Traditionally, hard bread, such as knäckebröd is present at the table during every Swedish meal. The top surface is always more undulating than the base and is known as ‘the rich mans side’ because when you spread your chosen topping, most commonly butter, more gathers on the rough, uneven surface. The same can be said for these Swedish Sourdough Skorpor (Rusks). Served at breakfast or as a mid-morning snack with marmalade or cheese, are a great larder staple.
Skorpor (singular skorpa) are classically made with commercial yeast, and known in this country as ‘Krisprolls’, you may be familiar with the brand Pagen. Delicious as they are, I thought I would have a go at converting my family’s recipe using a sourdough starter.
I like to use organic flour for all my bakes. This recipe has a combination of white, wholemeal and dark rye. Freshly ground cardamom is added for flavour, with butter, a little honey, milk and water.
Begin the night before you wish to bake and make a preferment. This simply means mixing your active starter (fully risen) with flour and water, and leaving overnight to ferment. Then follow the simple steps the next morning…
First off autolyse, then add the salt and follow with four stretch and folds. The dough is now left for approximately 3-4 hours at room temperature to prove. This time can vary, depending on the temperature in your kitchen.
Roughly shape the dough into buns, taking care not to knock out too much air, then prove again for approximately an hour.
Place a tray of boiling water on the bottom shelf of your oven just before baking the buns. This will help the bread to rise, then remove for the last few minutes to gain a crisp crust. Use a fork to separate the skorpor, this may seem strange but you want a rough surface, using a knife will not achieve the same result. Now return the halved buns to the oven to toast, then lastly, dry them in a cool oven.
Store these delicious, crunchy rusks in an airtight container for several months. They’re a great standby if you don’t have fresh bread to hand. I suggest topping with Seville orange marmalade, it works so well with cardamom, then all you need is the brew of your choice. Enjoy!
Swedish Sourdough Skorpor ( Rusks)
Day 1 - Preferment
- 50 g active sourdough starter I use a rye starter
- 100 g water
- 80 g organic strong white flour
Day 2 - Preferment
- 60 g dark rye flour
- 70 g strong wholemeal flour
- 330 g strong white flour
- 100 g dairy or plant based milk 36°C
- 100 g water 36°C
- 90 g dairy or plant butter melted & cooled
- 8 g fine sea salt
- 40 g runny honey
- 2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
- Just before you go to bed mix all the preferment ingredients together in a bowl and cover and leave at room temperature overnight.
- The next morning: Place all 3 flours in a large bowl and blend. Pour the water (save 20g to add with the salt), milk and cooled butter in another bowl and add the preferment, stir until it is combined. Now pour the liquid onto the flour and mix until a dough forms and no dry flour remains, don’t knead. Cover and leave for 30 minutes.
- Now add the salt with the remaining water, working it into the dough.
- Cover and leave for 20 minutes, then do your first stretch and fold. Proceed with 3 more stretch and folds.
- Cover and leave at room temperature for 3-4 hours or until the dough has almost doubled in size.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, use either wholegrain or rye flour. Divide the dough into 18 pieces. Try not to over work the dough because you want to try and keep as much air in the dough as you can . Shape into rounds or rectangular buns. Place onto a floured tray, cover and leave for 60-90 minutes to prove, depending on the room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 230°C fan and place a baking tray on the centre shelf.
- When you’re ready to bake place a deep tray of boiling water at the bottom of the oven. Slide the buns onto the hot baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Now remove the tray of water and continue to bake for a further 5-6 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool down a little.
- Divide the buns by sticking a fork around each bun to separate them in 2. Place the top and bottom with the cut side uppermost on the baking tray and bake for a further 5-8 minutes or until the are golden and toasted.
- Next reduce the oven temperature to 100°C. (you'll need to expel the heat from the oven so turn the oven off and leave the oven door open for approximately 10 minutes) Dry the skorpor for approximately 1 hour or until they're dry and are crunchy.
- Store in an airtight container for up 2 months.