Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
A medieval staple from rural Sweden, knäckebröd is a simple sourdough crispbread made from coarse pumpernickel (whole rye) flour, rye sourdough starter, water, a pinch of salt (I prefer miso for its health benefits), and if you like, a sprinkling of seeds. Once upon a time, knäckebröd was baked in enormous quantities just twice annually and hung through their handy central holes on poles under the rafters or above the hearth. It is rolled quite thinly and indented with a kruskavel, a notched rolling pin that prevents air pockets. Homemade knäckebröd is absolutely delicious, crispy and light with fabulous nutty rye flavor. Serve plain or top with vegan filmjölk (soy yogurt), strained into a spreadable cream cheese, and thinly sliced vegetables or fruits.
Prep time 8 hours to ferment dough plus 1 hour
Bake time 10-12 minutes
Makes eight 8-inch crispbreads
Handy equipment: a digital scale; a kruskavel rolling pin or pizza docker or fork; a 1 3/4” or 4 cm round cutter or glass; a bristle pastry brush; a pizza peel; a large baking stone; a spray bottle filled with water
200 grams (about 1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons) whole rye flour (see hint below)
140 milliliters (about 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) spring water
40 grams (about 2 tablespoons) active rye sourdough starter
7 grams (about 1 teaspoon) shiro (mild white) miso
10 grams (about4 teaspoons) seeds, like fennel, anise, caraway
Hint: If you mill your flour, mill it moderately coarsely. I use setting #4 on my Mockmill 200.
- Two days before baking, start feeding your rye sourdough starter daily so that it is active and bubbly.
- The night before you bake, mix the flour, water and rye sourdough starter. Knead for a few minutes to amalgamate. The consistency should be a little moist and sticky. Adjust with flour or water as needed.
- Wait 15 to 30 minutes, then knead in the miso paste, distributing it well.
- Cover and leave on your counter to ferment overnight, about 8 hours. The consistency will not have changed greatly.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C and place a large baking stone on the middle rack. If you don’t have a stone, insert a large rimless baking sheet, lined with parchment.
- Roll the dough into a thick snake and cut 8 equal pieces.
- Keeping the others well covered, roll out the first piece on a parchment-lined board, flipping it as you go, sprinkling rye flour as the dough begins to stick. Roll it as thin as you can, to about 1 mm or 1/16”.
- Sprinkle on your seeds of choice and roll them lightly to help them adhere.
- Now use a kruskavel to roll indentations across the dough’s surface. If you don’t have one, use a pizza docker or fork to perforate the knäckebröd well.
- Use your cutter or a glass to cut out a central hole. Bake it as well for a tasty cracker.
- Use a pastry brush to remove excess flour from the knäckebröd surface. Then slide it onto the peel and off the parchment. Transfer it to the oven and spritz the surface with water. Bake for 5 minutes; if the dough is firm enough, flip it over and spritz with water again. The spritzing is optional but does help crisp up the knäckebröd and enrich their color. The cut-outs will bake in less time, so keep an eye on them.
- Begin checking for doneness at 8 minutes. Remove the knäckebröd when it is firm, golden, and a lightly browned on its edges.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and repeat with the remaining dough.
- The knäckebröd remain nicely crispy, unwrapped on my countertop for days (that’s as long as they last in my house). They should freeze well.