Graham has always loved crispbread and although we eat it in Germany, too (knäckebrot), it is very popular here in Sweden and in northern Europe generally. This is a fairly typical variety that you can buy in the stores, made with rye and spelt (or whole wheat). It’s a very dry, crisp cracker that stores spectacularly and will last for weeks, if not months.
This version is made using yeast, so that you can make it year-round using a simpler method than the very old recipes. Since I don’t have a crispbread punch, and you probably don’t either, the crackers are cut into circles or rectangles by hand. They can be made in any shape or size and these are just the most common.
The circular crackers are excellent but they are formed in this way because people often used to have a rod above the oven to dry them on – some old houses still have this – so you might find it easier to cut them into another shape for ease of storage. I do prefer this shape as I find that they are more crisp than the smaller rectangles.
I haven’t tested this with sourdough, but you can try my sourdough crackers made with rye and spelt instead. If you want more rye flour recipes, try this sourdough rye bread or overnight dark rye bread.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Rye flour: this can be any type of rye flour, even sifted. I always use whole-grain that I mill at home so I’m not sure of the exact protein content, but it doesn’t really matter.
- Spelt flour: pictured is whole-grain, but you can use light spelt, plain white flour, or whole wheat flour.
- Yeast: fresh or dried, traditional or instant, it doesn’t matter for this recipe.
Step by Step
Step 1: mix the water and yeast in a large bowl.
Step 2: add the dry ingredients and mix into a stiff dough.
Step 3: cover and set aside to rise for an hour. The dough will be a bit puffy but not doubled in size.
Step 4: roll out the dough to about 1-2mm (1/32 in.) and cut into desired shapes.
Step 5: place the shaped crackers onto lined baking sheets.
Step 6: bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp.
There are special wooden crispbread containers you can buy, especially secondhand, that are specifically made to store the crackers, but we don’t have one (and don’t have the space for it, either). If you really like crispbread it may be worth investing in one as they are both lovely and practical.
Note that the crackers are very dry, and meant to be. They’re not excellent eaten plain and should be topped with something – that is often cheese, but we typically eat them with peanut butter or another nut butter and honey or jam (as I currently am while writing this). Crispbread is good with soup too.
The crackers might still be a little bit soft on the bottom near the middle when they come out of the oven, but they will harden as they cool.
How to Store
Storage: keep in a large container or even in a paper bag for several weeks. Note that if storing in a bag, they will become stale due to the ambient humidity. The crackers will simply become more dry over time rather than spoiling, but if you see any sign of mould, toss them.
Freezing: I haven’t tried freezing these and don’t see the point as they last so long as is.
- Use your hands: this is a stiff dough and difficult to mix with a spoon. I recommend mixing with your hands to ensure that the flour is evenly incorporated.
- Rotate the sheet if needed: if your oven bakes unevenly (like mine does) rotate the baking sheet halfway through the baking time to ensure an even colour.
- Bake in batches: this recipe is about half of what’s typically made in one go but you’ll still probably need to fill four baking sheets. With a fan-forced oven, that can be two rounds of baking. If it’s conventional, you’ll have to bake each sheet individually.
- Don’t worry about bubbles: the crackers should bubble up a bit during baking, that’s normal. The later batches will probably show more bubbles as they’ve risen a little longer. If you’re not seeing any at all, the dough is probably too thick.
- Reuse the paper: there’s no need to replace the parchment paper between batches. I use mine until it’s falling apart, at least a dozen times, before composting (it is specifically compostable parchment paper).
More Ancient Grain Recipes
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Swedish Crispbread (Rye Knäckebröd)
- 250 ml water room temperature
- 2 teaspoons dried yeast 25 grams fresh (½ a cube)
- 225 grams rye flour
- 225 grams spelt flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Add the water to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast into it. Stir until dissolved.250 ml water, 2 teaspoons dried yeast
- Add the rye flour, spelt flour, and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon or mix with your hands until well combined.225 grams rye flour, 225 grams spelt flour, 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Cover and set aside to rise for one hour, until puffy but not significantly risen.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F). Divide the dough into pieces to make it easier to roll out, then place onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to 1-2mm (1/32 in.) thick.
- Cut the rolled out dough into your desired shapes. Pictured are 20cm (8 in.) that I traced with a lid. Don't forget to cut out the centre hole if making round crackers.
- Transfer the cut-out crackers onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper and poke all over with the tines of a fork.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Repeat until all of the dough has been used. Cool the baked crispbread on a wire rack before storing in a sealed container.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
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