Mämmi is a traditional Easter food in Finland. It is a delicious, malty, dark-brown pudding, eaten as a dessert with heavy cream. The main ingredient in mämmi is rye, both as rye flour and malted rye. You will either love mämmi or hate it. But it can also grow on you with time.
What I love about this recipe
- Tastes exactly like store bought mämmi
- Stores for long
- Can be made in a big batch and frozen
- A filling snack or dessert with lots of fiber
This recipe is the traditional way of making mämmi with a process called imellytys. "Imellyttää" means to use a cooking method where the food is left to stand at a suitable warm temperature, allowing enzymes to break down starch into maltose, which makes the food taste sweet. This method of cooking, called "imellytys" in Finnish, was one of the few ways to make sweet food during the winter months before the widespread availability of sugar.
You could leave the dark syrup away from the recipe, but for modern taste buds, the mämmi would not taste sweet enough, this is why it has some additional sweetness.
This recipe is big-batch cooking. It takes a while if you want to make the traditional cooking method. This is why it makes sense to make several boxes since it stores well, can be frozen, and is nice to give as a present for someone to taste.
To make mämmi you need for example *paper loaf pans. (you can order them in Amazon). Even steel and aluminum pans work if you have several at home.
You also need an oven-safe pot, something that can tolerate the heat of 130 F in the oven.
History of mämmi
Originally, mämmi was eaten during the fasting period, and its laxative properties were associated with purification. Traditionally, mämmi was specifically eaten on Good Friday, when it was customary only to consume cold food: the day was too sacred for cooking or even starting a fire. Traditionally it was baked in boxes made of birch bark,( tuohirove) but today you can buy it in cardboard boxes in every grocery store.
The original mämmi in history was considerably coarser in texture and less sweet than the modern delicacy. Nowadays, syrup is added to mämmi to even out its sweetness, and bitter orange or orange marmalade is used as a spice. In the past, all the sweetness of mämmi came from imellytys, which turned its starch into sugar.
For decades, toppings have been a part of eating mämmi to sweeten its taste. Traditionally, mämmi is served with cream and sugar or milk, but in recent years, new topping trends have emerged, such as vanilla sauce and ice cream. Some even like to eat this with smetana- a russian sour cream. Completely new mämmi products, such as layered vanilla mämmi, licorice mämmi, and mocha mämmi have appeared in stores.
In the picture you see the traditional Finnish ingredients used for this recipe. You can order these at suomikauppa.fi, links below for products. Below I also give you tips on replacement.
- Rye flour. For example, Bob's red mill organic dark rye flour is a good option to make mämmi.
- Malted rye (flour). Malted sifted rye flour might be hard to find, so an online option might be best place to buy, like suomikauppa.
- Dark syrup. You can replace the Finnish dark syrup with dark karo syrup, dark corn syrup, danish molasses, sorghum syrup or a mix of golden syrup and blackstrap molasses.
- Orange. You only need the peel of the orange.
- Bitter orange, also called Sevilla orange. In Finnish called pomeranssi.
Bitter orange peel is not necessary in this recipe. It gives some bitter tones to mämmi, so I think it is ok to leave it out from the recipe since it might be hard to find outside Finland in grocery stores.
For this recipe you need half of the bag of malted rye, you can use the rest to make delicious Finnish Archipelago bread. Replace the rye beer malts in the recipe with malted rye flour.
- Warm 4 cups (1 liter) of water in a large oven-safe pot to 140-158 F (60-70C). Simmering, not boiling. Add ⅓ of amount of malted rye and rye flour to the water and mix into an even porridge consistency.
- Sprinkle some rye flour on top and lift the pot in 125 F (50C) oven for 1,5-2 hours. Place it without the lid on, since the lid gets condense water which might cool down the mixture.
- It is good to check the temperature of your porridge. It should be 50 degrees Celsius or 125 Fahrenheit. Adjust your oven temperature a bit higher if needed.
- Repeat the previous steps twice. Add simmering water and ⅓ of flour each time. The total time in the oven is 3 x 1,5-2 hours.
- Lift your pot from the oven and add 1 cup of water, the dark syrup, salt, bitter orange peel, and grated orange zest. The rye porridge should be loose in consistency.
- Boil the rye porridge on the stovetop for 10 minutes while stirring at the same time. The consistency thickens up. A wooden spatula is handy since small plastic ones can break. Let it cool before baking in the oven. You can, for example, let it stand overnight in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 320 F (160°C). Add rye porridge into your paper loaf tins, so they are half full.
- Add some syrup-water mixture on top. Bake for about 2,5 hours. Let mämmi cool down before eating it
Serve mämmi with heavy cream. If you want more sweetness you can sprinkle some sugar on top.
What can you make from mämmi?
We Finns love to make all kinds of foods with mämmi as an ingredient to give a malty rye flavor. Most popular is to make some type of mämmi cake or a chocolatey mud cake with added mämmi. The most simple dessert for Easter is to mix mämmi with whipped vanilla sauce. Check simple mämmi dessert recipe here.
Mämmi can be used to make:
Since mämmi has rye, the taste can remind you of rye bread. Mämmi has tones of molasses, Guinness beer, and roasted coffee beans. If it is flavored with bitter orange peel, it has mild tones of bitterness and hints of orange.
MÄmmi is sold in all grocery stores in Finland during easter. Larger stores sell it all year round in the freezer section.
Over two million kilograms of mämmi is sold every year. It is especially popular in middle parts of Finland. (source)
Mämmi, Finnish rye pudding
- 5 pcs paper bread tins
- 14 cups water
- 3 cups malted rye 500 g
- 5½ cups rye flour 800 g
- 1 cup brown syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 orange (peel)
- 1 tablespoon bitter orange peel powder (optional)
- 3 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoon dark syrup
- Preheat your oven to 125 F(50C). Warm 4 cups (1 liter) of water in a large oven-safe pot to 140-158 F (60-70C). Simmering, not boiling. Add 1 cup malted rye and 1,8 cups rye flour to the water and mix into an even porridge consistency. Sprinkle some rye flour on top and lift the pot in the oven for 1½-2 hours.
- Warm 4 cups of water so it simmers.(same temperature as above) Add the water and 1 cup malted rye +1,8 cups rye flour to the mixture. Sprinkle some rye flour on top. Let it stand in the warm oven for another 1½-2 hours.
- Repeat the previous step and add the rest of the malted rye and rye flour.
- Lift your pot from the oven and add 1 cup of water, the dark syrup, salt, bitter orange peel and grated orange zest. It should be loose in consistency.
- Boil the rye porridge on the stovetop for 10 minutes while stirring at the same time. Let it cool before baking in the oven. You can, for example, let it stand overnight in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 320 F (160°C). Add rye porridge into your paper loaf tins so they are half full. Add some syrup-water mixture on top. Bake for about 2,5 hours. Let mämmi cool down before eating it with heavy cream and sprinkled sugar on top.