Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Waiter, there's something in my ... bread: seenekarask or a mushroom loaf

Andrew of SpittoonExtra is hosting this month's edition of Waiter there is something in my ..., and the theme is bread. In ideal circumstances, I would have wanted to make a proper Estonian leavened rye bread. However, as I only just returned from London on the wee hours of Monday morning, and was busy celebrating my birthday yesterday, I didn't have time to start the rye bread. Yet as I was still keen to make something local, I decided to adapt an old recipe for a simple local loaf bread, karask.

Karask is a type of bread in Estonia and Finland that doesn't use yeast nor require leavening; instead, baking powder or baking soda is used to raise the bread (so it is a bit like the Irish soda bread then). Usually karask is made with barley flour (mine uses plain wheat flour), and a popular local version uses curd cheese to flavour and moisten the bread (I've also got recipes using leftover potato mash to give bulk to the bread). I made mine with mushrooms - one of my favourite ingredients, as most of my loyal readers would know by now (just see here), and added a generous handful of fresh herbs..

The texture of the bread is quite heavy, so if you're into light and fluffy breads, then this karask is not for you. However, it will be perfect for those of you who like mushrooms (and there are many fungiphiles or mushroom lovers out there, believe me!) It's at its best when served warm, straight out of the oven, sliced thickly and buttered with a slightly salted butter. Yet it is also delicious cold on the following day, and would make a lovely picnic dish, as it cuts into neat cubes or slices when cold.


Seenekarask or Estonian quick mushroom bread
Serves 6

250 fresh mushrooms (I used a mixture of brown and white champignon mushrooms), quartered
1 large onion (ca 100 grams), finely chopped
1 Tbsp oil

150 grams plain flour
60 grams porridge oats
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
200 ml milk
100 grams butter, melted
5 grams flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

30 grams cheese, grated

Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan, add mushrooms and onions and fry on a moderate heat for about 5 minutes, until mushrooms have browned a little and onions have began to soften. Remove from the heat and cool.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, oats, baking powder, salt and herbs. Stir in the milk and melted butter.
Pour into a buttered (and/or lined) loat tin and sprinkle grated cheese on top.
Bake at 200 C for 35-40 minutes, until the loaf is cooked (due to high mushroom content, the loaf remains moist).
Slice and serve.
As I said, the loaf is at its best when still warm, but remains delicious and flavoursome until the next day.

Here are links to my previous Waiter there is something in my ... entries:
March 2007 (EASTER BASKET, hosted by Johanna): a selection of various Easter delights.
February 2007 (PIE, hosted by Jeanne): a great Russian puff pastry and fish pie, Salmon Kulebyaka.
January 2007 (STEW, hosted by Andrew): my version (in collaboration with Anthony Bourdain:) of the French classic Boeuf Bourguignon.

UPDATE 26.4.2007: Read Andrew's round-up of sweet and savoury bread recipes


joey said...

I like the looks of that bread Pille! I love mushroom too so I'm sure I would love this :)

Freya and Paul said...

I love this unusual take on the theme of Bread. Looks delicious!

Susan said...

What a wonderfully rich, savory bread! Happy belated birthday, Pille!

Andrew said...

Love it when you do these local dishes! Many thanks for participating in Waiter... see you at the next one I hope :-)

Evelin said...

I knew you'd go traditional!:)
If you happen to have time for making rye bread though, I'd be happy to join in. Or my first rye brad will be a disaster!

lobstersquad said...

wow. that´s not so much a bread as a meal in itself! more than makes up for a non-birthday

Jeanne said...

Oh wow - that looks like my kind of loaf - all the basic food groups in one ;-) I can think of few things more delicious than a cheesy mushroom loaf & I am definitely putting this on my "to do" list. Thanks!

ksklein said...

Hi Pille!

I saw this recipe today in your blog and tried it out for dinner. Well, I forgot to put the cheese on top, but still it was very good. Thanks for posting it. And I´m glad this competition is being held. Otherwise I would have missed some nice recipes.
BTW: You´ve got lots of recipes on your blog which I want to try out. They sound so delicious.

Pille said...

Joey - you would like this! And you don't even need wild mushrooms for this bread (though they'd be perfect, too).

Freya & Paul - you can buy handmade leavened rye bread with pieces of smoked bacon inside here, which I love. So bread with stuff in it isn't too unusual over here:)

Susan - thank you!

Andrew - I thought it was fun how both Estonian participants went for the unleavened loaf bread. Must be in our blood:)

Evelin - believe me, seven years abroad make you a very patriotic and traditional!! I got some rye bread starter over the weekend from a blogging friend, so will be baking some proper bread soon!

Ximena - it was a meal in itself. And it cut really nicely into small slices on the following day, so it'll probably re-appear soon in our picnic basket.

Jeanne - indeed. You've got a 'sandwich' by simply cutting this into slices!

Ksklein - so pleased to hear that! I think cheese is an added bonus, but definitely not essential for this bread, as the mushrooms yield enough character already. Thank you again for trying one of my recipes!

Erykah said...

You are an absolute star! I'm off to a Eurovision party and have to take something Estonian. Given that I'm vegetarian and an awful cook this makes my task somewhat harder.

Given that everything I know how to cook involves cheese and mushrooms this bread seems ideal - and is made entirely from stuff I can get from the local supermarket!