Tunnbröd

Tunnbröd

By
From
The New Nordic
Makes
16
Photographer
Simon Bajada

These ‘thin breads’ vary enormously. They can be soft or crisp, and can be made from any combination of wheat, barley and rye. Even the rolling pin used to make them can alter their appearance and texture. Also known as Arctic breads, they share a history with crispbreads, originating from the northern Nordic regions. So far up in this cold climate, wheat is hard to grow, and only low-gluten grains can flourish: it simply isn’t possible to make breads that can rise.

Soft tunnbröd, as described in this recipe, is commonly used to wrap up fillings – as you might a tortilla. In the photograph, I have used it to wrap up a mixture of gravlax, pickled cucumber, lettuce and crème fraîche. A popular Swedish dish uses these breads to envelop mashed potato and fish. Crisp tunnbröd differs from the more common crispbread in being thinner, more compact and containing fewer air bubbles. However, it is served the same way: with almost all meals, simply spread with butter. Traditionally, though, tunnbröd is eaten with surströmming, a fermented herring, which is something of a national dish in Sweden. It is not given much mention in this book for one reason: the taste is not worth enduring the smell you experience on opening a tin.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500ml full-cream milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons dried instant yeast
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed using a mortar and pestle
55g caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
90g wholegrain rye flour
125g graham flour
450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Method

  1. Warm the milk and butter in a small saucepan just until it starts to steam. Do not let it simmer. If you have a kitchen thermometer, it should be about 80°C.
  2. Combine the warm milk and butter mixture, yeast, honey, fennel seeds, sugar and salt in a bowl. Mix well and set aside for a couple of minutes.
  3. Alternate adding small amounts of the flours and bicarbonate of soda, mixing slowly to form a dough. If the dough is a little wet, add a little more plain flour; it should just come away from the side of the bowl without sticking.
  4. Knead until smooth and elastic, then cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise at room temperature for 45 minutes.
  5. Divide the dough into 16 even-sized amounts and roll into balls. Dust your work surface with flour and then roll out each ball as thinly as possible without tearing the dough. They should be about 10–15 cm wide. Prick one side of each all over with a fork.
  6. Heat a dry non-stick frying pan to over a medium-high heat and cook the breads one at a time for a minute on each side; they should ‘freckle’ with small brown dots. If the bread is crunchy, then you have cooked it for too long so cook the next one for a little less time. Stack the cooked discs underneath a clean slightly damp tea towel so that they can steam and not dry out. Once cooled, they should resemble soft tortillas.
Tags:
Nordic
Scandinavian
Scandi
Swedish
Sweden
Denmark
Danish
Norway
Norwegian
Finland
Finnish
Iceland
Icelandic
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