5 Reasons to Love Norwegian Bread

As a typical bread-loving Norwegian, it can be difficult to live in a country that is protein obsessed and deathly afraid of carbs. But it didn’t stop me from making today’s recipe of whole grain, multi-seeded loaves of bread.

I think I’ve shared my first experience arriving in the U.S. seeing all the plastic-wrapped breads sitting on the shelves for weeks, thinking, “how is this possible? Why doesn’t the bread go bad?” Yes, I know—I was pretty naive. Then I picked up a slice, only to discover that it was mostly air, and I was able to squeeze it in the palm of my hand and shape it into a size smaller than a ping pong ball. I knew then, that this was not something I particularly wanted to put in my body.

This is when I became slightly obsessed with baking my own bread, buying specialty flours online, and seeking out health food stores that would have the kind of darker, whole wheat and grain types we use back home.

Why eat Norwegian style bread, you ask? Here are a few reasons:

  1. Whole grains and seeds contain lots of nutrients and fiber, the latter helping you to stay fuller longer, causing you to eat less
  2.  It will help lower your cholesterol
  3. Stabilizes your blood sugar levels, helping you stay more energetic throughout the day
  4. Contributes to good digestion and gut health
  5. Can help prevent diseases like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease

A bonus reason is that as opposed to white bread, whole grains and seeds contain tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help keep your body healthy. Why not opt for both healthy AND delicious if you’re going to eat? Norwegian bread is the way to go!

I am a believer in using quality grains and flours when making bread, cookies, pastries, and cakes. I use organic products from smaller producers whenever I can, and wholeheartedly believe that if everyone would do the same, we would see fewer people intolerant of gluten and grains, and less obesity.

Yes, that’s right. There has never been as much obesity in the world since the widespread popularity of the Atkins Diet, where red meat, bacon, eggs, and cheese were touted as “health food” and food to eat if you wanted to slim down, whereas bread, pasta, and rice were looked upon as the devil himself.

Come to think of it, growing up in Norway, we ate bread for breakfast, lunch, and “kveldsmat” (a late-night meal after dinner, because Norwegians eat dinner super early, around 5 pm), and I never really saw any overweight people around. Food for thought, literally.

If you’re new to my blog, you might want to read my previous blog post about bread from my home region of Sunnmøre, which goes into more history and detail about breadmaking in Norway and includes another recipe for bread.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say there are MILLIONS of recipes for homemade bread in Norway, we just love bread that much. The best thing about making your own bread is that you know exactly what is in it, there are no fake additives and preservatives that may wreak havoc on your body, and of course: it tastes ten times better than any store-bought version you will find! That is if you follow my recipe of course! 🙂

This bread is made in two stages. You’ll combine the ingredients in the first batch as listed below, then wait a few hours before you add the ingredients from the second batch. Trust me, the bread will be well worth your efforts! You can also double the recipe to make six loaves and freeze them so you have for weeks to come (or if you’re as big of a bread lover as I am, only for two weeks, hahaha).

Happy baking and please comment if you do try it out or if you have any questions! You can also stop by my FB page, Arctic Grub, and join in on the discussion about Norway and Norwegian food there!


 

MULTI-SEED, WHOLE GRAIN NORWEGIAN BREAD

Makes 3 loaves
1st batch:
a heaping 1/2 cup (75 g) wheat bran
a heaping 1/2 cup (75 g) chia seeds
a heaping 1/2 cup (75 g) sunflower seeds
a heaping 1/2 cup (75 g) pumpkin seeds
1 cup (100 g) organic old-fashioned oats
1 cup (200 g) organic whole wheat flour
1 cup (200 g) organic dark rye flour
4 cups (900 mL) cold water

2nd batch:
1 cup (200 mL) water
2 tbsp maple syrup or light syrup
2 tbsp sea salt
1 packet dry yeast or 50 grams fresh yeast
5-6 cups organic all-purpose flour

Directions:
Combine all the ingredients from batch #1 in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl) and cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Let sit for at least 2 1/2 hours at room temp, or overnight if you can. This will expand the seeds and make them chewy, which will help bind them to the dough.

