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21

April 2016

April 21, 2016

Knekkebrød (Norwegian Crisp Bread)

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Norwegian knekkebrødA Norwegian breakfast and lunch is never complete without a slice of bread or a type of knekkebrød. These ‘crisp breads’ or ‘breaking breads’ which are flat and dry, resembling a cracker, probably originated in Scandinavia close to 500 years ago. Some sources say that crisp bread was a staple of the Vikings as they could store them for long periods of time. These crisp breads would have been baked on hot stones, while today’s knekkebrød is baked in the oven. Baking them in the oven is what makes these crisp breads so different from the Norwegian flatbrød, which is baked on a flat griddle, much like lefse.

Once considered a poor man’s diet, knekkebrød has become widely popular boasting a healthy lifestyle with numerous variants from slightly sweet to nutty to herby & salty. They are easy to make, forgiving, and require only a few ingredients, which can be interchanged depending on what you have available in your cupboards. All one needs is a little imagination and water.

Norwegian knekkebrød

Norwegian knekkebrødMy Norwegian mother-in-law first showed me how to make homemade knekkebrød in her home in Bergen. We were living in London at the time, and she knew this was something I could easily make no matter where we were. I came across my hand-written recipe and notes which, despite a couple of smudges from previous batches and a few poorly translated words, had survived our years of travels. It was something we could make with little effort to connect us back to Norway.

The cracking sound it makes when you first bite into it, the intense flavor of seeds and nuts and the pride that comes from being able to say it came from your own oven make each batch truly special. This is the recipe she gave me all those years ago, only slightly adapted.

Norwegian knekkebrød

Norwegian knekkebrødThese are perfectly paired with a slice of cheese or a spread of jam or topped with fresh cucumber. Great for a snack while out on the trail or whenever hunger calls. Scroll below to watch exactly how I make these. 

Knekkebrød

(makes 2 sheet pans, approximately 30 breads)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 600 ml (2 1/2 cups) water
  • 135 g (1 cup) course rye flour
  • 135 g (1 1/3 cups) quick cooking oats
  • 25g  (1/2 cup) wheat bran
  • 80g  (1/2 cup) sesame seeds
  • 60g  (1/2 cup) pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped
  • 60g (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
  • 45g  (1/4 cup) linseed/flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt 

Preheat the oven to 325° F / 160° C. Cover two sheet pans completely with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the honey and warm water and whisk to combine.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the rye flour, oats, wheat bran, seeds and salt. Slowly add in the honey-infused water, stirring until a wet paste forms. Let stand for a couple of minutes so the flour and oats can soak up more of the moisture 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. You can 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. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from the oven and carefully cut into 15 rectangles per baking sheet. This will make it easier to separate them when they are fully baked.

Place the sheets pans back in oven and bake for another 50-60 minutes, alternating the top pan with the bottom one once through the cooking time. Occasionally open the oven door to release steam. Check the knekkebrød 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. Store in a tight plastic or tin container and they should last for several weeks.

Norwegian knekkebrød

Nevada Berg

Nevada is a utah native and norwegian by heart. When not crafting culinary delights she enjoys her family time and tending to her animals. You most certainly can find her perusing her property for wild berries.

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  1. Alexa McAllister says:

    Oh, they look so delicious. This surely is a recipe for me to try. Thank you 🙂

    Alexa-asimplelife visiting from Sydney, Australia

    • nevada says:

      Hi Alexa. These are really tasty and super healthy. The best part is you can mix and match with whatever seeds/nuts you have in the cupboard and top them with whatever you fancy. Hope you enjoy them 🙂

      • Atessa Hariri says:

        hi Nevada, can I replac the rye flour with coconut flour?

        • nevada says:

          Hi Atessa. I have never tried it with coconut flour, but have heard of people using almond flour. To make it gluten free, others skip the flour altogether and just combine the oats, nuts, and seeds. If you take out the flour, you will need to experiment with the quantities of everything (like the water) to make sure it all comes together.

  2. Yun says:

    hi Nevada, thank you very much for sharing, i’m working on it! haha

  3. Lisa Dokken says:

    I just came back from Norway so was excited to make this recipe. It is delicious, but it stuck to the wax paper. Any thoughts?

