Settekake is simply a yeast-leavened flatbread, similar to pita, that’s round, about 1 to 2 cm thick, and cooked on top of a hot griddle “takke” or a hot stone. Settekake is known by many names across Norway depending upon the region and the recipe – klappakake, estelumpe, glokake, hellekake, åskestomp, syrekake, asningskaku, es-stomp, and I’m sure many more. It’s unknown when yeast began being used in Norwegian baking, but it’s thought that once people started adding yeast to the breads, some continued to call the breads the same names they used for those without yeast. (Source)
Before the use of ovens, yeast breads were cooked on griddles, hot stones, or in pots. This method of baking meant the breads needed to be round and thinner than a normal bread baked in an oven. Hence, the breads would cook quickly with a golden-brown exterior and a soft interior.
These breads are especially delicious straight off the griddle – warm and toasty. A slab of good butter melting into a yellow puddle on top and a couple slices of brunost sticking to it makes for one traditional and delicious moment. The versatility of this type of bread means you can serve it as treat with jam, as a savory wrap, or with a good, thick stew.
If you head outdoors, just take the dough with you in a container and cook small pieces flattened with your hands over an open fire or gas stove for a wonderful campfire meal, or turmat.
Settekake (Norwegian Yeast Bread)
Makes 10 breads
- 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons (250 ml) milk
- 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons (250 ml) water
- ¼ cup (56 g) butter
- 7 cups (840 g) all-purpose flour*
- 2 ounces (50 g) fresh yeast or 2/3 ounce (17 g) active, dry yeast**
- 1 teaspoon salt
In a small saucepan, warm the milk, water and butter over medium-low heat, until the butter has melted, and the liquid is just warm to the touch. If using fresh yeast, stir it into milk mixture until fully combined.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough attachment, add the flour, dry yeast if using instead of fresh yeast, and salt. Pour in the milk mixture and knead on medium speed for 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and pliable. Place in a large bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into 10 equal pieces. Roll out each piece to make a circular shape that is about 6-inches (15 cm) in diameter and ½-inch (1 cm) thick. Cover with a tea towel.
Warm a dry, large griddle “takke” or frying pan over medium heat. Place as many of the breads on the heated griddle or pan as will fit and cook each side for about 5 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Serve warm with melted butter and brown cheese or jam, alongside stew, or as a wrap.
*You can also use spelt, whole wheat, rye, barley, or a combination of the flours – just be sure to start with a little less flour and add more as needed to get a pliable, but not dry, dough
**Check the container of your yeast, some brands provide the conversion for you. For instance, in Norway, I find the equivalent of 50 g fresh yeast is 6.5 g of dry yeast or ½ a package.