Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Brunkans Långa: Bread Baking Babes

February marks the 3rd Anniversary of the Bread Baking Babes.  To celebrate, the Bread Baking Babes and Friends had the choice of making any of the breads that have been featured throughout the last three years. 

This is only the second time I’ve baked with the BBB, but I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to bake bread.  I’m delighted to be baking along with them and celebrating their anniversary with this Swedish Brunkans Långa. 

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Bread Baking Babe Gorel of Grain Doe chose this bread for the September 2010 bread of the month.  According to Gorel, “Brunkan is a nick name for Brunkebergs bageri (the bakery of Brunkeberg, situated in Stockholm), and ”långa” means ”the long one”. When they bake this bread at the Brunkeberg bakery, it is more than two feet long – hence the name. This loaf gets a wonderful crust and a crumb with a deep flavour from the sourdough and the muscovado sugar.”

brunkans-langa 001The name and the history of this bread intrigued me, but I decided to make it because it uses graham flour and I just so happen to have some heirloom graham flour that I’ve been wanting to test.  If you don’t have access to graham flour, Gorel provides a recipe on how to make it using a blend of other flours.  Read on for more details…


This bread is from the book ”Bröd” (Bread) by Heléne Johansson, an IT consultant who decided she needed a career change and thus started her own bakery in 2002.

Graham flour* sourdough:

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Day 1, morning:
Mix 60g/100 ml/0,42 cups graham flour
with 120 g/120 ml/0,5 cups water.
Cover with cling film and leave at room temp.



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Day 1, evening:
Add 60g/100 ml/0,42 cups graham flour and
60 g/60 ml/0,25 cups water.
Mix, cover with cling film and leave at room temp.



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Day 2, morning:
Add 60g/100 ml/0,42 cups graham flour and
60 g/60 ml/0,25 cups water.
Mix. By now, the sourdough should be a little active (bubbly). If not, add a teaspoon of honey, some freshly grated apple or a teaspoon of natural yoghurt. Leave at room temp.


brunkans-langa 006Day 3, morning:
Feed the sourdough with 60g/100 ml/0,42 cups graham flour
and 60 g/60 ml/0,25 cups water. Mix, cover with cling film and put in fridge. I fed it again at this point because there wasn’t much activity. I left it out on the counter for another day instead of putting it in the refrigerator.  I put it in the refrigerator the 3rd night instead of morning.


Day 4
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By now, the sourdough should be ready to use. If you don’t want to use it right away, you can keep in the fridge if you feed it as above a couple of times/week. This is what it looked like after I took it out of the refrigerator.


*Graham flour can’t be found everywhere. If you want to recreate an exact substitute, here’s what to do, according to Wikipedia:

Graham flour is not available in all countries. A fully correct substitute for it would be a mix of white flour, wheat bran, and wheat germ in the ratio found in whole wheat. Wheat comprises approximately 83% endosperm, 14.5% bran, and 2.5% germ by mass. For sifted all-purpose white flour, wheat bran, and wheat germ having densities of 125, 50, and 80 grams/cup, respectively, one cup of graham flour is approximately equivalent to 84 g (~2/3 cup) white flour, 15 g (slightly less than 1/3 cup) wheat bran, and 2.5 g (1.5 teaspoons) wheat germ.


Brunkans långa
The long (tall) loaf of Brunkebergs bageri
Makes: 2 large loaves

600 g/600 ml/2,5 cups water
1125 g/2,48 lb high-protein wheat flour
375 g/13,2 oz graham sourdough (see above)
20 g/0,7 oz fresh yeast
150 g/5,3 oz dark muscovado sugar
25 g/0,88 oz honey
30 g/1 oz sea salt


Day 1
Mix all ingredients except the salt. Work the dough in a stand mixer for 10 minutes or by hand for 20. I started out using the Danish dough whisk, then switched to mixing it with my hands.  It was a lot of dough.

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Add the salt. Knead the dough for 5 minutes more. My first thought was “wow!” that’s a lot of salt, but there’s a lot of dough to go with it.

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Put the dough in a oiled, plastic box and put the lid on. Leave the dough for 30 minutes. I don’t have a plastic box so I just put it in a clean, oiled bowl and covered it with plastic wrap.

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After 30 minutes: fold one side of the dough against the centre of the dough, then fold the other end inwards, finally turn the whole dough so that the bottom side is facing down. Put the plastic box with the dough in the fridge and let it rise over night.

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Here is the risen dough

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Day 2
Set the oven temp to 250 C/480 F. Leave the baking stone in if you use one.

Pour out the dough on a floured table top and divide it lengthwise with a sharp knife.

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Put the dough halves on a sheet covered with parchment paper and place another parchment paper or a towel on top. These directions were a little bit fuzzy to me.  I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to shape the loaves or if I was supposed to shape them so I made the executive decision to shape them like baguettes. 

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When the oven is ready, put in the sheet or shove the parchment paper with the loaves onto the baking stone. Put a small tin with 3-4 ice cubes at the bottom of the oven. (The water releases slowly which is supposed to be better.) Lower the oven temp. to 175 C/350 F immediately after you have put in the loaves. After 20 minutes, open the oven door and let out excess steam. 

I didn’t do it this way.  The loaves were so long so I used a baking sheet to bake them.  I put the baking sheet on the middle rack and the baking stone on the bottom rack.  I didn’t want to crack the baking stone by putting the cold baking sheet on it. The baking sheet was cold because the dough was cold. I’ve cracked a baking stone before so I didn’t want to chance it this time. I also didn’t use the small tin with ice cubes. There wasn’t any place to put it, safely. I just spritzed the walls of the oven with a water bottle a few times during the first minute or so of baking to release some steam.

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Bake for 35 minutes or until the loaves have reached an inner temp of 98 C/208 F.

Let cool on wire rack.

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I really like this bread.  It reminds me of a light honey wheat bread.  We used this for sandwich bread and it was wonderful.

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I think it would also be great shaped as a sandwich loaf and baked in a loaf tin. It’s a wonderful bread.  I’m so glad I chose this one.


Happy Baking!


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