Traditionally, most Swedes baked their own bread and usually wanted a bread that was easy to bake and that would keep well; most Swedes therefore chose to bake crispbread. (The pattern wasn’t followed by everyone as Swedes in the far north tended to bake a soft, tortilla-type bread and those in the south preferred a syrup-based rye bread, but for the majority crispbread ruled.)
Nowadays crispbread is easy to store in airtight containers, but originally they were made with a hole in the centre so that they could be hung over the oven to keep dry.
These delightful wobbly crispbreads are irresistible and perfect for breaking and sharing. Serve them simply with good quality butter, cheese and fruit or smoked salmon, cold meats, pâtés and dips. John Duxbury
• Use any flour you want: if you want to go rustic, use stoneground and if you want to go healthy, use fine rye, spelt or barley flour.
• Other toppings to try include anise seeds (aniseeds), linseed, sunflower seeds or a gourmet salt. (The rosemary salt shown above is by Falksalt, a Swedish company, and is available in the UK from Marks & Spencer and online.)
• Use some cutters to make some small individual crispbreads, which are ideal for canapés.
• If you have a pizza stone (baking stone), the knäckebröd will appreciate the quick burst of heat. Simply slide the knäckebröd on to a piece of baking parchment and transfer directly to the stone.
• If the bread loses its crispness, reheat it briefly in the oven.
• Tie some crispbreads with ribbon to make a nice present.
• If you like knäckebröd, try tunt knäckebröd (thin rye crispbread). They are superb with cheese or with an aperitif. Wonderfully moreish.
|200 g*||whipping cream|
|260 g||dark wholemeal rye flour|
|320 g||strong (bread) flour|
|5 g||salt, 1 tsp|
|14 g||"fast action" dried yeast, 1 packet|
*We recommend using digital scales to measure liquids
|1 tsp||sea salt flakes, or other gourmet salt|
|1 tsp||seasame seeds|
|1 tsp||caraway seeds|
1. Heat the cream and water together until warm to the touch.
2. Mix the flours and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast and stir.
3. Add the cream and water mixture and mix together to form a dough.
4. Using the rye flour for dusting, turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead it for 2-3 minutes.
5. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces then knead them into round balls.
6. Place the dough balls on a baking sheet, cover with a cloth and leave somewhere warm for 20-30 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 250°C (475°F, gas 9, fan 200°C ).
8. Using the rye flour for dusting, knock back a dough ball and then roll out it out using an ordinary rolling pin to about 15 cm (6”) diameter. Then transfer to a sheet of baking parchment and continue rolling out with an ordinary rolling pin until it is as thin as possible or at least 30 cm (12”) diameter. (Don't worry too much if the dough doesn't end up circular. You can trim roughly if you want but the shape is not critical.)
9. Sprinkle with the salt, sesame seeds and cumin seeds. Roll again to help the topping stick.
10. Make a pattern on the surface using a fork or a kruskavel (a patterned rolling pin).
11. Bake for 5 minutes and then turn over and bake for about another 3 minutes or until dry and hard. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
12. Repeat with the other dough balls.
13. When the oven has cooled to about 50°C pop the crispbreads back in to dry out. This will help to make them nice and crisp.
14. Store the crispbreads in an airtight container.
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