Linda Ring and the breads of happiness

 

Hi Linda, how are you? Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Hi! There’s much going on right now so I’m a little bit confused, but I’m happy!
I spent my childhood in the Stockholm archipelago, being so close to nature I started to photograph to capture this beauty. At the age of 20, I started to work at Bukowski's auction house, one of the leading auction houses in Europe. There I was able to work daily with what I love and develop my passion for art, visual communication, design and antiques. I stayed there for 20 years.
Now I live with my husband Mattias, who is a sommelier, and my 13 year old son Ruben on an island in Stockholm. We are trying to live in a simple way, slow down life to its essentials and let these basics be as good as they can be.

We remember with emotion the first time we saw your beautiful breads. It was instant happiness. How did all begin? How did you come up with the idea? We’ve read your son was somehow involved.
Actually my first goal was to give my family a daily bread with good nutrients. But I’ve always been interested in how beautiful surroundings make me feel, so when I’m making something I always try to take it to the next level. It was the same with sourdough. I started to make them pretty with leaves and flowers. But my son just made a crazy face so then I thought my ‘pretty’ bread was boring and started to make faces and other figures.
 

What’s your first memory regarding bread? The smell of baking bread always triggers a sense of comfort, sometimes nostalgia.
Definitely! My grandmother always baked and I will never forget the freshly baked bread with poppy seeds on top and the butter that melted and dripped down on the plate.
 

So bread, food, could be an artistic medium and also a way of communicating and showing love and bringing people together.
Definitely! I would say that everything in life could be used in that way. But food and bread is so essential for everyone so it’s easy to make people happy with it.
 

You are not a professional baker, you’ve been working as a stylist and also art has been an important part of your life. You’re ceaseless looking for beauty.
Yes, I guess it’s just in my DNA, I have always been more into pictures than words. But to see or to find beauty is not a big effort to me, I seem to scan and observe things unconsciously all the time. I’m always drawn to those images that move the viewer, that creates reaction, inspire and evoke emotions.
 

What are those things and everyday rituals that make you happy?
Giving makes me happy, both with my time and my resources. Also the morning ritual gives me energy. To have a calm moment reading the paper and enjoying a cup of tea is the best start for me.
 

You started working as a photographer inspired by the beauty of nature in the Stockholm archipelago. Could you describe this landscape for us?
Stockholm archipelago is always changing, the colour and the texture of the water change depending on the weather and wind. Nature is both lush and barren. I love the smell and the light.
 

We can see looking through your IG profile that you love big, colourful flowers and arrangements. What do flowers mean to you? Do you have a favourite one?
I just love flowers, who doesn’t? They really make me feel good and they make a room alive. It the easiest way to decorate a room. My favourite flower change with the season. In the spring it’s Lily of the Valley. Then when the peonies bloom, it's the peony, but then it’s time for roses to bloom. I’m sure you’ll understand... And I also grow my own Dahlias in the garden. It’s impossible for me to choose just one!
 


Most of us have experienced with bread and sourdough starters during lockdown, but could you tell us some tips to bake at home and how to draw some patterns? Is there an easy recipe that you could share with us?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


So wonderful that you like to bake some sourdough bread! Here’s my recipe.
 

Ingredients:
550 g lukewarm water
25 g honey
25 g unrefined sea salt
300 g sourdough starter*
Around 800 g light, organic spelt flour

  • If you don’t have the time or patience to make your own sourdough starter, go to the nearest small bakery, they usually give it away.

Start mixing water, salt, honey and sourdough in a big bowl (it’s really important that the sourdough is vibrant). Pour in the flour and stir a little sloppy for half a minute.
Let the mixture rest under a kitchen towel for about half an hour. This is called ”autolyse”.

Start to fold it a minute (Google how to fold a sourdough, it’s easy, easier when you see it in action). Let it rest for one hour and fold it again, let it rest between 30 minutes to an hour. Now it’s ready to put it in a banneton (a wicker basket for making bread).

Next step is give the mixture time to ferment in the refrigerator (around 5ºC) for at least 12 hours. This process is very important.

The next day, or after 12-24 hours, it’s time to bake the bread. Heat the oven to 250-275ºC. This is always difficult to say exactly so you have to try your oven. I usually lower the temperature after a while so the bread won’t get burnt.

Take out the dough from the fridge and turn it around on a plate with baking sheet paper. If you want to make a pattern put some flour on the dough and use a super thin bread scoring lame to test your creativity.

Now it’s time to put it in the oven. Around 25-45 minutes, deepening on the oven, would be enough (if you have a thermometer, you can check on the inside, when it’s 96-98ºC it’s ready).
Let the bread cool down and rest on a rack before cutting. You can do it!!

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