I lived for awhile in Norway and had some things there that I have been completely unable to find outside of Norway. Norwegians make excellent bread -- the very best bread per my tastes. Many Norwegians complain about the quality of breads in other countries (I witnessed this even while travelling with Norwegians in Denmark and Sweden). Norwegian breads are typically very coarse, dense, and strongly flavored. After returning to the States, absolutely everything I've had seems as light and flavorless as white bread. (Incidentally, Norwegians also eat massive quantities of bread. I regularly watched my lunch companions eat a loaf of buttered bread for lunch, sometimes with small bits of cheese or meat for garnish.)
The first thing I cannot find is a Spelt bread. My supermarket sold it as "100% Gastro Spelt bread". It was a dense loaf of spelt bread coated in sunflower seeds. The texture was similar to a Danish or German vollkornbrot, but with a more open crumb and a good toothsome crust. I ate it sliced as sandwich bread. Can anyone point me in the right direction on this bread? (The Norwegian grocery chain ICA makes a good version of this bread.)
The second is actually what I'll call "Norewegian vollkornbrod". The Norwegian vollkornbrod, frequently called "Danish rye" in Norway, are much denser and coarser than their Scandinavian counterparts. The Norwegian version seems to consist of nothing more than very coarsely ground rye berries and some sort of sourdough starter. I've had "vollkornbrod" in Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, but none were the same as the Norwegian version. I joked with my Norwegian friends that Norwegians make better Danish rye bread than Danes. Does anyone know what I'm talking about, and can anyone point me toward a formula? The brand "Euro shopper" actually sold a good version that was simply labelled "rye bread".
I started baking regularly at home with the specific intent of building these Norwegian breads myself. I think I have enough experience to tackle some more complicated whole grain loaves.
Also, we had these great bread bags in Norway. They had tiny holes all over the bag that allowed the loaf to breath perfectly. Has anyone come across these in the US?
I just now started searching for these breads on the Norwegian sites, but I thought I'd cheat and ask here. I'll post an update if I find anything.