Sourdough Knäckebröd – Crispbread – Why it’s the best recipe

Hunger. You are hungry. You want something with a satisfying crunch, but all there is in the bread bin is some stale old toast bread. What can you do? Well, making this knäckebröd is as simple as pie and because of the low hydration in the final bread it can be stored for months without spoiling. This is my recipe for sourdough knäckebröd.

Knäckebröd is a very simple flatbread. Traditionally made with rye flour and often paired some delicious seeds.


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The history of knäckebröd

Knäckebröd has been eaten in Sweden since the middle ages, but probably not in the form it’s known today.

Rye has been the predominant flour used in the crispy bread, and rye was probably not around in the 5th century, where barley was the norm. No matter what the Swedish people have been chomping on crispbread for centuries.

sourdough crispbread in a basket

The crispbread came out of Värmland, but quickly spread to the rest of the country.

The most basic recipe is made from unsifted rye flour, yeast or sourdough starter, water and salt. After it’s rolled out the dough is usually rolled with a special spiked rolling pin, so that the bread doesn’t rise. This can be emulated by pricking the rolled out dough with a fork.

It’s baked really hot, to drive off the moisture so that the bread doesn’t go bad.

They were usually shaped as a wheel with a hole in the middle, so they could be stored on torkstänger (literally drying sticks).

closeup of sourdough knäckebröd

Because of the really low hydration in the final bread, it’s said that bread baked at a child’s birth could stay good until the child’s engagement.

Today most käckebröd is made commercially and they many, many varieties. Wheat flour is now more common than rye although rye is still used.

The history of knäckebröd was adapted from this article.

The dough in this sourdough knäckebröd recipe

The dough in this classic sourdough knäckebröd recipe is made using sourdough discard, whole grain rye flour (dark rye in the States) and rolled oats.

sourdough crispbread on a piece of cloth

It gets some of its hydration from the starter, but water is also added, but it’s not a totally defined amount. The consistency of the dough is more important.

The amount of seeds used is 200 grams, but you can easily substitute with a different kind or kinds of seeds. That also makes for a different bread each time you bake it.

WeightIngredientBaker's Percentage
150gstarter (100% hydration)150.0%
50grye flour50.0%
50grolled oats50.0%
75gwater75.0%
7gsalt7.0%
100gsunflower seeds100.0%
50gflax seeds50.0%
50gpumpkin seeds50.0%

As always, the formula for the bread can be played with, changed around and whatever you do to formulas here in my Bread Calculator. The amount of water is a guesstimate on my side.

The conclusion of this sourdough knäckebröd recipe

This bread is something I love to have in my kitchen cupboard.

It’s great with a piece of smelly cheese and some blackcurrant jam. Another favorite of mine is liver patée with slices of fresh cucumber.

It has a delicious taste from the rye flour and the oats. The crunch is amazing and added taste and chew from the seeds is wonderful.

basket with sourdough knäckebröd

It’s a pretty healthy piece of bread with lots of fibers and not a huge amount of calories. The fat that is in it are from the seeds and the healthy monounsaturated kind.

If you are worried about the salt content just lower it to where you like it, but classic knäckebröd has a high salt content as it drives away the moisture, which is needed for the long shelf life.

So why is this the best recipe for sourdough knäckebröd?

  • Super crunchy – high satisfaction
  • Healthy compared to most other breads
  • Easy to make
  • High amount of fiber
  • Low calories
  • Very low amount of gluten (if you have a gluten free starter it’s even lower)

Go for it. It’s a super delicious bread. Just listen to the crunch in the video.

Please share this recipe for sourdough knäckebröd on social media

This is my recipe for sourdough knäckebröd. If you like the recipe please consider sharing it with like-minded bread lovers on social media.

If you make it and post it on Instagram, please tag me as @foodgeek.dk so I can see it. That would make me very happy.

Sourdough Knäckebröd

Course: Breakfast, Lunch
Cuisine: Scandinavian, Swedish
Keyword: crispbread, knäckebröd, knækbrød, sourdough starter
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Fermentation: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 10 knäckebröd
Calories: 163kcal
Author: Sune Trudslev
Nutrition Facts
Sourdough Knäckebröd
Amount Per Serving (1 knäckebröd)
Calories 163 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 275mg12%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 6g12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
A delicious crispy thin bread that is indigenous to the Scandinavian countries.
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Ingredients

  • 150 g sourdough starter (discard)
  • 50 g whole-grain rye flour
  • 50 g rolled oats
  • 100 g sunflower seeds
  • 50 g flax seeds
  • 50 g pumpkin seeds
  • 7 g salt
  • water, as needed

Instructions

Make the dough

  • In a medium bowl mix the starter, rye flour and salt until it's completely combined..
  • Add the oat and seeds.
  • Add some water and mix. It should resemble a thick paste. Add as much water as needed.

Fermentation

  • Cover the bowl and let the dough ferment on the counter for 2-3 hours.
  • If you are not going to be making the dough you can refrigerate the dough until needed, up to a week.

Roll the dough

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F using fan assist.
  • Wedge the dough in between two pieces of parchment paper and roll it out thinly using a rolling pin.
  • It should basically fill the parchment paper from edge to edge.
  • Peel off the top layer of parchment paper and cut the dough into square pieces of whatever size you like.

Baking

  • When the oven is hot, move the parchment paper to a baking sheet.
  • Put it in the oven and bake for around 20 minutes.
  • Take out the sheet and separate the dough into individual pieces.
  • Bake for 5-10 minutes more until the pieces are golden brown and crispy.
  • Take out of the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Video

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  1. Emily Reply

    made this today, so good! thank you!!

  2. Melanie Holder Reply

    Tried this today! A bit strange to my American pallet. Easy to make. It was MUCH better once it was cooled and I would call it a cracker and not bread. Thanks for the unique recipe. One note: In the future I would adjust the salt downward as sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in the US almost always come salted.

    • I can imagine. My ex-wife is American and she thought we ate some weird stuff 🙂

      Knækbrød means “bread that cracks”, so I guess it makes sense 🙂

  3. Mary Reply

    Can I use light rye flour instead of dark rye flour? Is there a big difference?

    • You can. It won’t have as much of rye taste as if you use dark, but I’m sure it’ll still be delicious 🙂

  4. Kirill Reply

    Hi Sune! Thanks for the recipe, I made it – it was delicious!
    How do you keep this bread? Mine has gone soft after 1 day so I’m not sure if I underbaked it or it is the English weather working its magic… 🙂

    • I put it in a airtight container with kitchen towel in between 🙂

      You may wanna bake it a bit more too 🙂

  5. Trish Reply

    So moreish…Crispy and tasty…added some sesame seeds which added to the flavours. I used ripe starter, as did not see it was discard! Worked fine tho