SHARE
COPY LINK
THE LOCAL RECIPES

RECIPE

How to bake traditional Swedish crispbread

The art of baking your own bread has been making a comeback in trendier hipster circles in Sweden. Here, food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe of traditional Swedish crispbread ('knäckebröd'). Sure, it's easy to buy in the shop - but like all bread it tastes so much better when you make it yourself.

How to bake traditional Swedish crispbread
Traditional Swedish 'knäckebröd'. Photo: Leif R Jansson/SCANPIX

Traditionally, Swedes wanted a bread that was easy to bake and would keep well – most therefore chose to bake crispbread. Nowadays it 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 delightfully wobbly crispbreads are irresistible and perfect for breaking and sharing. Serve them simply with good quality butter, cheese and fruit, or elegantly with salmon, cold meats, pâtés and dips.

Summary

Makes 6 large breads

Preparation: 20 minutes

Cooking: 25 minutes

Total: 45 minutes

Ingredients

200 ml (1 cup) whipping cream

300 ml (1 1/4 cup) water

260 g (2 1/2 cups) dark wholemeal rye flour

320 g (2 1/2 cups) strong bread flour

1 tsp salt

14 g (4 1/2 tsp) instant dried yeast

Topping

1 tsp sea salt flakes

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp cumin or caraway seeds

Method

1. Heat the cream and water together until warm to the touch.

2. Mix the flour 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 six 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 250C (475F, gas 9, fan 200C)

8. Using the rye flour for dusting, knock back a dough ball and then roll it out using an ordinary rolling pin to about 15cm (6in) 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 30cm (12in) diameter. Don't worry too much if the dough does not 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 patterned rolling pin.

11. Bake for five minutes and then turn over and bake for about three 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 50C, 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.

Tips

– 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 linseed, sunflower seeds, rosemary or just salt.

Recipe courtesy of John Duxbury, editor and founder of Swedish Food.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

DISCOVER SWEDEN

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager’s dream

Although parts of Sweden are still under snow at this time of year, spring is in full swing here in Skåne in the south of Sweden. Here are The Local's top tips for what you can forage in the great outdoors this season.

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager's dream

You might already have your go-to svampställe where you forage mushrooms in autumn, but mushrooms aren’t the only thing you can forage in Sweden. The season for fruits and berries hasn’t quite started yet, but there is a wide range of produce on offer if you know where to look.

Obviously, all of these plants grow in the wild, meaning it’s a good idea to wash them thoroughly before you use them. You should also be respectful of nature and of other would-be foragers when you’re out foraging, and make sure not to take more than your fair share to ensure there’s enough for everyone.

As with all foraged foods, only pick and eat what you know. The plants in this guide do not look similar to any poisonous plants, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry – or ask someone who knows for help.

Additionally, avoid foraging plants close to the roadside or in other areas which could be more polluted. If you haven’t tried any of these plants before, start in small doses to make sure you don’t react negatively to them.

Wild garlic plants in a park in Alnarpsparken, Skåne. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Wild garlic

These pungent green leaves are just starting to pop up in shady wooded areas, and may even hang around as late as June in some areas. Wild garlic or ramsons, known as ramslök in Swedish, smell strongly of garlic and have wide, flat, pointed leaves which grow low to the ground.

The whole plant is edible: leaves, flowers and the bulbs underground – although try not to harvest too many bulbs or the plants won’t grow back next year.

The leaves have a very strong garlic taste which gets weaker once cooked. Common recipes for wild garlic include pesto and herb butter or herbed oil, but it can generally be used instead of traditional garlic in most recipes. If you’re cooking wild garlic, add it to the dish at the last possible moment so it still retains some flavour.

You can also preserve the flower buds and seed capsules as wild garlic capers, known as ramslökskapris in Swedish, which will then keep for up to a year.

Stinging nettles. Wear gloves when harvesting these to protect yourself from their needles. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Stinging nettles

Brännässlor or stinging nettles need to be cooked before eating to remove their sting, although blanching them for a couple of seconds in boiling water should do the trick. For the same reason, make sure you wear good gardening gloves when you pick them so you don’t get stung.

Nettles often grow in the same conditions as wild garlic – shady woodlands, and are often regarded as weeds.

The younger leaves are best – they can get stringy and tough as they get older.

A very traditional use for brännässlor in Sweden is nässelsoppa, a bright green soup made from blanched nettles, often topped with a boiled or poached egg.

Some Swedes may also remember eating stuvade nässlor with salmon around Easter, where the nettles are cooked with cream, butter and milk. If you can’t get hold of nettles, they can be replaced with spinach for a similar result.

You can also dry nettles and use them to make tea, or use blanched nettles to make nettle pesto.

Kirskål or ground elder, another popular foraged green for this time of year.
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Ground elder

Ground elder is known as kirskål in Swedish, and can be used much in the same way as spinach. It also grows in shady areas, and is an invasive species, meaning that you shouldn’t be too worried about foraging too much of it (you might even find some in your garden!).

It is quite common in parks and old gardens, but can also be found in wooded areas. The stems and older leaves can be bitter, so try to focus on foraging the tender, younger leaves.

Ground elder has been cultivated in Sweden since at least 500BC, and has been historically used as a medicinal herb and as a vegetable. This is one of the reasons it can be found in old gardens near Swedish castles or country homes, as it was grown for use in cooking.

Kirskål is available from March to September, although it is best eaten earlier in the season.

As mentioned, ground elder can replace spinach in many recipes – you could also use it for pesto, in a quiche or salad, or to make ground elder soup.

SHOW COMMENTS