After the mixture from batch #1 has been sitting for several hours or overnight, add in the ingredients from batch #2, perhaps holding back a bit of the flour. Fit the dough hook of the stand mixer on and mix for 5 minutes at low speed, then increase to high speed and knead the dough for another 5 minutes. Add more flour if necessary, until you get a smooth, elastic dough.

Let the dough rest for another 2 hours. Prepare three loaf pans by greasing them lightly with oil. Then pour the dough onto a clean work surface, divide it into three equal pieces.  Fit the pieces into each loaf pan (if you don’t have loaf pans you can also free bake them by shaping the pieces into loaves and placing them onto a baking sheet).

Cover the loaves with a clean towel, and let rest for another 45 minutes at room temp. Meanwhile,  heat your oven to 440° Fahrenheit (220° Celcius).

Brush the top of the loaves with a little water, and sprinkle additional chia, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds on top. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or so until the bottom is hard and make a hollow noise when you tap them.

Cool for about an hour (if you can wait) before slicing into it. Serve with vegan butter and a cup of coffee or tea!

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5 Reasons to Love Norwegian Bread

Ingredients

Scale

1st batch:
a heaping 1/2 cup (75 g) flax seeds
a heaping 1/2 cup (75 g) chia seeds
a heaping 1/2 cup (75 g) sunflower seeds
a heaping 1/2 cup (75 g) pumpkin seeds
1 cup (100 g) organic old-fashioned oats
2 cups (200 g) organic whole wheat flour
2 cups (200 g) organic dark rye flour
4 cups (900 mL) cold water

2nd batch:
1 cup (200 mL) water
2 tbsp maple syrup or light syrup
2 tbsp sea salt
1 packet dry yeast or 50 grams fresh yeast
56 cups organic all-purpose flour

Instructions

Combine all the ingredients from batch #1 in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl) and cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Let sit for at least 2 1/2 hours at room temp, or overnight if you can. This will expand the seeds and make them chewy, which will help bind them to the dough.

After the mixture from batch #1 has been sitting for several hours or overnight, add in the ingredients from batch #2, perhaps holding back a bit of the flour. Fit the dough hook of the stand mixer on and mix for 5 minutes at low speed, then increase to high speed and knead the dough for another 5 minutes. Add more flour if necessary, until you get a smooth, elastic dough.

Let the dough rest for another 2 hours. Prepare three loaf pans by greasing them lightly with oil. Then pour the dough onto a clean work surface, divide it into three equal pieces. Fit the pieces into each loaf pan (if you don’t have loaf pans you can also free bake them by shaping the pieces into loaves and placing them onto a baking sheet).

Cover the loaves with a clean towel, and let rest for another 45 minutes at room temp. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 440° Fahrenheit (220° Celcius).

Brush the top of the loaves with a little water, and sprinkle additional chia, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds on top. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or so until the bottom is hard and make a hollow noise when you tap them.

Cool for about an hour (if you can wait) before slicing into it. Serve with vegan butter and a cup of coffee or tea!

