So here I am. Back from holidays and happily baking again. On my return I had a lovely surprise: I’ve got into the Daring Bakers group so I could finally participate to the monthly challenge. There was very little time left and I was glad that the challenge was about crunchy flat bread, in one word: crakers. Or knäckebröd, as they call them over here.
In Sweden, there is a very old tradition for knäckebröd, for the Vikings were essentially fishermen (and explorers) who needed bread that would hold for weeks, sometimes months, while sailing away in search of fish and adventure. Having the men almost always gone, besides making Swedish women so strong willed and independent, made also them to create amazingly tasty and forever crunchy crackers. Maybe in the hope that this wonderful bread would have preserved their men healthy and would have favored their willingness to come back to their crafty home bakers.
For the Daring Bakers I selected two seed-based knäckebröd recipes, one which uses yeast, rye flour, and a little extra time, and the other totally gluten-free which can be done in no time whatsoever. I like them both, but in different ways, as different is the emotion they give to the palate. Did I write emotion? Yes, I am totally emotional when it comes to savoring food, especially when that food is bread.
MIXED SEEDS KNÄCKEBRÖD WITH CARAWAY (freely adapted from Allt Om Mat)
you need: 25 g fresh yeast (or 12 g instant yeast), 350 g (about 1 and 1/3 cups) water, 1 cup mixed seeds (I used: black sesame seeds, “regular” sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds), 1 tablespoon whole caraway seeds, 1/3 cups (1 dl) light rye flour, 2 cups (5 dl) bread flour, 1/3 cup (1 dl) whole-purpose flour, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
how to: dissolve the yeast in the water and add the cumin seeds. Let rest for 15 minutes. Add all the other ingredients (salt last) and knead for 6-7 minutes at low speed (or about 10 by hand). Let rest covered for about 45 minutes. Form 18 dough balls (about the size of a big egg) and flatten each of them as much as possible.
Start baking a few rounds at a time at maximum heat. They are ready when they are slightly browned and look crunchy (about 10 minutes). Remember to keep the other balls covered while you cook the previous batch.
If you have one, you can finish by further flattening the dough with a specific knäckebröd tool, but it is totally optional. Happy I finally got to use mine.
For the second cracker of the challenge I chose a knäckebröd which is less traditional and that I first got to taste at my favorite salad place. I was so obsessed with it that I got the cook to reveal the recipe – but only after a little courting. Too bad this type of knäcke became immediately popular, and soon after getting the “secret” recipe I found it printed on a local food magazine. And now the Swedish net is full of different versions of this super-seeded cracker. But I did keep a special ingredient from the “original”, which I haven’t seen in any of the posted recipes so far: black sesame seeds.
GLUTEN-FREE KNÄCKEBRÖD WITH BLACK SESAME
you need: 30 g (1/5 cup or 1/2 dl) black sesame seeds, 30 g (1/5 cup or 1/2 dl) sesame seeds, 60 g (1/3 cup or 1 dl) sunflower seeds, 120 g (3/4 cup or 2 dl) corn flour, 50 g (1/5 cup or 1/2 dl) good vegetable oil, 250 g (1 cup or 2 and 1/2 dl) boiling water, 1/3 teaspoon salt.
how to: mix all the ingredients in a bowl and pour the boiling water on them. Mix well and pour on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Spread evenly and flat. Bake for 45 minutes at 150 degrees (Celsius) then break in pieces and bake for another 1/2 hour at 200 degrees (Celsius).
CONSIDERATIONS: I am glad I had the excuse to finally bake two of my favorite Swedish breads. Needless to say that these crackers taste amazingly good and that they are also good healthwise. And they could last for weeks. The only problem is… it is very hard to make them last for even just a few hours. Oh yeah, they go away like chips!
CONSIDERAZIONI: Questi “crackers” svedesi sono incredibilmente buoni e anche super-salutari. E potrebbero durare per settimane… peccato che in realta’ vadano via in poche ore … sono buoni come le patatine! (ma fanno mooooolto meno male, anzi fanno proprio bene!). Ricette in italiano coming soon.
This bread will participate to the weekly collection of yeastspotting. Thank you Susan!