Knäckebröd or crispbread 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.
You may wonder why they have a hole in the middle? Before the invention of the iron stove, baking these crisp flat breads was something people did in the rural farming communities, after the harvest and in spring. The hole in the middle was there to assist with the drying-out and hanging of the bread on long wooden poles above an open fire.
This thin, hard bread is a staple in my house. I like to make several different varieties. In this recipe for Sourdough Knäckebröd I’ve added seeds because I adore the combination of flavours and texture. The sourdough starter adds a wonderful acidity to these crispbreads. It’s also ideal for using discard, on the other hand you can also use an active starter too. If you’re not a sourdough baker, just use 22g extra water in the recipe and add the dried yeast to the flour.
Once the dough has proved, it’s time to roll the little buns out. You’ll need a light dusting of flour on the work surface and a rolling pin. Try and roll into an even thickness to a diameter of 18cm. Then roll over with a dimpled rolling pin, this isn’t essential, a fork will do the job too.
Ideal as a snack but also perfect for breakfast, lunch or after dinner to accompany a cheese board. They store well in an airtight container for several weeks, if they last that long!
If you prefer a Knäckebröd recipe without seeds, then click here.
Seeded Sourdough Knäckebrod
- 280 g strong wholemeal flour i.e. stoneground, spelt, kamut
- 100 g dark rye flour
- 45 g rye sourdough starter, 100% hydration or 22g extra water with ½ tsp fast action dried yeast
- 275 g water weigh the water in grams for accuracy.
- 60 g sunflower or pumpkin seeds or a blend of the 2
- 60 g sesame seeds
- 60 g linseeds
- 1½ tsp caraway seeds
- 7 g fine sea salt
- extra flour for rolling
- Combine the flour and salt, (and fast action yeast if using) in the bowl of a free standing food processor with a dough hook attached. Add the starter to the water, stir to combine, then pour over the flour. Run the machine at the lowest speed for approximately 4 minutes. Turn the speed up and continue for a further 2 minutes. Add the all the seeds and run the food processor for a further 2 minutes on high speed. The seeds absorb a lot of moisture and the dough should now be firm.
- Let the dough rest for 30-60 minutes at room temperature. Cover with plastic to prevent drying out and pop in the fridge overnight. (or for up to 48 hours).
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C fan, put a large, flat baking tray in the oven on a low shelf.
- Sprinkle wholemeal or rye flour on the work surface and divide into 17 pieces. Then shape into buns. Roll out to approx. 18 cm in diameter. It’s important they’re even in thickness so work carefully to achieve this. Cut out holes in the middle if desired. If you have a Swedish dimpled rolling pin, roll it over each crispbread, if not, prick with a fork, all over the surface. Place four at a time on the hot baking tray, if it's big enough. Bake for 7 minutes, then turn over and cook for another 6-7 minutes. Keep an eye on the first batch, as every oven varies. You may have to adjust the cooking time accordingly. The crispbreads should be golden in colour.
- Once you have baked all the crispbreads turn the oven off and leave until it has cooled right down. Place the crispbreads back on the baking tray, it doesn't matter if they're piled on top of one another and return to a pre-heated oven (110°C) and bake for a further 20 minutes. Leave to cool in the oven.
- Store the crispbreads in a airtight container. Suitable for breakfast, lunch, snack and as an accompaniment to a cheese board.
- You can use any combination of wholegrain flour, I like to occasionally just use rye. However there are many ancient grains available now ie. einkorn, khorasan, spelt and emmer.