[Wholewheat rusks, a Swedish twice-baked bread]
Skorpor are a traditional twice-baked bread from Sweden. And although I haven’t had time to do much research, I can only imagine that, like many other rusks, they originated from the need to either use old loaves or to conserve bread over an extended period of time.
Often made with white flour and cardamom, you can now find many different kinds of skorpor on the shelves at the supermarket. I’ve even seen people make them out of leftover kanelbullar; which is something I might try but we rarely have uneaten bullar and when we do, they almost always end up as a French toast.
Here in Sweden, skorpor are eaten as a mellanmål [afternoon tea], with butter and cheese, perhaps a spoonful of orange marmalade. Sometimes even dipped in warm rosehip soup.
I must admit I’m partial to butter and marmalade. And the slight nuttiness of wholewheat flour. Perhaps it was the breakfasts made of Krisprolls and thé au lait [milk tea] that I fondly remember from my childhood.
And yet, it took me almost thirty years to make skorpor in my kitchen. I think I started a couple of years ago. It was the end of blood orange season.
That day, I took out the old Swedish baking books I had collected and went through every skorpa recipe I could find. I made blood orange marmalade too.
I wrote weights down and calculated bakers’ percentages. I compared, and tasted, and made notes. And from them came the recipe that now sits in my notebook, the one I’m sharing with you today.
I didn’t really consider doing so. But then, the other morning, a week or so ago, as I kneaded butter into the dough of my monthly batch, I thought that perhaps you’d like to make your own too.
– If graham flour isn’t available where you live, you can use 300 g wholewheat flour and 60 g wheatgerm.
– All the recipes I’ve found use around 60 g of fresh yeast for each kilogram of flour; and while it may seem like a lot, it does reduce proofing times tremendously.
You could get away with using half the yeast and allowing a longer proof. I have however decided to stay true to the recipes I’ve used to develop this formula and the amount of yeast did not cause any noticeable shortcomings.
– I think it is fundamental to use a fork to make deep indents in each bread around its entire perimeter before breaking it in half; and I wouldn’t recommend slicing with a knife, no matter how much faster it would be.
It is precisely the rugged surface created by the fork that makes for an interesting texture and flavour, due to the uneven browning.
Makes around 80 pieces.
485 g milk
420 g plain flour
360 g graham flour
40 g fresh yeast
14 g salt
100 g butter, thinly sliced
Place all the ingredients aside from the butter in the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the dough hook.
Mix on medium speed for 10 minutes, or until medium gluten development. Add the butter, one slice at a time and knead for a further 10 minutes or so until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Cover with clingfilm, and leave to proof at room temperature until doubled in size, around 30 minutes.
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Place the dough onto a lightly floured work bench. Press to get rid of the gases, and divide in 40 pieces, at approximately 35g each.
Ball each piece and place onto the prepared baking trays. Flatten each ball to 5-6cm in diameter using the palm of your hand.
Cover with clingfilm and proof until doubled in size, around 45-60 minutes.
While the bread if proofing, preheat the oven to 250°C/fan 230°C.
When ready to bake, reduce the oven temperature to 225°C/fan 200°C. And bake, one tray at a time for 14 minutes, rotating halfway through baking if needed.
Allow to cool down slightly, and using a fork, make deep indents in each bread around its entire perimeter; then break in half.
Arrange the halves on the baking trays, and return to the oven for 8 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 120°C/fan 100°C and bake for a further hour, or until fully dried.
The skorpor will keep beautifully in an airtight jar for well over a month.