After being tired of not finding great Knäckebröd, Scandinavian Crisp Bread in the stores around my neighborhood in East Village, I started to make my own. Traditionally they are made as round wafers with a hole in the middle so you could store them hanging on a stick in the roof. They are often made with rye flour and rolled out with a special rolling pin with knobs. However I usually don’t use this tool and I like my home made knäckebröd as small crackers flavored with either or a combination of some: caraway seeds, fennel seeds, sesame and rosemary. My recipe is based on Alice Brax knäckebröd recipe.
25 grams fresh yeast
1 tablespoon honey
200 ml (almost 1 cup) kefir or yogurt
400 ml (1 2/3 cup) water
600 ml (2 ½ cup) rye flour
about 600 ml (2 ½ cup) regular flour
100-200 ml ( ½ – 1 cup) regular flour
caraway seeds, toasted and crushed
fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
sesame seeds, toasted
dried Rosemary, crushed
flaky sea salt
Warm the yogurt with the water to 37°C (100°F). Dissolve the yeast in some of the warm yogurt mixture. Add the rest of the liquid and blend in honey and rye and regular flour. The dough will be quite sticky. Cover the bowl and keep at room temperature in a non-drafty area overnight or for at least 6 hours.
When the dough is ready, work in just enough of regular flour. Knead the dough on a floured counter top until the dough is smooth. Preheat the oven to 225°C (435°F).
Divide the dough into 15-20 equal parts. With your fingers sprinkle either caraway, fennel, sesame or rosemary together with flaky sea salt over each part and roll them into balls. Use a rolling pin and some regular flour to roll out every ball of dough very thinly. Using a cookie cutter or a sharp knife, cut into approximately 5 cm (2 inch) shapes. Place as many as you can fit on a greased baking tin. Bake the crackers immediately for about 8-10 minutes in the middle of the oven. depending on your oven you may have to turn them around to get nice all around color. When finished let the breads cool on an oven rack or a clean table. Keep the crackers in sealed containers.
This recipe was first published at Honest Cooking, 21 September 2011
Also check out my Wild Fennel Knäckebröd I baked in Sicily, with sourdough and Perciasacchi semola.
Every Autumn about this time my twin sister Anna goes out to pick rose hips for her yearly Rose Hip Sherry. This is an exceptionally delightful treat for being a homemade spirit. My sister has done this for a while, so her wine cabinet has become full of different vintages of Rose Hip Sherry. Sometimes I have had the honor to be part of her sherry tastings, which she has after an excellent dinner. It really is a fantastic finish to a good meal and I must say the sherry just gets better as it ages.
The sherry also works in cooking and Anna says that a dash of Rose Hip Sherry in a Chanterelle sauce is absolutely heavenly! Sound fantastic to me!
2 liter (8 ½ cups) rose hips (the long narrow fruits, avoid the rounder ones)
1 ½ kg (3 1/3 lb) sugar
3 liter (12 2/3 cups) water
25 gr (7/8 oz) wine maker’s yeast (or fresh yeast and it might even work w/ instant yeast)
Roughly trim the rose hips but don’t rinse them with water as the surface contains natural yeast that are useful in the process. Make a sugar syrup by heating up the sugar and the water. When the sugar has dissolved let it cool. Use some of the liquid to dissolve the yeast. Let the yeast start (there will be bubbles on the surface) before mixing with the rest of the sugar liquid and the rose hips in a bucket or a glass carboy. Cover the jar and let the wine sit still for three months. At this time the liquid should look clear and the rose hips have fallen to the bottom of the jar. Tap the sherry into dark bottles (for example on 33 cl (12 fl oz) beer bottles). To avoid the sediment at the bottom Anna recommends to spoon up the sherry instead of pouring (can be hard with a carboy). Seal with a suitable cork or cap. Let the sherry stand for at least one more month before drinking. If your are patient enough to store it, or at least with some of it, my sister thinks it’s best to drink after 5 years.
I have been so good this summer making my own bread and jams. Unfortunately this great habit only lasted for 3 months!
100 ml (½ cup) linseed
3 tablespoons olive oil
500 ml (just over 2 cups) kefir or yogurt
50 gram (1 ¾ oz) fresh yeast (or other)
2-3 tablespoons roasted and crushed caraway seeds
200 ml (7/8 cup) roasted sunflower seeds
1-2 teaspoons salt
1-2 tablespoons dark syrup
400 ml (1 ¾ cups) rye flour
300 ml (1 1/4 cup) wholegrain rye flour
about 700 ml (3 cup) wheat flour
Soak the linseeds in some water. Heat up kefir and the olive oil to 37° C (almost 100° F). Dissolve the fresh yeast (or follow the description on the package) with some of the warm kefir mixture. Add the rest together with salt, syrup, caraway seeds, sunflower seeds and the soaked linseeds.
Start to work in the rye flour and the wholegrain flour. Finally you add as much of the wheat flour as you can until the dough is smooth and doesn’t stick to the edge of the bowl. Cover the dough with a towel and let rise for one hour in a warm and draft-free place.
After about an hour or two, when the dough has doubled in size, place it on your counter top and knead in more regular flour until flexible and firm. Form two loaves and place them on a baking tin. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes at 175-200° C (350-400° F) depending on what kind of oven you are using. When the bread is done place the baked breads on a rack and cover. I know it can be hard to resist new baked bread, but they should rest for at least a half day so the taste can develop to its best.