Sunday, December 25, 2011

Swedish Rye Knäckebröd

Every Christmas season we prepare a Swedish Smörgasbrod, a tradition from my husband's family. This year, with a fresh supply of rye flour from Lonesome Whistle Farm, I was inspired to make our own knäckebröd or rye crackers for our Swedish feast.

I found a wide variety of recipes for knäckebröd on the web, and put together a version with a buttermilk starter sweetened with honey and lightened with a bit of yeast. To make the round crackers, we shaped the dough into a log, sliced it into disks, and rolled them flat.

Then my son cut out the centers, which we read were for cooling the crackers on a wooden spoon,

and my daughter made a pattern of fork pricks designed for breaking the crackers into radial sections.

The spoon cooling process required some precarious balancing, but the final crackers were a delicious component of our Swedish Smörgasbord of:

Knäckebröd (rye crackers)
Fyllda ägg (stuffed eggs)
Köttbullar (Swedish meatballs)
Inlagd Sill (pickled herring)
Inlagda Gurkor (pickled cucumbers)
smoked salmon and smoked trout
Bruna Bönor (brown beans, delicious prepared with Lonesome Whistle Farm's cranberry beans. Cook beans in water until tender. Mix in salt to taste, 1 tsp mustard, 3 Tbsp molasses, and 3 Tbsp cider vinegar and simmer for another half hour for the flavors to meld.)

Swedish Rye Knäckebröd
1 cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
2 cup rye flour
1 cup whole wheat flour, and more for rolling out dough

1. In a glass measuring cup, microwave the butter until it melts. Add the buttermilk and microwave a little longer until the mixture is warm but not scalding. Stir in the honey and yeast. Let sit for about 5 minutes until frothy.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the salt and a cup of wheat flour. Pour in the milk mixture and stir to combine. Now stir in the rye flour in several stages until you have a firm dough. Gather together the dough and knead gently into ball. Put into an oiled bowl, cover, and let sit for at least an hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a cylinder and then cut into eight disks. Roll each disk into a thin circle. Use a shot glass or cookie cutter to cut out a hole in the center (you can bake the holes as little crackers). Transfer the disk to a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Use a fork to prick all over including radial spokes along which the crackers can break.

4. Bake the crackers in batches for about ten minutes until they brown up along the edges. Cool on a wooden spoon threaded through the center holes.

Other recipes for locally grown grains


Renee said...

Wonderful! You have so many unique recipes I've never heard of! Merry Christmas!

Elly said...

Yum! We had pickled herring on Christmas day and could have used these crackers!