Oh I love this cold weather, hardy grain, it’s extremely tasty, high in fibre and sustaining. You’ll find it’s the dominant ingredient in most crispbreads across the Nordic region and not forgetting the large array of dense and dark rye breads too.
These rye or wholemeal flatbreads are widely baked in the Nordic region. Their origins lie in Sweden and Finland where they have been baked in their current form for around 500 years. Why the hole in the middle? Before the invention of the iron stove, baking these crisp flat breads was something people did in the rural communities, after the harvest and in spring. The hole in the middle was there to aid the drying-out, hanging and handling of the bread on long wooden poles above an open fire.
This recipe is so quick and simple, the only time consuming part is the rolling out of the dough. If you’re using a sourdough starter remember to make the dough the night before you bake. Delicious topped with gravlax, smoked meat or prawns and hard boiled egg. Having suggested all those delicious toppings they’re simply lovely with a mature hard cheese too.
Swedish Crispbread (Knäckebröd)
- 300 g Dark Rye Flour
- 100 g Wholemeal Spelt Flour
- 190-220 g Water I find 200g water perfect if I use a rye sourdough starter
- 60 g Rye Starter (100% hydration), discard is perfect for this or 1/2tsp Fast Action Yeast
- 6 g Fine Sea Salt
- 1 Tbls Runny Honey
- 1 generous tsp caraway optional
- Combine the flour, (fast action yeast if using), caraway and the salt. Add the sourdough starter, honey and water, mix until you have a smooth dough. It should be firm, but if it seems too dry, add a little more water, a tablespoon at a time, and work until smooth. (If you're using fast action yeast you will definitely need to add more water)
- Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rest overnight at room temperature (8 hours). The mixture will only expand slightly but should smell “yeasty” and slightly sour the next day.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C Fan. Have a large baking tray ready in the oven.
- Divide the dough into 24, (approximately 25g each). Shape each piece into a ball and flatten one at a time into a disc and place on a well-floured work surface (use more rye flour) and roll out as thin as you possibly can – around 1-2mm. Use a fork to prick all over the surface of each crispbread if you don't have a dimpled rolling pin. I like baking them with a hole in the middle but that is entirely optional. Continue until you've used all the dough.
- Remove the tray from the oven and place the crispbreads on the hot tray and bake in batches. Bake for around 8-10 minutes until the discs are lightly browned. Watch carefully as there is not much difference between done and burnt! Once you have baked all the crispbreads turn the oven off and leave until it has cooled right down. Place the crispbreads on a baking tray, it doesn't matter if they're piled on top of one another and return to a preheated oven (110°C) and bake for a further 20 minutes, turn the oven off and leave the crispbreads to cool in the oven. Store in an airtight container and they’ll keep for several weeks.
- Add 50g of mixed seeds (sesame, flax & sunflower).
- Add 11/2 tsp caraway or fennel