If you have a smattering of Norwegian, you'll know that frukost means 'breakfast'. As much as I love dinner, there's nothing like a good breakfast to start the day. Breakfasts here in Norway are a little bit different than in many other countries, and though I've eaten lots of good breakfasts abroad, there's nothing like a good, old healthy breakfast, norsk-style. Nothing particularly exotic, mind you; mostly I stick to the same three things. Wholegrain breads/buns with mackerel is a big favourite, followed by goat cheese, leverpostei (liver pâte) and the famous Norwegian brown cheese. Whenever I'm tired of bread, I turn to my second lucrative option: homemade granola or havregryn (milk with oats). During the weekend I may even take it as far as to add blueberries into the mixture. But there are times, rare as they can be, when I'm tired of eating bread or cereals. Those days, I turn to knekkebrød, or crisp bread, with cheese, salmon and sometimes even boiled eggs.
Sweet breakfasts, though, are really hard for me to swallow. This is often a problem for me when I travel, particularly in countries like France or the United States. Germany – mostly rye bread with cheese or jam – no problem. Israel – pita stuffed with hummus, tomatoes and olives – actually quite good. Although I often pride myself in my experimental gastronomical nature, breakfast remains as Norwegian as possible, if I can help it. This became quite a challenge to me when I lived with a lovely French family in Brittany this summer. For them, the idea of eating fish for breakfast was odd. For me, the idea of eating chocolate cereals and baguettes with Nutella every morning was peculiar. It's such an incredibly trivial matter, I know, but what you eat for breakfast affects the entire day, in my opinion. Still, I was in a foreign country and there was nothing for me to do but to respect their customs.*
I did it for two weeks: crêpes with jam, baguettes with Nutella, chocolate cereals, those kinds of things. I even had milk in my coffee! And I was so hungry. I was hungry all the time. My tummy began rumbling an hour or so after breakfast, and it was all very confusing. Clearly early-morning palate-broadening is harder than it seems.
Anyway, back to the norsk. Let's talk knekkebrød. Their wonderful taste, the way they pass through your system, the incredible flexibility... Honestly, what's not to like? Today, of course, you can buy knekkebrød, but that's not particularly fun. And unlike bread, they take next-to-no time to make. You just have to mix the ingredients together, smear it on a baking sheet and throw it in the oven. Lovely. If you like your breakfasts sweet, you can smear a blob of Nutella or jam on; if you prefer a savoury version, just top it with fish or cheese or anything else you may fancy. This particular recipe is one of my own, but again, it's very flexible, so you can add regular wheat flour or buckwheat flour or any other flour, as you please, rather than rye and spelt flour. You may have to adjust the baking time. One thing I really like to do is to take them out of the oven prematurely, after about 40-45 minutes. At this point they'll be softer than a regular knekkebrød; a mixture of regular bread and crisp bread. Experiment and suit it as you like. As we say in Norway, lukke til!
Do you have any favourite breakfast foods?
Do you have any favourite breakfast foods?
*My excuse for eating truckloads of croissants, which I really don't mind having for breakfast.
|Knekkebrød (Crispbread) |
Original recipe by © Marion Fløysvik
2 dl. rye flour
2 dl. spelt flour
4 dl. medium-sized oats
2 dl. sunflower seeds
2 dl. flax seeds
1 tsp. salt
4.5-5 dl. water
1.In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the water. Blend well together until a homogenous dough is formed.
2.Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Preheat a convection oven to 160C.
3.Using a spatula, divide the dough in two and spread each piece on the separate baking sheets. Spread the dough evenly and divide into suitable pieces with a pizza roller or knife.
4.Place one baking sheet at the bottom of the oven and the other one at the top. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, change the position of the two sheets.