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My Kingdom For a Rye Bread

№204 ~4 minutes

It’s been too long since I’ve had some rye bread and left with few options I suppose I’ll just have to make my own. Oh no.

As someone who grew up eating many kilos of rye crispbread—knäckebröd—every year I’ve always been very fond of it, despite eating less as I’ve grown older.

But then we moved the UK and suddenly—much like porridge—I find myself craving this simple thing I’ve taken for granted for years.

Now, you could argue—and you should—that I could simply go to my local store and pick up some RYVITA® Dark Rye Crispbread but if I always bought things rather than make them when presented with both options, there wouldn’t be much to write about, now would there?

I’ve already mentioned my desire to bake my own rye bread, a desire that’s grown from the lacking geographical availability of my favourite bread of all time, Vaasan Ruispalat.

Vaasan Ruispalat dark rye bread with a generous dollop of butter on it
I wonder if Secalecide—to kill for rye—could be a real thing?

But I still haven’t figured out, or even found a decent recipe, for how to bake these which means I’m still in the research stage and will most likely stay there for some time.

But in the meantime I was struck by the desire to have some rye crispbread and “this should require quite as much research”, I thought to myself.

A quick internet search later I found a guy called Nigel Slater who, taking inspiration from the market in Stockholm, had created a very very simple recipe for rye crispbread that looked to be to my liking.

Which is what I’m now republishing here, with my own annotations, which is also how I plan to publish any future recipes. You can find Nigel Slater’s original Rye Crispbread recipe here.

Rye crispbread

Makes 12 crispbreads the size of a side plate Only made 10, 4 of which Rebecka ate before I could even picture them.

400g rye flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
10g fresh yeast
350ml water
+
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp cummin seeds

Directions

Put the flour into a large bowl and add the salt. Warm the water to about 22C (if you don’t have a thermometer get the water pleasantly warm). Because everyone knows what "pleasantly warm" feels like? Crumble the yeast into the water and whisk until the water is milky and has virtually dissolved.

Pour the yeast mixture into the flour and stir. The result will be sticky, stiff and wet. So fucking sticky it's not even funny. Cover the bowl with clingfilm or a cloth and leave in a warm place for an hour, during which time it will rise a little. Don’t expect the rise to be as voluminous as with white dough—it should just be a little puffed up. Or not really at all if you're impatient like me in this case.

Line a baking sheet—or better still, two—with baking parchment. (You will need to bake these large breads in batches.) Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6.

Roll out about a 12th—About 60g worth of dough—of the dough into a rough disc the size of a side plate. It will be difficult to roll, so you might like to do this on the baking sheet rather than on the work surface. You can cut the edges using a plate as a template if you wish, though I tend to leave mine rough. Pierce the surface of the dough all over with holes, using a fork or skewer. Bake for 15-18 minutes More like 20-30 minutes but maybe I made them too thick? until the bread is truly crisp. Remove and continue with the rest of the dough. Which is still ridiculously sticky Once cool, the bread will keep in a biscuit tin for a few days. Like *anyone* is going to save them for *that* long.

My deliciously rustic-looking crispbreads
They actually turned out pretty good.

And because I completely forgot to include a picture of my birthday cake last week I thought I would make it up to you, by including it this week.

A salty liquorice and lemon flavoured birthday cake with 30 individual candles on it.
These candles aren't really designed to be this close to one another.

Nordic Cuisine; Kokosbollar

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