Sunday, July 21, 2013

Knäckebröd

We’re blessed to have a little daughter who is as adventurous as us when it comes to food.

Food represents life and all its joy. It introduces us to a new culture, a new feeling, and for us at home who rarely travel and rely solely on our imagination through the things we read; food gives us a certain romance.

I actually have so many unique dishes that I should have posted but due to a certain numbers of things, number one would be me who prefers to sit and read and have ice cream, number two would be me who prefers to sit and read and have more ice creams, I haven’t been able to find the right time to do so. But this blog wouldn’t be writing itself, wouldn’t it? So allow me to share a little wonderful discovery we made yesterday.

One of my daughter’s hobbies is to ask me to cook something that has an interesting story behind it or at least a story that she comes up with and deems close to the truth. Take Vatrushka as an example. It is a Russian round cheese bread. Since Amiko loves Tchaikovsky so much and she believes that Tchaikovsky ate that when he wasn’t composing something, she asked me to make it.  Now Vatrushka is a regular treat on our Indonesian table just like Chinese Pao and she would enjoy it by listening to Tchaikovky’s scores.

That is just one of many, many wonderful things she have had me done. I could go on forever but there’s plenty of time for that and of course I owe you a delightful Vatrushka’s recipe. But not now. Now is the time I introduce you to Knäckebröd.

She was browsing and suddenly had the idea that we should have rabbit stew. I gave her the REALLY flat faced look and she bargained for Haggis. Apparently she was reading about Loch Ness and she wanted something Scottish. I offered to cook her Scotch Egg because it's a very easy dish and there was no way momma would want to eat rabbit. Not ever. We got into a very silly argument because she said she was in the mood for something new.

Since I was in the middle of re-reading American Gods, the best book by Neil Gaiman for me, I offered Amiko to have something Scandinavian instead. So I told her what the book was about and since she's already familiar with everything Viking related because her mom has this insane level crush on Loki and I was the one who would eventually cook, she had to agree.

We found out that the Vikings always have some Knäckebröd in their ships while sailing away in search for adventures and places to conquer. They needed bread that would hold for weeks, sometimes months, and up until this moment, the people in Sweden, Norwegia, and Finland still eat Knäckebröd. With my way of story telling, read: art of persuasion, we settled on Knäckebröd.

Recipe:
Adapted from Scandifoodie
100-150 ml warm water
1/3 cup sesame seeds
4 gr instant yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
300 gr rye flour
100 gr all purpose flour
whole wheat flour for rolling

Directions:

Mix all the dry ingredients well 

Add the water then start kneading on the table. You are looking for a smooth consistency. If it's too wet, feel free to add more flour and vice versa if you have a very hard dough, add a bit of water. We are not kneading to achieve high level of gluten since we are using rye flour and it's very low in gluten.

Your dough should look like this. Just leave it on the table you knead on and cover with clingfilm. Leave it to rest for 30 minutes.

Use only whole wheat wheat flour so the dough won't stick on your working table. Shape the dough into a log then cut to 8 pieces. Make a ball out of each and work one by one, covering the rest with cling wrap so they won't dry out. Roll the ball as thinly as you can to get crispier result, cut a circle in the middle using anything you have at home (the reason will be revealed later), then really prick the surface with fork so there won't be air bubbles when it's baked.

Bake at 200C for 10 minutes then flip it and continue for another 3-5 minutes. Do bake in batches according to your oven capacity and know your oven so you don't have burnt Knäckebröd.


Wow!

That is all I can say. They're so light and crispy and amazingly fulfilling!
Now I understand why this bread is the equivalent of Pao for the Chinese and factory white bread for the Americans. Having put literally zero fat in the dough and taking out all the moisture in the bread ensure a long shelf life. Perfect for a long time journey, perfect for snacking, perfect with cheese on top.


Beautiful, beautiful bread.

The taste of rye and the cumin together are so foreign to my palate yet I dare declare that these Knäckebröd will be baked at least once a week in our home. They are so fast to be made but disappear so quickly. It proves how delicious they are.

My husband loves it mainly because it gives him a reason to snack without any guilty feeling, Amiko loves it because it is yummy and it makes her feel like a starving Viking on a kill, and I enjoy it while I dream of a tall, handsome, icy blue eyed Norwegian man from the past sweeping me off my feet for a kiss. Does my husband get jealous, you asked? Nah, he knows that he  is married to a super imaginative geeky bookworm who dreams of Andalusia on Tuesday and grave digging on some other nights.

Skål,
Amy

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