    • nevada says:

      Hi Lisa. Thanks for your comment. Make sure you are using parchment/baking paper rather than wax paper. If you still find the paper sticking, you can try greasing it beforehand with a little butter. I haven’t had trouble getting my knekkebrød off, but I have had to pull at the paper a little bit sometimes. I hope this works for you!

  4. Skeena says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I’ve tried a number of Knekkebrød recipes, but this is the only one that turned out “just right” (meaning good crunch, texture, thickness and taste). No need to search further, for I now have the recipe I’ve been looking for.

    The amount of water made for a very spreadable mixture (more like wet oatmeal) and letting it sit for a few minutes was a really helpful suggestion. For other American bakers who may have the same dilemma, when choosing a sheet pan, if you have an option go for a jelly roll pan rather than a half sheet pan, do so. The width of my parchment paper made for no piecing together and spreading to the edges gave a thickness that matched to the pictures. On baking, after 10 minutes I couldn’t quite believe they would take almost another hour, but they did (albeit I did drop the temperature slightly from the 350 for the second half).

    • nevada says:

      Hi Skeena, I’m so happy to hear this recipe worked great for you! And thanks for the suggestions as well, really helpful 🙂

  5. Gina Salvati says:

    Great recipe, but an hour baking time? Way too long. First batch is unedible.

    • nevada says:

      Hi Gina. I often find I have to cook them a little longer than an hour. Did you use the convection setting? I would try dropping the temperature to 325°F / 160°C next time and see if that works better for you.

  6. Judy Cusick says:

    Do you know where I can buy knekkebrod (online or in the Washington DC area)?

  7. Mares says:

    Oh how exciting finally I have made these delicious little bites that I love to eat when in Norway visiting my son, his wife, the M-I-L & the sister!! They all bake these delicious goodies & now so do I, what a great recipe..worked beautifully. A little bit of Norway in my Aussie kitchen.

  8. Aquarius says:

    Should I use less water if I’m only using the flour, wheat bran, oats and seeds? Can I use rolled oats for this?

    • nevada says:

      Hi. I have never tried it without the oats so I can’t be assured of the the outcome, but you would certainly need to use a lot less water. Rolled oats should be ok, but you might need to adjust the amount water as well since quick cooking oats absorb the liquid differently.

  9. Mike Mosher says:

    Hi, Do you have an idea of the manufacturers producing this product in Sweden or Norway besides SIGDAL?

    • nevada says:

      Hi Mike. There are many producers of knekkebrød throughout Norway and Sweden, some local and some more large-scale. I believe Wasa is one of the larger companies selling in grocery stores. I don’t have a list of others off hand, but there are some really good brands around! I imagine you can find a local producer/producers in most towns.

  10. Carolina says:

    Hi! I was wondering if the honey can be replaced since i’m diabetic and can’t have any. Thanks!

    • nevada says:

      Hi Carolina, thanks for your question! Yes, by all means just take out the honey and leave the rest of the recipe as is 🙂

  11. David says:

    Made these last night. They are wonderful and just the thing for a whole grain diet.

    A few things I will do next time
    -more than a pinch of salt, maybe a 1/4 teaspoon
    -lower the temp to 325 after the first 10 minutes. My oven might run hot
    -add some herbs

    In the US we have whole grain rye, nothing labeled course rye that I could find

    I used oat bran instead of wheat bran. Not sure if thats similar texture

    I added a good amount of black pepper

    This recipe is one of my favorite things. Thank you

  12. Julie says:

    Making this today for the 9th time!!!
    Absolutely love this recipe. I too,have lowered the temperature (ovens vary)
    A friend brought me Knekkebrod, from Norway, in June. Knew I had to find a recipe; honestly these are better than what she brought me.
    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! This is now my “go to”bread.

    Thank you so much, this is now my go to bread!

  13. Jennifer Galbraith says:

    Love this recipe. I have made them several times now with a couple changes based on what I have in the house. I have always used the rolled oats with the same amount of water with no issue. I use wheat germ instead of wheat bran and I don’t chop the pumpkin seeds to save a little time and they always come out great. I sometimes add some herbs like dried oregano.

