Monday, 20 February 2017

Norwegian crispbread

It's been way too hot. On days where the only way to survive is to seek out a cinema or shopping centre and its air-conditioning, on nights where the temperature doesn't drop below 30 degrees (86F), I can't even contemplate turning on the stove. In such times, these crispbreads have been my salvation. Topped with whatever you like - blue cheese and pear paste, goats' cheese and salmon, butter and Vegemite - they offer up something substantial and stunning for times when you don't even have the energy to eat. And they conjure up cold with their Scandi sensibility when you're in the middle of a stinking Sydney summer.

Norwegian crispbread (Knekkebrød)
Adapted from the blog North Wild Kitchen

The recipe below is for two sheet pans' worth - about 40 individual crispbreads. I generally halve the quantity when I'm making them, but you don't have to - they'll last for weeks and weeks if you keep them in an airtight container.

135 g (1 cup) rye flour
135 g (1 1/2 cups) quick cooking oats
25g  (1/2 cup) wheat bran
80g  (1/2 cup) sesame seeds
60g  (1/2 cup) pumpkin seeds
60g (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
45g  (1/4 cup) linseed/flax seeds
1/2 tablespoon honey
Pinch of salt
2.4 cups water

Preheat the oven to 350° F / 175° C. Cover two sheet pans completely with baking paper.

In a large measuring cup, mix the honey with a little bit of warm water until diluted. Add more water until the mixture is 2.4 cups in total.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, oats, wheat bran, seeds and a pinch of salt. Slowly add in the honey water until a wet paste forms. You may need to wait a minute or two until the flours and oats soak up more of the water and you get the right consistency.
Pour half of the mixture over one of the sheet pans and spread evenly and thinly, to the very edges - use the back of a spatula, or take plastic wrap over the top of the mixture, pressing down and spreading to get an even thickness across the sheet pan. Do the same for the rest of the mixture and the other sheet pan.
Place both sheet pans in the oven. After 10 minutes, take them out and cut gently into rectangles with a pizza cutter or knife. This makes it easier to separate them when they are fully baked.
Place the sheets pans back in oven and bake for another 55-60 minutes, alternating the top pan with the bottom one once through the cooking time. Occasionally open the oven door to release steam. Check the crispbread towards the end of the cooking time and look for them being dry and brittle with light browning on the edges.
When finished, break the breads apart gently and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

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