From Norway with love

Smelling this freshly made bread gives me flashbacks from my childhood. Great food will do that to you.

– My grandmother, Solveig, is 78 years old. She bakes this bread every single day and it is my favourite bread in the whole wide world.
Joakim Strand is sitting at my table at Norð, the new coffee brewery/bakery/cocktail bar at Tøyen, Oslo. He is referring to a warm loaf of bread placed on a pinewood chopping board in front of me. I smell the bread and close my eyes. I get a flashback from my childhood when I would walk barefoot through my single mother’s one-bedroom apartment at Grünerløkka, and smell the bread she used to make herself to save money.

– The most important thing is to use good grains. We get ours delivered from Holli Mølle, and it is the same grain that my grandmother uses. High quality Norwegian corn is ground by stone and absorbs water in a different way than refined, nourishment dissolved, imported corn.
To get juicy, tasty, delicious bread, the Nordic stone ground flour is the absolute winner. Joakim looks very serious. This is no joke. This is passion, and they have lots of it.
– Do you want a cup of coffee?
I turn my head and look towards the cocktail bar. Yes, Cocktail bar. At night this coffee place converts into a rendezvous for the locals. The bar manager, Louise, serves me a cup of black coffee and it is delicious. One of the best “coffee of the day” I think I have ever had. Hot, aromatic, black and strong, but not once with that “coffee maker” bitter aftertaste.


I sip my coffee and glance at the cocktail menu. In collaboration with Jesper Høst and his firm Behind Bars Consulting, Norð serves a variation of drinks with a Nordic touch. They also have the homemade beer called “Dronebrygg” on tap. Two guys that use local herbs from the streets of Oslo make it, and it is brewed with honey from beehives at the rooftop of Kunstnernes Hus. With my taste for the darker side, I at once decide that my first cocktail is going to be the one called “Lidelsen er lykkens pris”, which translates to “Suffering is the Price of Happiness”. But since it is one o´clock on a Sunday I decide to save the cocktail for later. Even for me, it is a bit early…


A while into our chat, I realize that Joakim and I are quite similar. Both born “asphalt children” at a time when areas like Grünerløkka and Bjølsen were heavy weight neighborhoods with a high amount of social housing and high crime rates. But these neighborhoods were also filled with a strong sense of community; at a time when “it takes a village to raise a child” was more a way of life than a statement long forgotten in the smartphone era. It is just this strong sense of community that has led Norð to only use local producers and fresh Norwegian homemade ingredients when they source their produce.

Just when I think that these people are a bit in over their head with their vision for Norð, Joakim tells me that they are opening a restaurant next door in November. We go to have a look at the venue. It is huge and it is a mess.
– November this year? I ask, and I try to think of a way to give him a polite reality check with a positive vibe. Just when I have thought of the right thing to say, he is interrupting me with a picture on his phone.
– Do you think it would be possible to make a 3.5-meter high pine tree grow and live in here?

I rest my case.
It is going to be wonderful.

Norð lets their bread rise for at least 20 hours, but here is the original recipe Joakim´s grandmother uses at home.

2 kg Sifted flour
2 kg Dark whole-wheat flour
2 kg Dark ground whole grain rye
Salt (to your own choosing)
3 pk Dry yeast.
Ca. 3.5 l water
Maldon salt

Mix the dry ingredients and add water, about 3 liters at first. Then add more until the dough thickens. Knead well and add lots of love. Let rise for two hours. Divide into 8 parts and place in bread tins. Let rise additional 30 minutes. Brush with high quality oil and sprinkle with Maldon salt. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees celsius for 50 minutes. Turn the heat down a bit if the top gets to dark.

While you wait for the bread to rise, make a cup of the delicious Hario V60 coffee. There are one million different recipes, but to reach the full potential of our home-roasted Kenyan coffee we do the following:

Hario V60 – Fruity coffee
Use a kitchen scale and a water boiler that measures temperature.
The water should be 93 degrees celsius and the coffee grinder should not be on the finest graining.

Grind the coffee fresh, almost to press pot quality.
Soak the coffee filter in water and heat the coffee pot with boiling water.
Let the warm water in the coffee pot rest for 5 minutes.
Empty the coffee pot and add 26 grams of grinded coffee.
Pour 60 grams of water over the coffee, blend and let rest for 30 secconds.
Add 200 grams of water.
When the filter is almost empty with water, add 140 grams of water.
Let pour through and serve in warm cups.


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