Kleppmelk – A Norwegian Dish Dating To The Viking Age

Kleppmelk is a traditional Norwegian dish specific mostly to the regions of Trøndelag (central Norway) and Nord-Norge (northern Norway). It is a soup that consists of solid small doughs softened in milk. It is safe to assume that this culinary treat dates to the Viking period as the modern Norwegian word ‘klepp’ was derived from the Old Norse counterpart ‘kleppr’ which refers to something of rocky material nature.

A bowl of kleppmelk. Image source: www.blogspot.no

However, the term ‘Kleppr’ was also a proper name in Old Norse (a male given name, specifically), but it also appears on the Klepp I Runestone. There it refers to a ‘rocky hill’. Nowadays the municipality of Klepp in Rogaland, western Norway, bears its name. But the word ‘klepp’ can potentially indicate a fishing tool as well, depending on the definition. This fishing tool is basically a gaff.

This dessert is also known as ‘bollemelk’ or ‘kleppsuppe’. Below there are enlisted the main ingredients of the dish (for 4 plates):

2 eggs, 2.5 l of milk, 4-6 dl of flour/wheat/barley, 4 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp of salt

The method of preparation is to mix the eggs with sugar, flour, and a bit of milk until there will be a solid dough. For the soup, the rest of the salt and milk must be mixed together then brought to the boiling pot (closely observed as it can bubble over during the heating process). The dough must be split into small bowls and left inside the hot milk for about ten minutes. After that, serve it with a bit of sprinkled cinnamon, additional sugar, and a glass of cold milk.

Documentation sources and external links:


14 Responses to Kleppmelk – A Norwegian Dish Dating To The Viking Age

  1. susan mcguire says:

    My Norwegian Grandmother never made this but sounds good..she did make Julekaka and lefsa..i still make these two dishes. Yummy.

  2. Sarah Hougen says:

    No one in my family ever made this – I have checked with a couple of dad’s cousins and they’ve never heard of it. Nor is it listed in my cookbook from 1932.
    If this actually IS a Norwegian recipe, it must be from a remote valley, probably on the west coast.

  3. Nick says:

    My family has Swedish toots and we grew up on potato soup with crimp. After I travelled to Sweden, I found they were actually called Klink. A dumpling made of egg and flour with a little milk spooned into soup.

  4. Gøran says:

    This dish is very common in the coastal areas of Northern Norway, I grew up on this. My grandmother used to make this and my mother still makes this from time to time. It is not a dessert however, it’s a typical poor farmer’s dish served as dinner. These days we sprinkle cinnamon on top or kardemomme, but I doubt we had those luxuries when my grandmother grew up. Bollemelk is another word for it we use 🙂

  5. Sally says:

    It sounds similar to Newfoundland ‘Dough boys’ which is the same dough recipe and the dough is put in with a pot of stew or pea soup. Its interesting to see it as a desert with cinnamon.

  6. Sturla Molden says:

    Yes, this is indeed an old Norwegian recipe, known as “bollemelk” in northern Norway and “kleppsuppe” in Trøndelag. It is rather old fashion though, and rarely served now. The younger generation usually do not know what it is.

  7. Greta Engqvist says:

    I think this could also be called “klote velling” in and around Oslo?

  8. Hans-Jörg Mendrzyk says:

    My grandma used to make a milk-soup called Kleppersuppe from the ingredients mentioned above in the sixties. Only the lumbs or rocks where smaller in her soup. We lived in Bochum(Germany) at the time and she came from Posen to here after the war. It was a cheap meals for poor people to fill their stomachs but it didn’t taste bad.

  9. Dan says:

    Would Vikings have had sugar? Sugar has a whole process to make it and is from sugar cane so I would be surprised if it was available in Viking Times.

  10. Raven says:

    4-6 dl of flower? What is a dl???
    Thank you for the help, would love to try this.
    Also do you cook the dumplings at all?

    • author says:

      First of all, thank you for reading The Dockyards! Secondly, dl stands for decilitre. Thirdly, the picture depicting the dumplings is from another website which is sourced in the caption. Thank you. 🙂

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