  14. andrea says:

    hello! i can’t find course rye anywhere, only rye flour. do you think that will be okay? it looks pretty fine ground, unfortunately

    • nevada says:

      Hi Andrea, that’s a great question! Go ahead and use the fine rye flour but try using only 3/4 cup and then use 3/4 cup of the wheat bran instead of 1/2 cup. Let me know how it turns out!

  15. Kristin says:

    I love this recipe! My third batch is in the oven right now! A couple of tips so far: I put the dough on the sheet pan in blobs in each corner and one in the middle and then spread. This helped make it easier to spread evenly. A little sprinkle of the rye flour ( I found pumpernickel rye flour ) can help if things are getting sticky. The edges cooked more quickly,so I broke the done edges off and put the center back in the oven to finish cooking. I can’t wait for lunch!

  16. Annika says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. They worked perfectly the first time and were so delicious we couldn’t stop eating them. I couldn’t find course rye flour either so just used the fine one and oat bran instead of wheat bran and it worked out fine. And we have saved so much money as my local store sells Nordic crispbread for $100 (Australian dollars)/kg!!!

  17. Essi says:

    Nevada, thank you for posting this recipe! I’m paying much more attention to what I eat these days and love how healthy these crisp breads are, the like of which I haven’t come across locally in South East England, where I live.
    I’ve just made a batch of crisp breads and they have lived up to my hopes and expectations! I think I need to work on spreading out technique as some pieces were still a bit soft after being in for an hour, so I popped them back in the oven to crisp up. I couldn’t not resist trying a cracker or two – one with homemade pesto and another with goats cheese. Perfect!!!
    I am looking forward to playing around with different seeds, nuts and flours! Thank you again.

    • nevada says:

      Hi! You are so welcome! I’m really happy to hear you have enjoyed them so much. I can’t wait to hear how your different variations turn out as well 🙂

  18. Alison says:

    Hi. Just back from Svalbard and would love to make my own snekkebrod. Can I use entirely wholemeal spelt flour? Thanks.

    • nevada says:

      Hi Alison. I should think you can certainly swap the rye flour for wholemeal spelt flour. If the mixture seems too dry, just add a little more water. Let me know how it goes!

  19. peter simpson says:

    Looked up the recipe as we bought some from Trader Joes here in the US and wondered if we could make them.
    The first time I burned one of the trays and I think it needed more salt but it looked promising.
    Second time I tried 2 teaspoons of salt and was more careful about the baking and it came out well for us anyway.
    Just checking the recipe for the third batch. Goes well with many things.

    • nevada says:

      I’m so glad you found my recipe so you could make it at home. Knekkebrød can be a little tricky to make at first if you have never baked them at home before, but it sounds like you are well on your way to getting the batch just perfect. If you need any visuals, I have a “how-to” video on the site and on my YouTube channel.

  20. James Gooney says:

    The amount of water, 2 1/2 cups, in the recipe seems too much. I could only use 1 1/2 cups. Otherwise, great recipe. Thank you.

  21. Deborah says:

    Thanks for this recipe! These were crisp and delicious fresh out of the oven, but by the next day were very soft despite being put in a tightly closed Tupperware after they were fully cooled. I’m planning to put them back in the oven at a low temp to try to crisp them up, but do you have any other suggestions? Were they undercooked?

    • nevada says:

      Hi Deborah. I would try storing them in a tin box next time to see if that has any affect. Otherwise, they might need a few more minutes in the oven.

  22. Jayne says:

    Mine turned out perfect, following the recipe specifically. I found all the ingredients in the bulk section of our food coop…and I only bought the amounts needed so I didn’t have a lot to store in my cupboards. Used with a charcuterie board for a dinner party…not only spectacular in taste, but rustic beauty to look at too. I’m a foodie, and these have a new groupie! Thanks for a winner!!

  23. Hi there, LOVE THIS. Thanks for posting. Can I use spelt flour instead? I cannot find Rye flour anywhere.

    • nevada says:

      Hi! Yes, you can certainly use spelt flour. If you can access coarse spelt, that’s even better. You may need to adjust the liquid slightly (using a little less) if you have normal spelt. Let me know how it goes!

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