It all started the week before Christmas. I was wandering around, mindlessly muttering the mantra that was the list inside my head. As I passed the bakery section I was muttering ‘rye flour’, ‘yeast’, ‘rye flour’, ‘yeast’. Bob the friendly baker tapped me on the shoulder……. ‘would you like some fresh yeast?’. I immediately wondered what I would do with it. But gift horses came to mind and so I said yes. Please. Bob the baker gave me a little bag of fresh spongy yeast. It is years since I’ve used fresh yeast but it is so wonderful I think I shall never use dried yeast again. It just springs to life with a little warm milk and a little brown sugar. But I digress. There is no yeast in Knakerbrod.
I treated myself to Camilla Plum’s Scandinavian kitchen just before Christmas and have been drooling over it ever since. And conversations with Ingrid and Mark in Norway, plus the gravlax I made before Christmas (now long gone) have all been tending toward woody , resin like flavours, rye, nuts, spruce, herring, deer (no – not in January). Then as if by magic up sprang Annie’s version of Knakerbrod on Facebook, via her friend Inge.
David and Marion used to sell Knakerbrod in their wholefood shop (Beano’s) in the early 80s. I used to love eating it with Jarlsberg and gherkins.
Here’s Annie’s (well, Inge’s) recipe that she helpfully advises is measured out in a measuring jug.
100 ml oats
100 ml linseed
100 ml sesame seeds
100 ml sunflower seeds
100 ml pumpkin seeds.
200 ml wholemeal flour
100 ml oil( olive or rapeseed)
150 ml water
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
Mix it all together then turn out onto baking parchment. Put another piece of baking parchment on top and roll out as thin as you can. If you want to be authentic, cut a circle out of the centre so you can hang it on a wooden stick when cooked.
Heat the oven to 200F, slightly less if you have a fan oven. Peel off the top layer of parchment, and leaving the Knakerbrod on the lower layer, slide it onto a baking sheet. Mark it with a knife then bake in the centre of the oven for about 20 minutes until slightly brown on the outer edges. Remove from the heat and cool on the baking tray. Then snap into wedges along your mark-lines and store in an airtight tin.
A few days later and recovering from the Christmas lurgy I felt inclined toward more crispbread. Along the lines of the Swedish crispbread I ate on the harbourside in Stockholm – with herring, beetroot, horseradish and cucumber. I fell into Camilla Plum’s Scandinavian Kitchen and out came this Crispbread recipe.
1/4oz fresh yeast
1.75 cups warm water
1.25 cups rye flour
1.75 cups wholewheat flour
2 teasp coarse sea salt
1..75 cups sunflower seeds
2/3 cup sesame seeds
2 tbs agave syrup (Camilla uses honey)
Preheat the oven to 190C. Dissolve the yeast in the water, add the remaining ingredients and knead to a smooth dough. (I used the dough-hook on my Kenwood for about 5 minutes). Place a large piece of non-stick baking parchment on the work surface and flour thoroughly. Flour the top then cover with more baking parchment then roll out as thin as possible. Either cut into rounds or irregular shapes, remove the scraps, sprinkle the remaining shapes with more sesame seeds and slide the parchment containing the dough shapes onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly brown and crisp. Then turn the oven off, and leave them in the oven to get even crisper. Yummy scrummy. In my tummy.