The history of knäckebröd and the history of Sweden goes hand in hand

Knäckebröd is a typical Swedish bread with a long and interesting history and an essential part of the Swedish food culture. The traditional crispbread as we know it today is a hard bread baked from only four ingredients: rye flour, yeast or sourdough, salt and water. It is flat and thin with a hole pattern or pits on the surface. Knäckebröd is a durable bread and possible to store for a long time without going bad or, as Olaus Magnus (1490-1557) wrote when he wrote down the Nordic history, "Baked at the birth of a child, it can hold up quite well without become mouldy until the child's engagement day". Knäckebröd is also a healthy bread baked on wholemeal flour, making it rich in fibre and slow carbohydrates.

The origins of crispbread can be traced back to the early 1500s when dry bread was baked for everyday use, which was supposed to be a bread that could be stored for a long time. These bread originated today's knäckebröd and were a little larger and thicker but baked on unsifted rye flour and then often mixed with barley flour. Sometimes this was compact, unfermented bread, loosened with the help of sourdough. Rye was a grain that could be grown in Sweden's cold and lean climate, especially in central Sweden. Crispbread soon became popular throughout the country, as it was practical during the long and harsh winters. To make the knäckebröd sustainable to store, it was dried by hanging them on drying rods, and therefore the bread was baked with holes in the middle. Letting them hang and dry over the hearth protected the bread from moisture and pests. The crispbread then came to be called storehouse bread or stove bread.

Knäckebröd is today an indispensable part of Swedish food culture. Swedes eat the most knäckebröd in the world, and today they eat about four kilos per person per year.

At the same time the first knäckebröd was baked, Gustav Vasa was elected King of Sweden on 6 June 1523 at the National Assembly in Strängnäs. There and then 500 years ago, Sweden became independent after being part of the Kalmar Union 1397-1523, and independent Sweden has been ever since.

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Produced by: Wikinggruppen

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