Swedish crispbread


Swedish crispbread

Swedes have a special relationship to their crispbread. I’m talking about the traditional crispbread, baked on rye. You find it in 85% of all households in Sweden compared with 8% of French ones.
And that’s not so strange. After all, the crispbread originated from Sweden. It dates back to the 5th century. That is even before the Vikings began to go the rest of Europe on their nerves.

If you visit Sweden, you will encounter it everywhere. Hotel, lunch restaurants, and even in coffee shops sometimes.  Swedes simply have trouble imagining a life without crispbread.
I remember when I was a kid and would visit Spain for the first time. The trip went to the Canary Islands off the African west coast. I had never been so far away. Neither had my parents. Therefore, they brought some packets of crispbread. They thought it would be impossible o buy something so typical Swedish so far away.
Imagine their surprise when they realized that it was possible to buy Swedish crispbread in most grocery stores where we were living. The Canary Islands had been a popular tourist destination for quite a while, and the Spaniards had learned what we Swedes are missing on our vacation.

But why is it so deeply entrenched in the Swedish food culture? It tastes good, but so does other food also. Like Swedish meatballs for example. Nevertheless, most Swedes do not have any need to bring meatballs on holiday (I say most because there are probably some).
Perhaps it’s because you can always rely on Crispbread. When the sourdough bread has begun to mold or become stale or dry, the crispbread will always be there for you as a dear old friend who won’t disappoint you. It’s very rare that crispbread mold, and it’s supposed to be dry. You can count on it.

Traditional Crispbread is baked on whole rye, but for this recipe, we will add some whole wheat to the dough, and spread seeds and flake salt on top to make it a little more exciting. I have used the following combinations:

Pumpkin kernels and flaxseeds.
Sesame seed and flake salt.
Polenta and flake salt.
Anise seeds and flake salt. (My favorite.)



Rolled out dough


Cutted in pieces


With toppings.


Sometimes it’s tricky to get it crispy enough. Even if it has been in the oven long enough and starts to get a dark brown color, there can still be a hint of sogginess. Don’t worry. It doesn’t mean that you have failed. Just let the crispbread cool of completely. At least an hour. Is it still soggy? No problem. Just place the bread in the oven for a few more minutes. That will usually do the trick.

There are two other things to keep in mind.
When you roll out the dough, make sure to make it thin. It should not be thicker than 2 mm. (How much is that transformed to inches? 1/12 0r 0.08 perhaps. )
You can also reduce the air bubbles by pricking the dough with a fork before the final rise.

This recipe provides a crispbread with strong rye flavor despite the addition of wheat flour. Just like traditional crispbread should taste. You can serve it with all kind of food, or as snacks to the drink. Or why not with just a dollop of your homemade sour cream butter.


Different crispbread




Crispbread in butter


Swedish crispbread


Print Recipe
Swedish crispbread
Traditional crispbread baked on rye and whole wheat. Carefully flavored with seeds and flake salt. Eat it with all kind of food, or as snacks to the drink. Or why not with just a dollop of butter.
  1. Mix all ingredients except toppings. Knead the dough for 5 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough in two and wrap the pieces with cling film. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  3. Take out the dough from the refrigerator at least two hours before it's time to bake.
  4. Flour your working surface and roll out the dough thinly, not thicker than 2 mm.
  5. Prick the dough with a fork. About 1 inch/2.5 cm between each mark.
  6. Brush lightly with water a spread with preferred seeds and flake salt.
  7. Sprinkle some rye flour and cut into desired form and size. A pizza cutter works fine.
  8. Place the pieces on baking plates and let them rise for 40 minutes.
  9. Preheta your oven to 390ºF / 200ºC.
  10. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  11. Let cool for at leats an hour.
Recipe Notes

This is a hybrid version of crisp bread, meaning I have used both fresh yeast and baking soda together with sourdough starter. If you want to use sourdough starter only, that works fine. Just add 50 gram starter and take it out from the refrigerator 3-4 hours before you roll it out.

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