How To Bake Authentic Viking Age Knekkebrød (Crisp Bread)

Crisp bread was one of the most popular snacks of the Norsemen during the perilous and tumultuous Viking period. As a matter of fact, even before the start of this historical era crisp bread was baked in central present-day Sweden as early as c. 500 A.D.

Wafers of crisp bread on a white plate. Image source: www.pixabay.com

Under different varieties (including wheat loaf, rye loaf, and flatbread) the crisp bread was a very much sought-after tasty delight baked either directly over the fire or in a stone oven in early medieval Scandinavia. It was served along with butter, ham, honey, or cheese.

In modern times, for baking knekkebrød you’ll be needing the following ingredients:

0.5 l of warmish watter

6 cups of rye flour

6 cups of wheat flour

1 Tbsp of salt

1 Tbsp of ground cumin

3 additional cups of rye flour (in order to roll out the dough)

Method of preparation:

  1. Make sure to mix well all the aforementioned ingredients and create a solid dough.
  2. Subsequently, split the dough into 20 different pieces and eventually form them into small balls.
  3. Roll out each formed small ball of dough in consistent rye flour until they will get round.
  4. Make a hole inside each small ball and then dot them with a fork (alternatively, you can as well divide the dough into thin strips).
  5. Before putting the dough into the fireplace, it must be already warmed up well.
  6. During the process of baking, turn the pieces of crisp bread when they are a bit browned.
  7. Enjoy!

Furthermore, if you’re interested in how to bake authentic Norse flatbread according you can equally check out this article.

Documentation sources and external links:


7 Responses to How To Bake Authentic Viking Age Knekkebrød (Crisp Bread)

  1. Harry says:

    Is the cumin in this really historically authentic? I don’t know much about the state of the spice trade in the Viking age.

  2. Jacquelyn says:

    Harry, check out http://theepicentre.com/spice/cumin/ for information about cumin seasoning.

  3. Karin says:

    I think cummin is a mistranlation. In danish caraway seeds are called “kommen”, and vikings had caraway.

    • Kirsten says:

      Agreed. Caraway seems like the right spice for this. It’s common in Scandinavian baking, especially in combination with rye.

    • Kejarmakten says:

      Yeah. Was just about to comment on the same thing. Called kummin in Sweden but it should translate to caraway seed

  4. […] the good folk at the Folk, Viking and Pagan Metal Facebook Page posted an article on cooking authentic Knekkebrød, or crisp bread, made by the Vikings. I liked the sound of this crisp break, and I love trying […]

  5. […] The Dockyards, the author writes that during the Viking Age and in medieval Scandinavia, the bread would have been […]

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