41 Comments

  1. Hi Sunny,
    It’s “da farm”. I am a national educator and for personal purposes, I like to keep my personal and professional things separate so I use “da farm” for my personal Facebook page. For my professional page it is: https://www.facebook.com/sewingguild (in case you are interested). I do sewing education and machine embroidery education–another reason I’d like to visit Norway; I’m sure I could come away with some great ideas for artwork to digitize and sell.
    For extra income I sell digital designs on http://www.EmbroideryDesigns.com and my most recent project was on the cover of “Creative Machine Embroidery”.
    [image: Inline image 1]
    My full-time “job” is online sewing education, my passion is machine embroidery and my second love is baking–and collecting old cook books. Over the years I’ve been trying Norwegian recipes–especially since we moved to SW WI five and a half years ago. There are several Norwegian communities around here. I also wrote you some time ago when you wrote about wine, telling you that if you ever get to this part of the state you also need to check out the local grape growers and wineries–there are many really delicious wines coming out of this area. You were also gracious enough to translate the words flour and sugar into Norwegian for me a couple of years back.
    Here is the link to “Craftsy”: https://www.craftsy.com/ Craftsy has been around for several years now. It is on-line learning for the masses. Each person has to sign up to create an account and then I believe each person can still view one class for free upon signup. For members of where I teach online, the American Sewing Guild offers discounts on classes–but Craftsy also offers discounted classes and they are offered for those who sign up for their emails. Recently Craftsy was purchased by NBC Universal (https://www.craftsy.com/blog/2017/05/announcement/). Once a person signs up and purchases a class, they can watch the classes any time, chat with instructors, and the class is theirs to keep for a lifetime. I have taken some drawing classes, a cookie decorating class, a photography class (for work), and a couple of others on sewing. The instructors are professionals in their area of expertise and the filming is done at the studios in Colorado; I don’t know anything about their pay structure.
    I hope I’m not being too forward, but I “chatted” on the site with a guy named Arnold just a few minutes ago and told him about you. Right now he said they are not accepting any more instructors, but I gave him your blog site and Facebook page and told him I think you would be an incredible asset to the Craftsy lineup. He’s going to check out your pages and tell the “powers that be” about you. I don’t know if it will lead anywhere or not, but I think you’d fit right in with their repertoire of instructors.
    Thank you again for all you do to keep us informed about our heritage and transforming recipes!
    Ramona Baird

    Reply
    • Hi Ramona!
      Thank you so much for your message, I really enjoy getting to know my readers and I absolutely LOVE the sound of what you do for a living! Super interesting and great to know there is such a huge interest for your craft.
      I’m also very touched and grateful you think I’d be a good asset to Craftsy – while I’m not familiar with that particular channel, it sounds similar to Udemy and Creative Live – these things are right up my alley so I really appreciate you taking time out to put in a good word for me! You rock!!
      If there is anything I can do for you in return, I hope you won’t hesitate to ask.
      In the mean time, thanks so much for your support of my work and blog, it really means a lot!
      Have a great weekend and speak to you soo!
      Sunny xo

      Reply
  2. Finally a bread recipe right up my alley! A wonderful sandwich starts with the right bread. Yours looks perfection.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much Jojo – I hope you will like the recipe, it sure is popular in my house! 😀

      Reply
  3. LOVING this recipe and this blog! Hope you don’t mind if I link you! Always looking for more veggie blogging buddies from around the world!!!

    Reply
    • Hi Jennifer! So glad you found my blog and of course- link away!! Veggie buddies rock! Looking forward to staying in touch! 🙂 Sunny

      Reply
  4. Heading to the kitchen now to start some bread. Thanks for sharing! I spent a year as an exchange student in Finland during university and really miss the bread – I love to make my own but haven’t been able to find a really good scandinavian recipe (or two) that feels authentic. So glad I found your blog!

    Reply
    • Hi Amie,
      Thanks so much for your comment, I’m so glad you found my blog too! I hope you will like my recipe, it’s my husband’s favorite and I make it weekly. Happy baking! Hope to see you back on the blog soon. Sunny xx

      Reply
  5. I loved the breads from north when I was there! Thank you for the recipe! I also a an entire loaf of the very black sweet rye bread served on Silva ferry trips buffet!! Do you know what it is called? I have tried and tried, my next attempt is to use barley malt from a home brew shop? I just can’t get it correct.
    Jerrene

    Reply
    • Hi Jerrene, thanks for your comment! I’m not sure exactly what bread you are referring to but it sounds Finnish as they use a lot of rye in their breads… Was that were you were? I found this link, not sure if it’s anything like you had, but I know they use molasses many times and often barley syrup too https://finnishfoodgirl.com/2013/05/finnish-rye-bread-ruisleipa/

      Reply
    • Sounds like you are looking for the finnnish limmpu. It’s a very dark, sweet rye bread originally from eastern Finland. Delicious! I can only find recepies in finnish 🙁

      Reply
  6. Dear Sunny, thanks very much for the recipe of this fantastic Norwegian Bread. I have bread for the next 6-7 days . Next week I want to try other of your recipes, Thanks for sharing!!!

