This week my forthcoming book, Smörgåsbord: The Art of Swedish Breads and Savory Treats (Ten Speed Press) is on its way to the printer and will hit the bookshelves on September 26. Yay!
The book is a celebration of the Swedish tradition Smörgåsbord which is a festive buffet with dishes like cured herring, gravlax, cold cuts, pickles, salads, and meatballs. This table with its well balanced flavors of sweet, sour, and salt is an excellent display of Nordic cuisine.
As the word Smörgåsbord is composed of two words; smörgås (open-faced-sandwich) and bord (table), the dishes are always served with several different types of bread, butter, and cheese. A smörgåsbord is most often set up in a separate room and the table can sometimes be several meters long and consist of over 100 dishes.
At a time when we have too many things on our minds, it’s hard to find the time to prepare a whole smörgåsbord. The intention of this book is to inspire you to make smaller portions as festive starters or individual smörgås bites. Every dish in the book includes pairing suggestions so you can easily create your own personal smörgåsbord spreads. The dishes can be as simple as deviled eggs, or more ambitious with freshly baked rye bread paired with hot smoked salmon, homemade pickles, and marinated mustard seeds.
Thanks to my editor Kaitlin Ketchum for believing in this project. It’s always a pleasure to work with you and everyone at Ten Speed Press.
If you like, you can already now pre-order the book in several bookstores online: Random House, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, Amazon (US), and Amazon (UK). The book is also listed at the Swedish bookstores Bokus and Adlibris.
Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break (my first book)
Smörgåsbord chapter pattern on fabric at Spoonflower
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.
for one loaf
250 ml (1 cup) unbleached wheat flour
100 ml (0.4 cup) coarse wheat flour
150 ml (0.6) rye flour
125 ml (½ cup) crushed rye seeds or oat seeds
50 ml (¼ cup) carrots
50 ml (¼) chopped sunflower seeds
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
500 ml (2 cups) kefir or yogurt)
2-3 table spoons molasses or dark syrup
Mix the dry flours together with bicarbonate, salt, sunflower seeds and carrots. Carefully mix everything with kefir and molasses. The dough should be sticky. Poor it into a greased baking tin. Bake it for about 1 hour and 40 minutes at 175°C (345 F).
This bread is great with my east village herring and vodka.
See also my post about How to Make Kefir.