Sara Ingemann Holm-Nielsen gives us on a regular basis, chosen fresh news from Scandinavia. Sara is a very sensitive person , in love with trends and style, she is also a talented writer and the brain behind “Quote a Gentleman”.
We can’t get enough of our breads in the Nordic countries. Rye bread, whole wheat, multi grain, crisp bread, gluten-free, organic, vegan, yeast-free etc. – a field that continue its growth. Even the traditional sourdough bread has felt the power of a trend from eco-lovers to locavores. There are sourdough blogs, sourdough bakeries and now the first ever sourdough hotel in Stockholm, Sweden. Despite the eco-friendliness and the healthy lifestyle choices there is also an invaluable social aspect of the spread of home-made bread. It gives an opportunity for homemade food lovers to create networks for passing on knowledge, sharing experiences and exchanging ideas.
The sourdough hotel, that’s part of Urban Deli in the hip Sofo district of Stockholm started almost 2 years ago and has been on everyone’s lips ever since. The whole new concept developed in collaboration with the local artist, Josefin Vargö, for her Living Culture project, and the bakery agreed on housing the collection of sourdough samples. The project became sort of an ‘intangible’ and immeasurable resource of sociological knowledge about how people around Sweden use sourdough. The most interesting findings regarding the project was; that there is something more about home-baked bread than people’s willingness for sustainable and healthy lifestyle.
Baking your own bread may be a metaphor for giving the best to those who we care about. In this sense, besides nourishing the body, home-made bread is also a key piece for people bonding with each other. Making, sharing and celebrating it can simply give a feeling of social belonging on every day basis.
What started out as an art project with jars of sourdough, is today part of Urban Deli’s bakery. The sourdough hotel is made for the Stockholmers who goes travelling and need their sourdough to be looked after – a nursery home to keep the sourdough thriving. The local bakers will look after the jars with sourdough and periodically add water and flour depending on the pre-ferment or to increase the volume of the starter. But the sourdough hotel also plays a more important role in the home bread-making culture. Sourdough baking is popular among the socially conscious and eco-worried opposing excessive food import. Other groups that find the concept deeply relevant are the stay-at-home-dads and young parents who are concerned with providing their offspring with commercially produced food. These groups have been a huge driving force in the Swedish sourdough trend.
The success of the sourdough hotel proves that the home production of bread or food in general might be more than a fad expected to pass quickly. It goes hand in hand with the local organic produced food, roof top gardening in the big cities, community gardens, co-operative society gardens, farm shops ect. At the moment the making of sourdough bread is the talk around the Nordic towns, and this momentum will definitely continue for the bread loving people of Scandinavia. Swedes will always be baking their crisp bread, Danes their rye bread, Norwegians their flatbread and so on. The taste, smell, feeling and touch of home-made bread is simply better than other breads and last longer.
Sara Ingemann Holm-Nielsen