All You Knead is Bread – available to preorder on Amazon – will be published in three months! October 11 is publication date and to tempt you and inspire you I thought I would give away one recipe from the book each month for the next three months. This month is Swedish Cracker Bread.
Makes about 40 or maybe even 50!
250 g strong white wheat flour
500 g light rye flour (if you cannot get light rye flour, seive some dark rye flour and save the bran and germ in the seive for putting on your cereal, and use the light rye flour in the bowl for the crackers)
500 g whole milk (cold is fine)
3.5 g instant yeast/7 g dry yeast/15 g fresh yeast
40 g honey
10 g salt
10 g ground anis (or cinnamon or cumin or coriander or ginger…)
Things to sprinkle on top (dried herbs, spice seeds, rock salt…)
Pokey Swedish Rolling Pin (or fork, meat tenderizer)
If you are using instant or fresh yeast, put all the ingredients in a big bowl and blend them together. Then, tip them out on the counter and knead them well for 10 minutes.
If you are using dry yeast, put the flours in a big bowl and make a well. Sprinkle the dry yeast in the well and add 100 g of milk. Cover and let it sit for 15 minutes. You may or may not get a beige sludge on the top of the milk – don’t worry about it. The important thing is to dissolve the yeast. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend them together. Tip them out on the counter and knead them well for 10 minutes.
This dough is a bear to knead and it is easiest if you use a scraper to help you gather it all up again. The honey coupled with the rye makes it tough, but persevere and you will be rewarded.
Pop all the ingredients back in the bowl and leave it in the fridge, covered, over night.
Pull the dough out of the bowl and onto the counter.
Shaping cracker bread:
Divide the dough into pieces about the size of a golf ball (50 g). Line them all up on a floury surface and cover with a tea towel. Let them rest for five minutes while you heat up the oven to 210 degrees.
On a well floured surface, and with a well floured rolling pin, roll each cracker out extremely thinly. Start by pressing them slightly into a good sprinkling of flour so that they will not stick. Don’t be shy with the flour! You will spray it off with a plant sprayer later – literally, let the dough balls float on a surface of flour.
Traditionally you roll them into a round and use a cutter to cut a hole out of the middle so you can store them by threading a string through them and hanging them up. However, it is also fun to roll them into ovals, squares, rectangles or wacky shapes. You can even try to roll large amounts of dough together and cutting the resultant rolled shape up into pieces with a pizza cutter!
Once you have rolled your shape, either prick it liberally with a fork, roll it with a pokey swedish rolling pin or thump it gently with a meat tenderiser. You need to make indentations through the cracker dough or it will puff up in the oven. When you poke them with a pokey pin, it helps to start from the middle and go to one side and then go back to the middle and roll to the other side so they don’t roll themselves around the pin.
Place on a baking sheet that you have lined with baking parchment.
Spray liberally with water (both to clean off the excess flour and to act as glue for the toppings) and then decorate with a bit of salt (coarse flakey salt is nice, but be sparing as there is salt in the dough) and then the topping of your choice that could include carraway seeds, cumin seeds, aniseed, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried rosemary, dried oregano, dried thyme….take your pick to make them tasty and beautiful. Don’t try cheese as it burns in the oven.
Line them up on the baking tray, giving about 1 cm between each one and bake them for 10-12 minutes. Watch them carefully as they burn in an instant!
Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Once they are completely cool and completely crisp you can store them indefinitely. If you live in a dry climate, by all means hang them on strings! If not, pop them in a biscuit tin or a cracker barrel. If they are not completely crisp when they are all baked, or if they get a bit soggy, turn the oven on to 50 degrees centigrade and put them in the oven. Turn the oven off, close the door and leave them there until the oven is cooled down. They will crisp up that way. They are delicious, inexpensive to make, impressive and easy! Enjoy.
These pokey rolling pins are hard to find but you can get a set of them from Amazon that work well by clicking this link: