In Denmark, the regional rye bread, called rugbrød, is debatably sacred. Many bakeries stock upwards of five or six varieties of the nutty, rich, nutritious loaves. And when crumbs fall off while slicing it for smørrebrød, they're not tossed. They're saved (and soaked in beer) for this tangy, earthy breakfast treat.
Note: This recipe comes together quickly, but does need some advance planning. Make sure to soak the bread cubes the night before to make sure they hydrate completely.
This funky, sour porridge is the best thing to do with leftover bread crumbs.
Yield: serves 4 people
1⁄2 lb. stale rye bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (2 ½ cups)
8 oz. dark, malty beer (such as stout or porter)
2⁄3 cup apple juice or sweet cider
1 strip orange peel
1⁄4 cup malt syrup
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄2 tsp. ground cardamom
2 tbsp. (1 oz.) unsalted butter
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
4 tbsp. heavy cream, crème fraiche, or fresh cheese, for serving (optional)
Fresh fruit, for serving (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine the rye bread and beer. Cover the bowl and let soak overnight at room temperature.
Transfer the bread mixture to a medium saucepan and add the apple juice, 1⁄2 cup water, the orange peel, malt syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and cardamom; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to bring the mixture to a simmer; cook, stirring occasionally and crushing the chunks of bread with the back of a spoon, until the porridge is thickened and pourable, 5-6 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the butter and salt. Remove the orange peel. Divide the porridge among 4 bowls, and top each with heavy cream, crème fraiche, or fresh cheese and fruit if desired.