danish beer … bread and a french maid; øllebrød

1968 – I took my first step out into the wide world … I moved across the water to Denmark – was 19 at the time. Hadn’t said anything to my mum that I had applied for a job “abroad” – so when I got it and I told my mum … she went into shock – I think , but she never stopped me. My first job in Denmark was as room-maid at the prestigious Hotel Marienlyst in Helsingör. Pure luxury and in the black French maid uniform I learned the hard way how to clean and how to make white tiled bathrooms sparkling. It took tears, sweat and soar feets. My uniform was a bit longer than this  – the rest is spot on. We had to wear heels to it and my legs where far greater and taller than hers! *smile  It was at Marienlyst I where introduced to this Danish dish – that I still can crave for, Øllebrød (Beerbread) . If there is anything the Danish are famous for food wise – it’s their open Sandwiches, Smørrebrød (Butterandbread). A small slice of dark rye bread with topped with “art” – the topping makes the sandwich look double the size and it’s really a whole dinner on top of a small piece of bread.

So that meant that the kitchen – or the “ smørrebrød-jungfrurs (eng. Sandwich-maids)  – as the ladies where called that made those sandwiches – had loads of left over rye bread. So every Friday they handed it over to the chef’s and they made this fantastic dish. Overnight they soaked the bread in water.

(Text: Facebook)
Øllebrød is a traditional Danish dish – a type of porridge made of rye bread scraps and beer, typically beer. A thrifty dish, it makes it possible to use the rest of the bread scraps so that nothing is wasted. The idea originated from monastic living, when monks would dip their bread into hot beer.

Not easy to find a recipe of this traditional Danish dish – but I found this on a German website and it’s how I remember how the chefs did it. Some call it “Beer Bread Soup” and some call it “Beer Bread Porridge” in English. We, the staff, at Marienlyst Hotel got it as lunch every Saturday and as I said I can still crave for it. The best thing about it is that it’s very healthy, rich on fiber and B-vitamins, but also full of calories, 540cal per portion.

Øllebrød, serves 4
350g (12.4oz) dark rye bread,
0,5 ltr (1pint) water
2 bottles of malt beer
1 cinnamon stick
1 piece orange peel – 3x10cm
85 (3oz) gr sugar (100ml)
15ml (1tbsp) fresh orange juice

Cut the bread (with crust) into small cubes, cover with water – let stand overnight in fridge well covered. Put the bread into a pot together with beer, cinnamon and orange peel. Bring mixture to a boil and let it cook on low heat, covered, for approx. 10 minutes. Whisk occasionally. Add sugar and orange juice, when heat through and season to taste. Remove cinnamon stick and orange peel before serving.
Serve with whipped cream

When I moved on from Marienlyst to SAS Hotel Royal in Copenhagen I started in kitchen and when asked what I would like to be trained in – hot, smorgasbord or smørrebrød and I chose smørrebrød – so I’m fully trained sandwich-maid and can put art on a small piece of bread.
We will come to that later.

“24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence?”
Stephen Wright

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33 thoughts on “danish beer … bread and a french maid; øllebrød

  1. I love this posting! Especially the ‘coincidence’ quote – ha ha 🙂
    I love the cinnamon sticks, can almost smell them. Great photos – plus I LOVE Betty Boop! 🙂
    VodkaWasMyMuse.wordpress.com / WordsFallFromMyEyes.wordpress.com

    • Thank you very much … yes, I’m a big fan of quotes .. especially it they are funny and a bit naughty. Love Betty too. I think most girls do.

  2. I LOVE this post – and I also love øllebrød – but of cause i’m also Danish, and I know exatly what you mean when you say you still got the craving for it – me too 🙂

    • Yes, it’s a brilliant dish .. but it has to be made in bulk to taste really good. Tried it at home, but we don’t have the same rye bread as you have.
      I just put some Danish music to the post, because when I wrote it … I hadn’t start with that trademark .. don’t know if you heard the tune.

  3. I can tell I’m going to enjoy this series of stories, Vivi. 🙂 When I did “care” work I had to do my share of cleaning and I have to say, it’s not what I’m good at. (still searching for that! 🙂 ) Hope Christmas was kind to you.

    • Jo, I don’t know if I will do more stories … this is an old post that I reposted.
      I hate cleaning .. always done and I only clean when I really have to those days, but it was a fantastic learning curve to be a room maid.
      Christmas was very nice – only too much food as always.
      Came home yesterday … New Year I will spend home alone by own choice. I leave the celebrations up to the professionals.
      I wish you a fantastic 2014 – and I hope I have a chance to share it with you.
      By the way ARKEN has come back to me regarding the sculpture – they have passed in on to one of the art experts that are on leave until 6th of January.

      • We’re not doing much these few days, Vivi. Sometimes we go to Durham on New Years Eve but this year I have no plans. Dad will come for dinner on New Years Day and then we’re away early (very!) on 2nd January. 🙂
        I’ve been watching Death Comes to Pemberley which is mostly filmed at Chatsworth, and finishes this evening. Haven’t seen “our” statue on there, so we’ll wait and see.
        Big hugs, honey. I thought of you a few times in the holidays. If only 2014 could bring some kind of solution to your problems, you’d be one happy lady! Whatever happens, I’ll be around, waiting for my hugs 🙂

      • They have just sent “The Escape Artist” over here – brilliant mini-series. Also British with David Tennant – brilliant and the end was so clever. BBC again.
        Been working most New Years Eves – so now I just spend time with somebody I really like; myself. Living over in UK my highlight of the evening was watching London’s fireworks – magical. Now I have to wait until somebody has put it on Youtube.
        I had a great couple of days now – no painkillers for 3 days – just so wonderul, maybe the doctors advice to go back on my old medicine works – hope so. So happy for every day without discomfort. I promise I will be around too …. here comes an early morning hug.

      • SO happy for that, Vivi! I don’t pray often but I pray that you can remain painfree. I’m a slowcoach this morning. Too much wine and too much worrying last night. Nothing serious 🙂 Gentle hug back.

    • Claire, you are such a great support – this is an old post I reposted, to keep my blog going – haven’t been close to internet or days, really.
      I suppose I have to tell the story about being a sandwish maid. *smile
      I wish you only the best for 2014. See you next year.

  4. That sounds awesome! I will have to give that a try someday. Pinned to my Pinterest account. Nice title, by the way. I couldn’t resist reading it.

    • It’s a great dish …. but so full off calories – and the bread has to be sour in flavor because of the beer and all the suger that is added.
      Thanks for the lovely comment.

  5. Sounds amazing Viveka! Fabulous music too. No chance of finding decent rye bread here though, so i shall have to wait till I visit Denmark to try it out 🙂

    • Dansevise – the song that Denmark won the Eurovision Song Contest with for the first time in 1963 and one of my favorite winners – up there with Abba’s Waterloo.
      I have never seen Öllebröd on any restaurant menus … have ask Google for help. It’s a great dish.

    • A-C, I have never seen it on menu over in Denmark … but I haven’t looked that close neither. Brilliant dish and it truly fills you up for a couple of days.

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