“Very tasty” - Why Magnus Nilsson bakes with blood
It might sound a bit old fashioned but the chef says this recipe isn’t especially uncommon - and tastes great!
While Magnus Nilsson’s new publication, The Nordic Baking Book, is a great book for home bakers, there are a few ingredients, such as lingonberries, are a little harder to come-by. Some, in fact, might take you far beyond the baking aisles of your local supermarket. Consider, for instance, the venerable and useful old recipe for dried bread baked with blood.
"This is one of those preparations that used to fill a very important function in the days before refrigeration and industrialized food production,” explains Nilsson. “On a farm when a beast was slaughtered the whole animal needed to be prepared in different ways to keep, or be consumed more or less immediately. This is why we have charcuterie among many other things.
“The blood – which is extremely perishable – was either eaten straight away in the form of, for example, Blood Pancakes [which also feature in Nilsson’s book], baked into black pudding, or turned into blood sausages. All of these keep for a little while.”
However, to truly store up your sanguine supplies, you’d need to bake it into bread, then dry out that out. “When eaten, the bread is soaked and subsequently cooked in a broth,” explains Nilsson.
That might all sound a bit outdated today, but, Nilsson writes, this practice is “very tasty and not as uncommon as some other techniques that were invented a long time ago out of necessity and for which there is now not really any practical motivation.”
“Commonly served with the bread are boiled potatoes, béchamel sauce, some slices of Fried Salt Pork and sugared lingonberries.”
If you can find the blood (either from a cow or a pig, and make sure it’s strained!), then you can probably track down those lingonberries too. To read the recipes in full, as well as much more besides order a copy of The Nordic Baking Book here.