Welcome to the new Danish Canadian Recipe journey, where Danish tradition and Canadian fusion meet!
Food is the fastest pathway to a memory either in creating one or in reliving one. This recipe has brought up a lot of conversation on our social media and with friends, sharing their memories.
I think that this is probably a dish that you'd grow up with, and look back fondly on or hate it, but still the memory would be strong. As discussed with our bestemor. Maybe you crave it now and again or never again. If you don't like the heady taste of rye or pumpernickel, and are not a fan of beer, you may have a hard time with it.
Øllebrød (Danish Rye Bread Porridge)
Literally translated, øllebrød means “beer bread.” This hearty porridge is a traditional Danish dish, made to use up pieces of leftover rye bread. In a country that’s known for dense rye bread and lots of smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches) you can imagine that it would be easy to end up with a few leftover pieces of bread every now and then.
In our kitchen, we make a lot of 100% rye sourdough bread and 100% rye bread, and while it lasts a long time without going dry, inevitably when you get to the end of the loaf, there’s the dry and stale bit that you just don’t want to bite into. Solution? Soak it in beer I mean that is the most logical use, no? This is a perfect recipe for zero waste cooking. I am a huge fan of Zero waste cooking! It is one of the fun ways to get creative in a kitchen, find a use for something that would normally not be looked at as delicious. We use everything we can in my home and in the Saga Cafe kitchen. From dried bread, to citrus peels, it all transforms into a uniquely delicious experience.
I dont know about you but, in my house the kitchen is the hub the place we all gather around the table or island, visit and connect. Especially in the morning with a good hearty breakfast planning out the day, or a lazy weekend brunch where we discuss the past week or plan out the next. A good breakfast is a great way to start any day. The Danes have a strong custom of healthy porridges and healthy hearty breakfasts that I truly love. I frequently feel I must be part Danish.
Now I'm not Danish, I have been studying Danish cuisine, culture, traditions and history for only 4 years, it has similarities to my traditional heritage of German, and Ukrainian culture, however I will admit the first time Pernille and Jutta had mentioned this recipe to me well lets just say the vision of, a pot ripped up pieces of rye bread and a Canadian beer poured over it to leave soaking over night, .......... I was like yup, I will just hold off on this one. I have to say that upon more experimenting, because I do love porridge and a good craft beer now and again, I can say that this is not at all what I originally pictured. I am delightfully intrigued.
I think this may be enjoyed as a small bowl alongside some thinly sliced charcuterie and some pickles, with a green salad on the side. I love that set-up with a loaf of rye or pumpernickle, and that would basically be like eating your bread from a spoon.
This isn’t your average porridge, and depending on what style of beer you use you can play with the flavors. So please do keep this in mind! A fuller bodied, sweeter beer, like a porter or a stout are the best options in my opinion. A holiday ale would work well too. Using a IPA and the result will be, well… hoppy. If you’re not big on beer (Danes that I know this is highly unlikely how ever it is possible) – or you don’t have any lying around – you can also make this dish by replacing the beer with milk or water. Remember if you are using milk watch the temperature more closely.
The porridge isn’t very sweet, but it’s perfect if you have a liking for anything that’s a little tangy. You can use orange zest, but I like to use dried citrus peels, which I always have on hand in the kitchen for cooking with, and they have a slightly more bitter flavor than straight orange zest, which I think pairs well with the porridge.
Traditionally, øllebrød is served with a spoonful of cream on top, but you can use yogurt or pour in a little milk or non-dairy milk to soften the flavor. I also like to add currants or raisins for additional sweetness.
The bread needs to be soaked long enough that it softens up and absorbs the liquid. The time this takes will depend on how dry the bread is to begin with. I find that it’s easiest to just let it soak
Øllebrød (Rye bread a beer porridge )
4-5 slices of rye bread (300 g)
1 bottle of dark beer. (.33 L or 11.2 fl oz)
Juice of half an orange
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp of cinnamon
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Fruit of choice for topping (photo is glazed apples and cinnamon, toasted almonds)
Break rye bread into pieces and soak in beer for at least 2 -3 hours or ideally over night. Once the beer is all soaked up use a fork and break the bread into smaller pieces.
In a large pot add the soaked bread in beer and orange juice, water, honey , cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium low heat, stirring constantly to break up the bread and to keep it from sticking to the pot as it starts to thicken. Cook the mixture until it is
This the new favorite, we have decided, at least in my house hold.
Happy Friday Friends