    Reply
    • Hi Cris! How great to hear that you enjoyed the bread recipe, thanks so much for your comment and for trying it out! Hope you will continue to check in! 🙂

      Reply
  7. Can you use all whole grain flour?

    Reply
    • Yes although they most likely will be denser in consistency and you might want to add a little more water.

      Reply
  8. i tried your recipe and must say what a superb bread. I am from Germany and love BREAD … good bread that is … lol …. Even my husband who doesn’t really like ‘seedy’ bread loves it. I t will become a regular in my household….. the only thing i messed up on was the chia seeds, bought ground instead, but the bread still came out nice .. but I did need to add loads more flour. Wasn’t really sure what the dough suppose to look like, however, the end result…… YUMMMMMMM thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe ….

    Reply
    • Hi Karin – so glad to hear you liked my recipe, thanks so much for your comment! Yes, I feel that sometimes you have to add lots more flour, it varies from time to time, the humidity of where you are, etc. it’s a favorite in my household too – my husband demands it weekly! Lol! xo

      Reply
  9. Sunny, I so agree with you. I am born and raised in Germany where we too eat a lot of whole grain breads. I totally get your statement about the plastic wrapped breads in America. Fresh bread from our local village bakery is the thing I miss the most living here and for that reason I also started bread baking some years back. Pumpernickel and sunflower seeds are my favorite to bake. I order my flour from a small mill in Oregon.
    Reading your blog feels very familiar with me. Good to know I am not alone on this topic.
    And me and my hubby are big bread eaters and are also both very slender. Meat is almost non existing in our diets.
    Happy baking, Siggy

    Reply
    • Hi Sigrid! Nice to hear from you and I’m glad you found my blog! Many Europeans have resonated with my bread post, and am happy to hear it does with you too. I believe if you eat quality grains/wheat, it’s beneficial for your health – without additives and other unhealthy ingredients. Hope you will continue to check in at Arctic Grub and stay in touch! Have a great week, Sunny

      Reply
  10. What size stand mixer are you using? I just tried making this, and it did NOT fit in my standard Kitchen-Aid. I almost ruined my mixer. The dough went up over the hook and into the mixer. I had to turn it out and knead it by hand.

    Reply
    • Hi Cary, sorry to hear of your troubles. I have a professional 6 Kitchen Aid standmixer..haven’t had any feedback like this, did you add all the flour at once? It’s best to add it in batches and that way you can monitor how big the dough gets. Typically it reduces down after kneading on slow for 5 minutes first like the recipe says…

      Reply
      • Yeah, mine is the standard one, which is 4.5 qt, according to Amazon. I did add the flour in batches, but it is definitely too much for that size.

        Reply
        • Ah ok – I think mine is 6-8 qts. Again sorry to hear and hope the bread still turned out good!

          Reply
  11. Hello Sunny! Reaching out to you today from cold, drizzley Kansas City. Getting ready to make this yummy-looking bread and have one question: Do I just toss the yeast in to the mixture or “bloom” it in water first?
    Thanks so much for this – I am in love with breads like this!! I’ll let you know how it turns out. 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Pam! Great to hear from you and thanks for stopping by. Yes you can just toss the yeast in the mix, no need for it to bloom.. because the bread mixture will be rising for so many hours, it’s a slow development for the yeast, part of the reason why this bread is so yummy! Happy baking and yes, do let me know what you think! I make these every other weekend, my hubby is addicted! 🙂

