This Week's Adventure

A taste of the old country: Swedish knäckebröd

I make King Arthur’s sourdough crackers pretty much every time I feed my starter. Fresh out of the oven, they’re possibly my favorite snack ever. Unfortunately, they’re not in the The Baker’s Companion, but several other cracker recipes are. Today, I tried their Swedish knäckebröd.

Sweden has its share of traditional baked goods, and several variations are represented in TBC. My mom’s grandmother was a second-generation Swedish immigrant, so I was interested in trying some Swedish recipes.

I recently asked my mom if she remembered her grandma ever making any traditional Swedish baked goods. She said that though she made pies and cookies all the time, there was no particular recipe she knew to be a family tradition.

I guess my baking heritage is limited to my dad’s peanut butter cookie recipe.

 

This recipe isn’t entirely traditional anyway, since it’s made with whole wheat rather than rye flour, and also has some sesame seeds on top, a KAF-added touch. But it was a fun little experiment, turning out kind of like an extra-crunchy, savory version of a graham cracker.

The recipe starts with your yeast being activated with some sugar water, combining your milk and melted butter, and mixing those together. This is added to the dry ingredients, and you knead.

mixing dough collage.jpg
Top left: cold milk and melted butter makes cool little granules when mixed. It is definitely not necessary for this recipe. Lower right, just checking on my yeast foaming activity. Other corners: the difference in five minutes of kneading.

The dry ingredients also feature a little baking soda. I wasn’t sure why a recipe would need both yeast and a chemical leavener, especially for a crisp flat bread. I didn’t think any of the ingredients were particularly acidic (though if you want to believe random sites found through Googling, a chart here says whole wheat flour is pretty acidic).

Kneading this was nice. The texture was a little rough at first from the whole wheat, but also silky from the butter. It was soft, but not sticky, and I quickly realized I wouldn’t need my bench scraper to knead. The dough then had a five-minute rest, and no rise.

0517181850.jpg
Rolled, seeded, docked, and scored.

This recipe has you roll out the dough on the back of a pan to bake, something I’d never done before, but it definitely seems practical compared to rolling it out on a counter and transporting it. The suggested pan size is 13×18, but I only have 11×17. I considered rolling out a chunk of dough on a small pan to make these as thin as they were supposed to be, but decided that math-ing out how much dough I would need to divide was too complicated (I was hungry).

Rotating the pans halfway through baking, I got some nicely golden, crunchy, lightly buttery cracker slabs. Husband said they go great with his egg-tuna salad. Me, I liked them with sliced meat and cheese.

cracker collage.jpg

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