Scandinavian seeded crispbreads made with minimal flour, some salt, oil, water and sesame, flax, poppy and sunflower seeds (and a few aromatic ones too) are a crunchy, delicate platform for butter, cheese, pickled herring and anything at all savoury. They are a superb crunchy accompaniment to soup, too. Versions of knækbrød are eaten all over Denmark, Sweden and Norway and considered essential foods. High in protein, healthy fats and fiber, these are a near-perfect snack.
Don’t make these crispbreads. Really, don’t. Not because they aren’t good. No, don’t make them because a recent, highly-scientific study of three people says they are highly addictive. Eating one makes you eat more, and more, and more.
It seems to be a gateway snack. Sufferers find they also crave dips and butter, jam and Marmite, soups and cheese. They will go to great lengths to eat them, including baking them when dinner needs to be made, or even when everyone is completely full and needs no. more. food.
I was inspired to make these lovely, delicate rye and oat Scandinavian-style crispbreads from a recent trip to Copenhagen with my very dear friend and surface design goddess, Niki.
We stayed at the very hip Hotel SP34, located centrally on the sweetest, trendiest street in the area, that also happened to serve the finest continental breakfast I’ve had the pleasure of eating.
Every morning was a fresh and wholesome selection of vegetables, fruits, local meats and cheeses, the best Bircher muesli ever (served in Weck jars. Love a Weck.), flaky buttery pillowy croissants, sturdy rye bread, thick white tangy butter, soft boiled eggs, crazy amounts of unusual condiments, tiny homemade fruity cakes, and addictive crispbreads. There was a lot of Instagramming around us. I refrained, for the most part.
Of course I have had crispbreads before. My blogging friend and new mum Katie (author of the fab nutrition-minded muffinmyth) had sent me some really rather fab ones from Stockholm; I eked those out for as long as possible. But I have had nothing like these seeded, more-ish Danish crackers. My version (and SP34’s) are too frangible and seed-heavy to be commercially made, so homemade is the only option.
Naturally I was curious to know the recipe. When I asked, the morning baker replied modestly, in perfect English, “oh it’s just wheat flour, olive oil, seeds, water and salt”. Upon my return I did some sleuthing on the Interwebs and found that they often have rye and oats instead of wheat. I went for this option. I also opted for sunflower, sesame, pumpkin and flaxseeds. So far, so normal. But, after a couple of increasingly more thinly rolled batches, I got daring and threw in aromatic seeds, seaweed and a hint of chilli. And here I will stay. I think it’s a keeper.
But really, don’t make them.
Scandinavian Multi-Seed Crispbreads
Scandinavian crispbreads made with essentially minimal flour, some salt, oil, water and sesame, flax, poppy and sunflower seeds (and a few aromatic ones in this recipe) are a crunchy, delicate platform for butter, cheese, pickled herring and anything at all savoury. They are superb crunchy accompaniment to soup, too. Take time to roll them as thinly as you can, patching inevitable tears with your fingers as needed. It really makes a difference. They will keep for quite awhile once cooled completely and stored in an air-tight container. This recipe is easily doubled. xx
100g rolled oats
100g rye flour or wheat flour
50g each flaxseeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
25g poppy seeds
2 tbsp kombu or dulse flakes (dried seaweed) – optional
2 tsp fennel seeds, cracked – optional
1 tsp cumin seeds – optional
1 tsp kalonji (Nigella seeds/black onion seeds) – optional
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes, crushed
3/4 tsp flaky salt + extra for optional topping
50ml good olive oil
150ml warm water (a dribble or so more if absolutely necessary)
1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C (fan)/350F. Take out two large baking trays and a roll of parchment paper.
2. Add all of the dried ingredients to a very large, spacious bowl, stir with your hands, then tip in the oil and water. Stir very well. Squidge with your hands if needs be. The dough is very thick.
3. Take three sheets of parchment paper and place the baking trays on them and pull up on all sides to form the shape of the trays. This will be your rolling guide. Half the dough and place on one piece, topping with one of the others. Roll as thinly as you can, patching and shaping as you go. With practice and daring it gets easier to obtain a uniform thinness. Peel off the top paper and lay the dough with the underneath paper on one of the trays. Lightly score into pieces with a sharp knife, if you wish. Carry on with the remaining dough. Sprinkle over flaky salt if you like.
4. Place the trays in the oven and bake the soon-to-be crackers for 15 minutes. Swap the trays around and bake for a further 15 minutes. Do another swap and bake for 10 to 15 more minutes, until quite golden. Let cool and break into pieces, or crack along the scored lines with a heavy knife. Store in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.
Variation: If you want to pair this with both sweet and savoury foods, why not leave out the optional ingredients and add 2 tsp of maple syrup? It doesn’t make this sweet but it will make it more agreeable for slathering with jam.
Serving suggestions: pickled herring (traditional), soft cheese, butter, pate (traditional), hummus (here is my favourite hummus recipe) and other dips, with soup, topped with hard-boiled eggs and radishes, etc.
** If you are reading this from the website Easy Low Cal Recipes, this is published without my permission – as are all other posts of mine on this site. **