground black pepper

*The acidity of sauerkraut varies very much and homemade is often not as acid.

*Rinsing bottled sauerkraut before use will lower the acidity.

*The amount of  sugar  you add to the dish is a personal preference – if rinsed 1 tablespoon should be enough – if not rinsed you might need around 3 tablespoons.

Method

The evening before you want to make this dish place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover them with boiling water and leave them overnight.

Cut the reconstituted mushrooms into strips.

Put the strips and the liquor into a saucepan and simmer them for around 5 minutes.

Drain the sauerkraut and keep the liquid (you might want to use it to adjust the acidity of the dish).

Rinse the sauerkraut with cold water.

Place the sauerkraut in a large saucepan and pour boiling water over it until it just covers it.

Add the sugar.

Bring to the boil and then cover the saucepan with a lid and let it gently simmer for around 10  minutes.

Add the mushrooms to the sauerkraut and mix together.

Continue heating either gently on top of the stove or put the pan with the lid into a low to medium oven.

Cook until the sauerkraut is soft.

Fry the onions until they are golden.

Sprinkle the flour over the onions and heat gently to brown the flour.

Add spoonfuls of liquid from the sauerkraut mixture to the onion mix.

Stir and heat to form a thickening roux/paste.

Add this to the sauerkraut mixture and mix throughly .

You can then serve this straight away or put it back in the oven for around 5 minutes.

Sprinkle ground black pepper on the top before serving.

Served here in Carnation by Royal Doulton, 1982 – 1998.

Serve with rye bread or boiled potatoes and hot roast pork or cooked Polish sausages.

For Wigilia (Christmas Eve ) this  would just be served as a seperate dish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caraway Seed Cake

Caraway is such a popular herb/spice in Poland and is used in breads, meat & vegetable dishes.  So it is quite surprising that it is not used  in cake.

Caraway – Image from Wikapedia

 

I have looked in all my recipe books and I have not found any use of caraway in Polish cake.

So I have gone to what by many is seen as an old-fashioned  quintessential British cake – Seed Cake – which is  Caraway Seed Cake.

This cake has been popular since the 17th century and especially  in Victorian times  and the 1920s and 1930s.

Caraway Seeds are thought to aid digestion – so this is a good cake to have at the end of a meal.

I have found several variations – this is one that has worked for me & I am sure it would be well received in Poland!

I have tried this out in 2 different shapes of tins.

Ingredients

110g butter

110g caster sugar

2 eggs – beaten

150g self-raising flour – sifted

25g ground almonds

3 tablespoons of milk

3 rounded teaspoons of caraway seeds

Several crushed sugar cubes or 1 level tablespoon of Demerara sugar for the round cake and 1/2 a tablespoon for the loaf.

 

Version 1

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C.

Grease a 19cm round cake tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.

Mix the flour, ground almonds and caraway together in a little bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a larger bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until they are pale and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs a little at a time.

Using a metal spoon fold in the flour mixture.

Add the milk to give a good dropping consistency.

Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin and level off the top.

Sprinkle the top with the sugar.

 

Bake for between 35 – 40 minutes.

Cool in the tin for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

Version 2

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C.

Line a “1lb” loaf tin with a tin liner or grease and line the tin with greasproof paper.

Make the mixture as in version 1.

Sprinkle the top with the 1/2 tablespoon of Demerara sugar.

Bake for between 45 to 50 minutes.

Cool in the tin for 15 minutes.

Once cold, wrap in foil and keep in an air tight container.

 

 

Caraway & Dill & Parsley

When I think of Polish cooking three popular herbs which always spring to mind are caraway, dill and parsley.

They all  belong to the Apiaceae family which includes  carrot and celery. 

This family is also called  Umbelliferae (from the Latin – umbella  – for parasol or sunshade) – the flower heads consists of umbels  which have equal length flower stalks coming from a central point which forms a flattened head – rather like an umberella.

Carum carvi is caraway –  kminek – in Polish.

It  is native to  Europe,  North Africa & Western Asia.

Caraway – Drawing taken from Wikapedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caraway  fruits are often called seeds.

Caraway is thought to be an aid to digestion.

In 2011 Finland supplied over 25% of the world’s caraway.

 

 

 

Caraway is often added to rye bread, to dishes with sauerkraut and also many meat dishes,  especially pork, such as Sauerkraut & BaconPork & Prunes  and  Pork & Sauerkraut Gulasz.

Caraway  is often  added to twaròg (Polish soft curd cheese)

 

Anethum graveolens is dill – koperek  – in Polish.

Dill is grown for its leaves, which are fern like, and its seeds.

Dill leaves are  best when used fresh  (I never bother with dried dill).

 

 

 

 

 

Dill  leaves are used as a topping for many salads and for boiled new potatoes.

 

 

 


Dill leaves are added to twaròg (Polish soft curd cheese) and smetana (soured cream).

Dill leaves are used in sauces including ones served with fish.

 

 

Dill seeds are similar in flavour to caraway seeds.

Dill seeds are used in dill pickles –    – which are cucumbers preserved in brine – Ogórki – Gherkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The name of the Polish astronomer  – Copernicus  in Polish is  Kopernik (so in Polish he is Mr Dill!)

Petroselinum crispum is flat leaf parsley – pietruszka –  in Polish

Flat Leaved Parsley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chopped flat leafed parsley  leaves are added as a garnish or topping for many salads and savoury dishes.

 

 

Petroselinum crispum tubersum

This is Parsley root or Hamburg parsley.

Flat leafed parsley is also grown for its white tap root which looks a lot like parsnip and is also used in  Polish cookery, often added to casseroles.

I have seen this for sale in Polish markets, you might find it in the larger Polish shops that have fresh produce.

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Parsley root grated with apple or pear and with added lemon juice is one suggestion for a fresh salad.