The New Nordic
Simon Bajada

These staple breads are presented at the table during every significant Swedish meal. The top surface is always more undulated than the base and is called the ‘rich man’s side’ because, when you spread it, it gathers more butter in the nooks and crannies. One of knäckerbröd’s best friends is pickled herring along with sliced egg, fish roe from a tube and cucumber, or simply with butter and a good sharp cheese.


Quantity Ingredient
20g fresh yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup or treacle
270ml cold water
400g plain flour
120g coarse wholegrain rye flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon dried dill, (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
100g sunflower seeds


  1. Crumble the yeast into a large bowl and mix with the golden syrup or treacle and water. Add the remaining ingredients, apart from the sunflower seeds, with 1 teaspoon salt and bring together into a dough. Knead the dough for 2 minutes then cover the bowl in a clean tea towel and let it sit at room temperature for 40 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Divide the dough into 6 even-sized amounts and roll each one into a ball. Dust with some extra rye flour, then roll out each ball as thinly as possible. They should be at least 20 cm in diameter, but be careful not to tear the dough. Stretching the dough a little like how you would for pizza dough helped me to get them a little thinner.
  3. Roll on a sprinkle of sunflower seeds so they embed themselves in the dough. Traditionally, notched rolling pins are then used to texture the surface of the breads, but these are hard to come by so if you don’t have one, use the back of a fork instead.
  4. Use a small glass or cookie cutter (no more than 5 cm) to cut a hole from the middle. This helps to cook the bread evenly all over. Bake the cuttings too: you can snack on these.
  5. Place the breads on baking trays lined with baking paper and cook in the oven for 5 minutes. If you own perforated baking trays this will help get them lovely and crisp, as they will stop any moisture building up under the breads. When the thinner areas have developed some lovely golden colours, they are ready.
  6. Remove from the oven and hang on string or hooks to cool. Depending on how indulgent you are feeling, serve with butter on the side and the topping of your choice!
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