Bread 23: knäckebröd from Sweden

I’ve been trying to care less about my bad photography. Working all week on a magazine where Everything Must Be Good can do things to you. A friend suggested that I deliberately take some WTF shots to counteract this, and it’s in this spirit that I present to you the kitchen sink crackers.

I put them on the rack to cool, and thought they looked charmingly ridiculous.

cracker bread 1These, like my last loaf, are from a recipe on Bread and Companatico. Barbara says the breads were first made for Viking explorers, who needed bread to last on the long weeks out at sea. Traditionally, crackers are baked with rye flour and hung from the ceiling through a hole in the middle. Apparently, a good cracker bread can last for up to a year.

Air used to be introduced into unleavened doughs by adding snow into the dough, which evaporated away during baking. These, however, are made with yeast.

cracker bread 2Not a super-traditional recipe, the one I made. There’s cumin in there, and lots of interesting seeds. It’s a far cry from the rye, salt, water that mixture the sixteenth-century Swedish peasant would have used. That’s the thing I’m discovering: the most authentic, most traditional version of a recipe is most often made out of nothing but the very simple staples of the poor. Sometimes it’s more fun to raid the spice rack.

These are more difficult to make than you’d think. You have to roll them out super-thin, watching carefully for big seeds that will tear a hole in your delicate film of dough. Then you have to bake them just long enough so the chewiness is gone and but the crackers haven’t burnt.

cracker bread 3


3 thoughts on “Bread 23: knäckebröd from Sweden

  1. I totally understand your feeling about pictures… honestly I am quite bored with food photography and most often I don’t share my breads/recipes because of this. cheers to your real kitchen pictures, it could be the beginning of a new blogging era.
    yes, that recipe is not traditional but probably cumin has been now used for a while in these Northern areas… not all the seeds though.
    so nice to find your blog, this is a fascinating project you have which resembles much my attitude and interests, I will be following you closely.

  2. by the Romans? interesting, I believed it got popular only in Northern Europe (where I find it quite often in traditional recipes) but not in Southern Europe…. we have very little cumin in traditional Italian recipes, but I am sure 2000 years ago things were different 🙂

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