Knækbrød! It was about time I prepared this recipe that I have been dying to try for 18 years!
I came across these famous little crispbreads while expecting my second son, Ruben.
Blame it on the hormones, pregnancy cravings are not a myth! I ate knækbrød with all sorts of toppings when I was pregnant, with a preference for salmon gravlax and tarama. Until today, I have almost never come back from the grocery store without some in my shopping cart.
Knækbrød is a staple of Danish cuisine, whether consumed with sweet or savory toppings, depending on the time people eat it. You can find this crispbread across Scandinavia as well as in Germany and in the Netherlands.
It is called knekkebrød in Norway, knäckebröd in Sweden, nakkileipä in Finland, Knäckebrot in Germany, and knäckebröd in the Netherlands. Besides the many seeds, it contains mainly rye flour. It is a staple that has long been considered the poor man’s diet.
We find the first traces of this crispbread in Sweden around 500 AD.
Originally, they were made round with a hole in the middle so that the breads could be stored for a long time, as they were threaded on long sticks hanging from the ceiling. The traditional recipe as we know it today was invented about 500 years ago.
Traditionally, knækbrød was baked twice a year, at the end of the summer, just after harvest and again in the spring. Today, the round shape gave in to the rectangular shape and a few international consumer brands giants are responsible for mass producing it. At the top, the famous brand that was originally Swedish but is now Italian, Wasabröd. Then comes English giant Ryvita, and American-based Ry-Krisp.
The recipe traditionally consists mainly of rye flour, with the addition of spelt flour, salt and water. Recently, a few spices as well as cereals and seeds of all kinds have been added to the original recipe.
Traditionally, the dough was kneaded with snow or ice that evaporated during cooking and thus allowed to get the crispness that the bread is known for. Today, the dough just contains a large amount of cold water and must be kneaded as little as possible to obtain a crisp and crumbly result. Knækbrød is only baked for a few minutes, at temperatures generally between 400 and 480 F.
I was very pleasantly surprised by this recipe. The bread was very quick to make, with a long shelf life, delicious and clearly economic as store-bought knækbrød is generally very expensive and typically no more than five to seven crackers per package.
You should definitely give it a try!
- 1¼ cup rye flour
- ½ cup spelt flour
- ¼ cup instant or quick rolled oats
- 2½ tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1½ tablespoon buckwheat groats
- 1½ tablespoon flaxseed
- 4 tablespoons sunflower seeds , roasted and salted
- 7 tablespoons pumpkin seeds , roasted and salted
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup water
- ⅓ cup sunflower oil
Preheat oven to 410 F.
Mix all the ingredients until obtaining a smooth dough. The dough must not be kneaded too long.
Divide the dough into three portions. Roll out the dough thinly between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Remove the top parchment paper and place on a baking sheet.
With a sharp knife, cut rectangles the size you'd like in the dough.
Bake for 20 minutes. To obtain crispier knækbrød, increase cooking time by a few minutes.
Cool completely on wire rack and store in a well-sealed metal box.