Finnish Emergency Bread – Hätäleipä & a special Truffle Butter


When I met RJ he used to eat at least 4 slices of white bread a day. Not necessarily as part of a meal mind you, but just because. Toast for breakfast, toast before dinner [no matter what or when dinner was], bread with dinner. Sliced, white, from a plastic bag, every time. It appalled me just a bit – as did putting ketchup/tomato sauce on beef stew but we’ll save that one for later… *waves at RJ* hi mate, yes, I’m talking about you again – haha.

I was not allowed white bread growing up. That, along with sugar cereal and soda, were not things that existed in our house and for the most part it wasn’t a particularly big deal [I say that now, back then it was the END OF THE WORLD]. Oddly, for the amount of bread baked in our kitchen, we were never a family that ate bread with dinner either.


So when RJ and I moved in together I started slowly, buying whole wheat sandwich bread, then whole grain then eventually proper sourdough and the like. I also started serving dinner before he had a chance to make toast. It took less time than expected to break that long-ingrained habit and now-a-days he openly admits that health benefits aside, proper bread just tastes better. It’s win-win really.

When we changed how we eat I found a lovely sliced loaf with no nasties and we sometimes buy sourdough from the weekend markets around Sydney, but most of the time I just make bread at home. I haven’t yet made inroads into sourdough starters, so for now it tends to be a version of my Best Wholewheat Bread or with a bit of advance planning No-Knead Bread. But sometimes you want fresh bread and there is not enough time – or patience – for kneading and two rises or a spare 12 hours for the yeast to do it’s thing.


A few months back we bought a round of Pepe Saya’s delicious cultured, handmade butter. The same day I came across this recipe for Emergency Bread. It was like the universe was speaking to me and not only was the bread made that very afternoon but I have whipped it up numerous times since.

Anyway, I recently came into some of Pepe’s AMAZING Truffle Butter. I knew it was waiting for me at the Eveleigh Markets on Saturday morning so I planned on starting the No-Knead Bread dough in preparation the night before… however at midnight on Friday I figured that bed was a better option and come Saturday afternoon we were bread-less. Emergency Bread to the rescue.


This butter is incredible on it’s own – yes, I’ve eaten it on it’s own – but when put on warm bread [or anything else you can think of… pasta – definitely, eggs – without a doubt, berry tarts – perhaps?] the truffle intensifies with gentle heat and it tastes like the love-child of a ripe earthy cheese and full cultured cream. Get your head, or tastebuds as the case may be, around that one.

Now I must admit that white bread slathered with peanut butter and jelly is still a bit of a cheap thrill but fresh wholegrain bread with truffle butter is simply divine.



Finnish Emergency Bread – Hätäleipä
Adapted from A Matter of Taste


  • 1 tsp dry yeast [1/2 packet]
  • 1 c warm-ish water
  • 1 Tbsp molasses, barley malt or rice syrup
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 c organic rye flour
  • 1 c organic stone-ground whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c organic whole spelt flour


Activate yeast in water with molasses.

In a large bowl, beat rye, salt and oil into yeast mixture. Beat in wheat and spelt for 50 strokes – dough will be very sticky.

Scrape out on to a lined pan dusted with flour, form a rough round approx 10cm [4in], cover with inverted bowl and let rise 30-45 mins. Allow to rise a further 15 mins while the oven heats to 200C [400F].

Bake for 30 mins. Eat with wild abandon.


In a measuring jug, whisk yeast, water and molasses with a fork. Set aside for 5 minutes till it is foamy – this means the yeast is alive.

In a large mixing bowl, add yeast mixture to rye flour, salt and oil and stir well with a wooden spoon. Add whole wheat and whole spelt flours and beat 50 strokes. The dough will be very loose and sticky.

Turn out onto a large pan lined with baking paper and sprinkled with a bit of flour and form into a 10 cm [4in] round – a dough scraper is very handy for this.

Rub the inside rim of the bowl with a bit of oil and invert over the dough. Set aside in a warm place* to let rise 30-45 mins – the dough will spread to almost reach the edge of the bowl.

Allow the dough to rise for a further 15 mins while you heat the oven to 200C [400F]. Remove the inverted bowl and bake bread for 30 mins.

Remove from oven, rip apart with bare hands as soon as it is cool enough to touch and slather with butter. Or, you know, let it cool on a rack and slice it like a civilised person… but where’s the fun in that??


  • Make sure your water is not too warm or it will kill the yeast. I use cool/room-temp water and set the measuring jug into a bowl of hot tap water.
  • It is winter here and a warm place exists only in front of the heater in the lounge room. I fill a cake tin with hot water and set the pan over that – instant ‘warm place’.


The truffle butter was complimentary from Pepe and supplied with no expectations. But this stuff is far too good not to share.



    • JJ says

      Haha, this is quite possibly the easiest bread though, just don’t kill the yeast with hot water and keep the dough sticky… Or get somebody else to bake it and jus do the eating bit 😉

  1. says

    Yesterday I was buying some things at the deli in my local green grocer and this video started playing. It was a video of someone making butter and shaping it into the little round and then scraping it onto bread. I was in a trance dreaming of jumping right into that screen and gobbling it up. So much so that I didn’t hear the lady ask me if I needed anything else.

    They were making Pepe Saya butter!

    Obviously the universe is telling me to buy some and make your bread.

  2. says

    I was one of those that never had the white bread coming from a bag until, well, in my 30’s, and then, by accident.
    My family used to make bread and now I’m baking my own, rarely actually buying some.
    Your bread is so beautiful,and the truffle butter, mmmm

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