Do we ever know bread? Probably not, just like can you ever have enough bread books? Probably not.
Unbeknownst to me, I’ve had a kuskavel in my rolling pin drawer for any number of years. Didn’t know it’s name. Didn’t know what it’s specialty was. Don’t remember where I came upon it. I just thought it was fun looking and might work on crackers which I tried once. Don’t really remember how that turned out.
Kelly from MessyKitchen is our host Kitchen of the Month and the bread she brought us is delightful! Flatbread from Sweden. Sounds simple and yes it is. It is one of those simple breads that is so much more than it’s simplicity. Check out Kelly’s site for all the background on this bread!
Before baking powder there was deer horn salt aka baker’s ammonia. And about that deer horn salt aka baker’s ammonia, yes you can get it from Amazon, and yes it really is ammonia, and yes it really smells like ammonia and yes it really SMELLS. BUT somehow it bakes away. I baked this first with baking powder and then took some really deep breaths (not over the baker’s ammonia) after Kelly assured me I would not smell it after baking and gutted it up and baked the recipe using the deer horn salt aka Baker’s ammonia. I could not discern any appreciable difference in texture or bake between the two.
Hällakakor – Swedish flatbread
Makes: 8 pieces
350 g wholemeal wheat flour
62 g wholemeal rye flour
(Second bake: 250 grams whole wheat flour + 162 grams rye)
1 g (¼ tsp) deer horn salt (baker’s ammonia), dissolved in water (you can use baking powder instead)
6 g yeast
8 g sea salt
25 g honey
20 g butter
235g milk (dairy or non dairy works fine)
1 teaspoon caraway, crushed in a mortar/pestle)
I kneaded a very stiff dough for 15 minutes. I probably added 10-20 grams water while kneading. Let rise for 6 hours at room temperature and knock back and briefly knead twice in the first two hours. (The dough can also be chilled overnight.)
Cut off 85 – 95 gram portions and shape into round balls. Flour lightly and let rise briefly, about 20 minutes. Roll out round dough circles to about 25cm or 9in with a notched or regular rolling pin. Dock well if using a flat rolling pin. If using a grooved pin, follow with the notched pin.
Preheat the oven to the highest possible temperature (500° worked best for my oven & stone. 525° seemed too hot) and ideally place the flatbread directly on a baking stone or steel and bake them into golden, soft flatbread. Bake for 3-4 minutes each. Mine took 4 minutes.
I did play with the flours in this recipe. My first bake was as Kelly wrote it. My second bake I took 100 grams from the whole wheat and make it rye. I used caraway seeds in both those bakes. We enjoyed both and I really couldn’t discern any difference between them. My third bake yesterday I tried 162 grams whole grain barley. The dough never really rose anything like the first two batches. While the dough came together, it remained crumbly throughout the entire process and was even very difficult to get onto the baking stone without cracking and breaking pieces off. In an effort to prevent breaking apart I didn’t roll it so thin and it did a little better.
Haven’t tried any of the barley flatbread yet but we’ll be taking it on a short road trip today and I’ll report back later.
I hope you’ll bake this one with us. Now that days are probably somewhat busy these flat breads are easy and throughly entertaining and engaging! As Kelly says: Hällakakor can be frozen and then reheated straight out of the freezer on a flat toaster, toaster oven, or hot pan. They should refresh well and taste like they were freshly baked out of the oven. They are lovely with butter and jam or syrup, or with mascarpone and jam. They are just as good with an herbed cheese spread or to sop up stew or curry. We would love for you to try out this flat bread with us this month and share how you used it! New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants’ baking results during that time.
Ready! Set! BAKE!!
November 16, 2021 at 12:57 pm
Ah, you have a lefse rolling pin too! I have not tried lefse yet… Love all your breads!
November 16, 2021 at 4:06 pm
Your breads look so beautiful, Tanna! Too bad about the barley refusing to rise as much (not enough glutens, I guess….)
Ha! I knew I was right to refuse to open my tightly zipped purse to pay for the deer horn salt – if it made pretty much no difference. But I am really really envious of that beautiful rolling pin!
A word of caution about reheating the bread in a toaster: we managed to scorch ours that way. The toaster oven, set on a very low setting, is much more reliable.
November 17, 2021 at 2:59 am
Funny thing Elizabeth, we don’t have a toaster. All we have is the toaster oven.
November 17, 2021 at 2:58 pm
For years, we only had a toaster oven. But there were complaints that the toaster oven doesn’t toast bread correctly. So we caved in and bought a really inexpensive counter top two-slice toaster. I still LOVE the toaster oven though; I use it all the time. (We don’t have a microwave oven.)
November 16, 2021 at 7:51 pm
What a great story and a great find! You just never know what you might find tucked away in a drawer. Your whole grain breads look lovely.
November 16, 2021 at 8:28 pm
I love all of your experiments. How cool that you already had the rolling pin!!
November 17, 2021 at 2:24 pm
Now I have to go through my kitchen drawers….. who knows what treasures are hidden there!