Bread, Pasta and Biscuit in Northern Europe Countries

25 February 201611 min reading
One of the most outstanding features of Northern Europe is rye bread making which has been practiced for centuries. It is known that cereals and porridge is also regularly consumed during breakfast as well as whole grain breads. While sauces made from meat, fish and local vegetables are preferred for pasta consumption, forest fruits, cardamom and cinnamon is highly used in desserts.  bbm_16_5 Cuisines of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland have developed closely and today they have pretty much the same style. One of the most important features of these cuisines is that bread making tradition roots back to centuries ago and it is the basic food along with the main dish. Bread varieties of these countries can also prove this. It is known that cereals and porridge is consumed in breakfast as well as rich bread varieties which are made from various grain flours and are rich in dietary fibers. Pasta consumption is also increasing in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland as in the rest of the World. Pasta which is consumed with local flavors in every country as to the cultures and geography is prepared with local vegetables, meat and fish that are highly consumed in these countries and it is preferred most of the society. Dessert culture which mostly contains forest fruits is outstanding with its richness. It is very common to combine cookies and cakes which are prepared with rye, wheat and potato flour with fruits like raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. Cookies, tarts, cakes, creamy desserts with fruits which are served frequently in Christmas and celebrations are very popular in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. BREAD, PASTA AND BISCUITS IN SWEDEN Sweden cuisine mostly consists of dairy products, meat, fruits and many types of breads. In Sweden where potato has a special place, the variety of breads is highly outstanding. Differences in shapes and basic ingredients of these breads enabled Swedish bread culture to be highly distinct. It is seen that the breads that Swedish people preferred are sometimes sweet and sometimes with spices. One of the most popular bread types in Sweden is the crispy bread named as knackebröd. Being an essential part of breakfasts, knackebröd is generally made from rye flour. Prepared as light and flatbread, knackebröd is mostly consumed with butter, cheese, caviar, tomato or cucumber on top. Sandwich bread of Swedish people who like to consume them frequently is generally flat and thin like knackebröd and is consumed with various materials on top of it. Besides, flat and light breads made from White flour and rye flour such as Hönökaka which is Danish rye bread, breads made from sour yeast and rye flour, and also breads made from spelt are very popular. The specialty of breakfast is sweet black bread. Its dough is prepared with all-purpose wheat flour, whole wheat flour and rye flour. Sugar, cacao powder, fennel and cumin are added to the dough. The sweet black bread is one of the Swedish people’s special breakfast foods. It is thought that per capita pasta consumption of Swedish people is 9 kg. This makes Swedish people the 10th most pasta consuming nation. Famous for little and round meat balls, Swedish people prefer to serve their pasta with meatballs. Although most of the society prefer pasta with meatballs and ketchup it is also seen that pasta can be enriched with local flavors more. Sauces prepared with crawfish, butter, onion and cream and sea food, mushrooms and local vegetables are frequently consumed with pasta. Swedish cuisine is highly rich in terms of biscuits, snacks and bakery products. Preferring to consume yeast pastries, cookies, biscuits and cakes, Swedish people consumed these products with coffee and turned this into a tradition named fika. Most of these pastries are cakes and cookies made with blueberries, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, rowan, elder and rosehip which Swedish people consume frequently. These cakes and cookies are generally made from all-purpose wheat flour. Besides, salty snacks, cinnamon cookies and crackers like crispy bread are also very popular. One of the most popular desserts in Sweden is sweet pastry named semla. Cardamom is added to the dough of semla which is made from fine wheat flour and semolina; the dough is shaped like bun and whipped cream is filled in. BREAD, PASTA AND BISCUIT IN NORWAY There are two types of traditional breads in Norway. One is loaf of bread made from White flour and which was used to be consumed by noblemen. The other is heavy and coarse bread. The oldest grain used for bread making is barley and it is mostly consumed in the mountainous Northern part of the country. Wheat and rye are mostly cultivated in the southern part of Norway due to cold weather. As the breads made in the country are generally made from barley and oat; and these breads cannot be stored for more than a couple fo days, Norwegian people consume crispy bread which is flat, light and dry breads which can be stored for a long time. Breads such as lefse, tunnbröd and krotekake which Norwegians always keep in their kitchens are consumed especially on special occasions. Lefse is soft and thin traditional Norwegian bread. It is made from leftover potato, whole wheat flour and milk. It can be sweetened by adding cinnamon. It is consumed as wrapped with different materials. Tunnbröd is also thin like lefse. Tunnbröd which northern Norwegians mostly prefer is made from a combination of wheat, barley and rye flours. Tunnbröd can be consumed as wrapped with mashed potato and sausages. This version of Tunnbröd is considered as quite a popular dish. Krotekake is particular to Hardenger, Norway, is prepared as thinner than lefse bread and can be stored for a long time without being kept in refrigerator. Krotekaker is not simple bread. It is like an activity that people in fjord villages gathered and made in nearly whole day. The special bread type of Norwegians which they prepared for Christmas and special occasions is julekake. Sweetened with cardamom and raisin, this bread is made from fine flour. Pasta has become a frequently consumed product in Norway since it is cooked easily and is a satisfying food as in the rest of the World. It used to be a popular dish for students and younger generation. But today every part of the society prefers pasta and it is offered with various ingredients. The traditional Norwegian bread which is named as Fiskegrateng is an example for this. Fiskegrateng is made by cooking fish and pasta together. It is mixed with cheese, gadidae and peas thoroughly and combined with pasta as sauce. Then it is baked in the oven. This is a very popular pasta presentation which Norwegians and tourists consume admiringly. Preferring sea food frequently as part of their nutrition culture, Norwegians also prefer pasta with sea food. Noodle is used for shrimp pasta salad which is admired much and prepared with broccoli, peas and green vegetables. It is a quite popular presentation both in homes and restaurants. Mac ‘n cheese which is loved in all around the World and prepared with chifferi rigati pasta is also one of the pasta presentations that Norwegians love to consume. In Norway where special and luxurious products dominated the packaged biscuit and dessert culture, consumers generally prefer desserts, cookies and cakes sweetened with fruits such as strawberry, blueberries, raspberries, apples. One of the most popular Norwegian cookies is ginger cookie known as Pepperkaker. Pepperkaker which is consumed mostly in Christmas and special occasions is made from plain flour and sweetened with molasses, cinnamon and nuts. Prepared with all-purpose flour, cardamom and brandy, Fattigmann is another popular Norwegian biscuit. Other cookies prepared with all-purpose flour, butter and cream as in Fattigmann are Krumkake, Goro and Sirupsnipper. Besides, sponge cake which is decorated with local fruits is also highly preferred in Norway. BREAD, PASTA AND BISCUIT IN DENMARK Denmark has been resuming its bread making tradition since a very early age and the country diversify this tradition with today’s flavors. Consuming grains as porridge as well as bread making, Danish people received the bread as the basic material along with the main dish and used rye and barley for bread making. While rye bread is mostly preferred in the southern part of the country crispy bread which is made from rye flour and loaf bread which is made from barley are preferred in the southern regions. Rugbrød which is nutritious and Brown rye bread is also among the most well-known Danish breads. Containing less oil and sugar, this bread is highly rich in grain and dietary fibers. julekage sweet breads with raisin and cardamom is consumed in Christmas and special occasions in Denmark as in Norway. In Denmark, as in the whole Western Europe, the basic issue about pasta is to be able to produce gluten-free, organic and fiber-rich pasta. Pasta consumption which increases day by day in Denmark is mostly dominated by pasta salad with vegetable pieces. The most typical example of this is the pasta salad prepared with boiled eggs, dry mustard, mayonnaise, cream, red pepper, peas, dill and jambon. Another popular pasta presentation is roasted pasta with chopped meat. This sauce which is known as Millionbøf is generally served with pasta or boiled potato. What comes to mind when biscuit/cookies is mentioned in Denmark is butter cookies (vaniljekranse). Danish cookie which is prepared with flour, butter and sugar may have a new flavor by adding vanilla, cacao, coconut or fruit jams. Cake is not considered as after-meal dessert in Denmark. It is more likely to be offered between meals and on occasions. Denmark contains various styles in terms of cake culture. Cakes which are mostly made from same ingredients differ in shape and topping materials. Kringle cake which is prepared in pretzel shape is made from all-purpose flour, milk and egg and then it is filled with cream that is made using butter and cinnamon. Kagemand which is shaped like man and preferred mostly for birthday parties, apple Æbleskiver made from wheat flour, Kransekage which is sweetened with marzipan and preferred in Christmas admiringly and also Flødekager which is filled with cream are among the most outstanding Danish desserts. BREAD, PASTA AND BISCUIT IN FINLAND Adopting the cooking technics of Scandinavia from West and Russia from East, Finland uses rye and oat flour in bread making. It is observed that breads are less sweet and even bitter in Finland when compared to the other Northern Europe countries. Also, various syrups and spices are used in bread making in Finland. As for the typical rye bread, a hole is made in the center of the dough and after being baked it is hung to the ceiling of the kitchen for drying. Ruisreikäleipä is a typical example of this kind of bread. Barley and wheat flour is mostly used for making bread in western Finland. Other bread types in Finland are Karelian bread (Karjalanpiirakka) which is prepared with rice filling. Vesirinkeli bread which is made from yeasted dough and consumed as sandwich, and also sämpylä bread which looks like a bun. The other bread types which are consumed admiringly are rieska which looks like flatbread, ryynirieska which is made from barley flour and Näkkileipä which is a kind of crispy bread. Pasta casserole is one of the most preferred pasta types by Finnish people. Considered to be one of the most consumed 10 meals in Finland, pasta casserole and lasagna is preferred with meat. This meal has nearly become as popular as Finland’s traditional cabbage casserole or fish fillet. It is known that Finnish people prefer lemon juice, avocado, meat balls and salmon in their pasta sauces. Dessert culture of Finland contains many cake and cookie to consume along with coffee and tea. One of the most well-known of these is Pulls which is a small cake with cardamom aroma. As well as the desserts that are prepared by adding forest fruits to whipped cream, Runeberg tart which is named after the poet J.L. Runeberg and cooked on 5 February every year to memorialize the poet is one of the most loved desserts by Finnish people. As the other Northern European countries, Finland has many cookie types too. Some of them are stick cookies that are made from all-purpose flour, butter, almond, egg and sugar. The cookie which is named as Lusikkaleivat and made from all-purpose flour, baking powder and various fruits, the little cookie named as Hanna-tädin and pikkuleivät which are made from potato flour, Christmas tarts with jam filling are among the desserts that Finnish people preferred on their special occasions.
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