      Reply
  12. Hello Sunny –
    After traveling in Norway and Sweden I have been on the lookout for good Scandinavian bread recipes. This one looks gorgeous! I have a question – in batch one it says 1 cup of whole wheat flour, 200 grams in parentheses. However 200 grams is almost 2 cups of flour. Better to go with cups or grams? Thanks much!
    Lois Murray

    Reply
    • Hi Louis! Thanks for your message – yes please go with 200 grams of flour.. this is my go-to bi-weekly bread recipe, it really is the closest to true Norwegian/Scandinavian bread! Happy baking and thanks again for checking out my post! 🙏

      Reply
  13. This sounds great. I have been collecting Norse recipes as I am 1/2 Norwegian. Miss my grandma’s lefse. Is this bread better for diabetics. I try not to eat any bread but the 35 calorie stuff that tastes like cardboard. I’m trying to lose weight also.

    Reply
    • Hi Cher, yes this bread is as healthy as they come, you can reduce the amount of regular flour and increase whole wheat flour if you’d like. And the bread has no processed sugar. Of course bread is to be consumed in moderation if you’re trying to lose weight, but if you want to eat some, definitely try this one! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      Reply
  14. Made this today and……thank you for the recipe.
    I don’t have your big Kitchen Aid , mine is smaller so I divided the recipe in half.
    I used whey from my kefir instead of water and didn’t have wheat bran so I omitted it. LOVE this bread, will make again.
    This is a 5 star bread.

    Reply
    • Hi Gramma Di! So glad you liked my recipe and thanks so much for taking the time out to write me, it’s very much appreciated! Thanks again and hope you will continue to stop by from time to time! Cheers, Sunny

      Reply
  15. Hi I! So excited to make this recipe!
    One question – when it says one packet of dry yeast is that the quick rise version or the regular Active dry yeast?

    Reply
    • Hi Lynn! I use the regular active dry yeast packet. Happy baking! 😀

      Reply
  16. I have a question about proofing. My loaf turned out a bit flat. Should I expect this to rise like a simple loaf of whole grain wheat? I followed the rise times but am unsure what to anticipate for height?

    Reply
    • Hi Bethany – it depends on your yeast and temperature in the kitchen, etc. The dough won’t poof up tremendously like in a white flour dough but you should see it expanding. It’s important to give it also enough kneading time as well. Ideally if you can, soak the seed mixture overnight before you add in the AP flour and move on from there for best results. Hope your bread turned out ok otherwise! 🙂

      Reply
  17. This bread is absolutely delicious and very easy to make. I have been looking for a recipe with while grains and lots of seeds, and this is it!

    Reply
    • Hi Pam, thanks so much for your mote and I’m so happy to hear you like it! 😀❤️🙏

      Reply
  18. Hi. This looks delish, but do you think it will work with 70% whole spelt flour instead of the all purpose flour?
    Thx

    Reply
    • Hi Mandy, yes that should work! Happy baking! 🙂

      Reply
  19. Hi Sunny! I just tried your recipe and something went wrong, it didn’t grow well, it seemed like the yeast did not work. Not sure if it was direct contact with salt… also I used my hands to knead and mix, didn’t use a mixer. I also needed less flour on the 2nd part than what you suggested. It tasted quite good, but it was very dense. I want to give it another try, so I thought I comment here so maybe you could help me figure out what I might have done wrong! Thanks a lot 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Luciana, sorry to hear the recipe didn’t come out correctly for you. How long did you proof the batches for (batch #1 and #2)? The longer you leave it, the better it will rise, because you are not introducing a warm liquid to the yeast so it is a slow rise, which is why it will taste better in the end. That said, I will note that the bread IS supposed to be dense – it’s a health bread, not a light and fluffy kind. And the flour on the second round you’ll have to adjust and use your senses, as every day is different (with humidity, etc.) and also – our ovens are also different… I hope the second round is more successful for you!

      Reply

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