Watch Magnus Nilsson and Stephen Harris talk Nordic Baking
The Faviken chef discusses The Nordic Baking Book, and plenty more besides, with the Sportsman’s founder
Any idea why people in the Nordic region are so keen on baking? Perhaps, says the Faviken chef Magnus Nilsson, it’s because there aren’t that many bakeries.
Nilsson floated this idea during a chat with the British chef and fellow Phaidon author Stephen Harris at Store X in London, staged to promote Nilsson's new book, The Nordic Baking Book.
There are, as Nilsson points out, plenty of bakeries in Britain and America, because it’s a densely populated country, with lots of villages, towns and cities big enough to support a professional baker or two. Nilsson’s homeland Sweden is, by comparison, more sparsely populated; it’s about the size of California, but has a population about the same size as Tokyo. “There are just not enough people to sustain a bakery,” he says, “that has led to more people baking at home.”
The skills, methods and recipes of that those home bakers have developed over the years have more or less been restricted to the Nordic region up until now. However, with the arrival of The Nordic Baking Book, Nilsson’s carefully researched, easy-to-follow study, we’re far more likely to get great, simple Nordic treats popping out of ovens around the world.
Harris praised the new book for its clear directions and pleasant prose style; “this guy actually wants to teach people,” Harris remarks. Coming from a successful self-taught chef (and former teacher) like Harris, that’s high praise indeed.
The pair also discussed spices, why buns really shouldn’t be baked from sourdough, and the correct way to egg wash. Watch them chew all that over in the video, above, and for the recipes, methods and much more besides, order a copy of The Nordic Bookbook here; and if you like what Stephen Harris has to say (and who doesn't?) find out more about him and his cooking in The Sportsman.