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:

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:

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11 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.

    • Anita says:

      Cumin was found in some foods in Oseberg, Norway in the 9th and 10th century.

    • Huib van den Doel says:

      I don’t know wheter cumin is essential. In the kaeckebroed I buy in the supermarket there are not always seeds. If there would be, it might not be cumin but caraway which is a close relative but also grows in colder climates, for instance in Finland. It is also used in aquavit and other liquors.

  2. Jacquelyn says:

    Harry, check out 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 […]

  6. Betsy Marshall says:

    15 cups of flour is a BIIIGG batch of crackers!

  7. RP says:

    There are several that don’t quite translate from Swedish like Blåbär (literally blueberry) is actually bilberry – closely related but different (small more intense nicer) fruit. Cumin is not what we call cumin the Indian spice (which will taste like garbage) so yes you need caraway seed if anything, Mostly Knäckebröd is made from just rye and I think wheat would have least been more uncommon until the 19th century through barley was grown and likely used; wheat flour seems to be added to recipes for home cooks since it makes it a lot easier to work with but totally diminishes the slightly sour nutty flavour of rye; rye will be harder too so esp. with leaven recipes it’s harder to rise at home but is superior. Barley would be an interesting addition – a lovely grain (somewhere betwixt wheat & oats) sadly ignored in the modern world but again harder to work with.

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