Monday, January 7, 2013

A New Viking Flatbread Recipe and Another Cookbook

Happy New Year!

I've been a bit too preoccupied with my job situation, and with holiday visitors, to dwell on historic cooking projects, but the other day I ran across a blog associated with the Ringkøbing-Skjern Museum, a Danish museum that engages in a lot of Viking lifestyle-re-creation types of projects. The blog published a Viking flatbread recipe they have experimented with. It uses one part wheat flour to two parts rye flour, along with a bit of honey, a small amount of cardamom, and a handful of raisins for flavoring. The flatbread recipe can be found in this entry, and I intend to try it out at my first opportunity, because it sounds tasty (even though I'm not convinced that most Vikings would have had cardamom handy).

 In addition, the Museum's Shop features another cookbook with putative Viking recipes. They describe it as "a cookbook for the modern Viking". The cost is about $30 USD (before postage), but since the book is written in Danish, I don't expect to be purchasing it anytime soon. If I change my mind and obtain a copy, I will write about it here.


  1. that recipe is really interesting. I might experiment with it- i am wondering if replacing the water with some small mead or rye beer will make it fluffy....

    1. The museum's blog claims that it is already fluffy. More precisely, they emphasize using as little flour as possible so the bread dough is soft and elastic and the finished product is "airy." However, replacing the water with mead or beer may do interesting things for the flavor so by all means experiment! And please let me know how your bread comes out!

    2. first round of experiment, i quartered the recipe (because otherwise that's a LOT!), and wanted to try w/out the raisins and cardamon at first.
      -I definitely needed more water (or less flour) than the base recipe to get the dough to kneadable and to form gluten. I guess maybe they mixed the flour and only added it to the water bit by bit?
      -I was unable to get it to puff up indoors on a tortilla cast iron pan (just smoke and burned dough, very minimal bubbles). I didn't have an open fire but have a gas grill. by putting the grill on max and placing the dough disks on the hot spot, it did successfully fluff from steam (I got this idea from directions to making naan w/out a tandoori oven).
      -without the raisins and cardamon, it is very plain, bland (odd w/ that rye flour!), BUT, served as an excellent topping transfer device, performing equally well with honey as hummus or chunky spaghetti sauce. if you use the raisins, cut them up small or the texture will be weird.
      -the hotter you can bake it, the fluffier it gets, but because of the germier grain will never be as fluffy as naan (but is still good!)
      -if not eating immediately (say, transporting in a warming dish or tortilla box), once they come off the grill do a light brush of diluted butter on each side, helps keep it soft.
      -I haven't tried the booze add-in, yet, but it should add some flavor profile.
      -it works as well w/ barley flour as rye, I haven't tried spelt (just used what was on hand, and from what i gather barley was more common in eastern norseland and rye in western, I think, so wanted to play w/ it).

  2. The blog says the recipe is for 30 people, so yes, quite a bit of reduction of the formula will be needed. :-)

    You're probably right that they added water bit-by-bit. I had to do that on the last flatbread recipe I tried, just to get the dough to be shapable.

    Thanks for your cooking suggestions, especially the one about the raisins and the butter--I wouldn't have thought of either.

    I like barley flour better than rye flour, though I will probably try both versions.