Finnish Fare: Nordic Breads

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Discover the power of rye with this dark Finnish bread baked using a very old starter passed down from generation to generation.
The secret to this outstanding and nutritious ruis-style bread, is its original starter or "juuri" which Nordic Breads says hails from their Finnish ancestors.

Updated Jul 6, 2017 @ 3:56 pm

What did Vikings eat? We got a hearty taste at Union Square Greenmarket, from Nordic Breads.

Some are small and circular like fluffed naan; others are flattened and hollow, like giant, compressed bagels. But all of Nordic’s “Finnish Ruis Bread” deep russet loaves bear the same label: “Discover the power of rye!” With four times the soluble fiber of whole wheat, a high antioxidant concentration, and low gluten content, this whole-grain bread is a mighty one.

Called ruis, the soft bread is grainy and complex, almost like an extremely hoppy beer; its boldness tempered by the sweetness of its signature sourdough starter. To obtain that revered ingredient, called juuri, Nordic Breads taps into its Finnish ancestry: the original starter was imported from abroad (and continues to be fed stateside). The recipe for the authentic sourdough leavener remains secret and mysterious, passed down from generation to generation through a rigid preservation process. And while the juuri hails from across the Atlantic, the organic rye is local, grown right here in the Finger Lake region of New York.

To make a Scandinavian-style sandwich:

Pile bread high (sliced or cut into bite-sized squares) with smoked salmon, cucumber slices, and a dollop of Greek yogurt. Finish with a sprig of fresh dill.

Find Nordic Breads at the Union Square, Stuyvesant Town, and New Amsterdam Greenmarkets; and various specialty stores in New York.