The flatbreads of Scandinavia are so diverse they carry distinct regional names. They can be delicate, almost paper-thin, or thick and crisp with seeds, such as caraway, poppy and flax. This recipe is an adaptation of the unusual flatbread of Alesund, a town on the west coast of Norway. It combines beer and rye bread to create a cracker with some of the living flavors of sourdough. The taste goes beautifully with cheese, cured meat or fish, and pickled vegetables. The crackers taste different each time you make them, depending on the beer and bread used.
• 8 ounces preservative-free rye bread with seeds, torn into chunks
• 2 cups beer
• 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Soak bread in beer for at least 8 hours or overnight. Leave crust on for more chew, but if it is extra-hard, tear it into tiny pieces.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat. Drain bread, discarding beer. With your hands, squeeze out excess moisture. Transfer bread to a bowl and knead in butter and salt — it will be a very wet mass.
3. Scoop half of mixture onto each baking sheet. Moisten your palms with cold water and pat each mass into a very thin round, no more than 1/8 inch thick and about 11 inches wide. It is helpful to press gently out from the center to the edges. Patch any holes that appear.
4. Bake crackers until nicely browned and dry to the touch, about 35 minutes. Slide them onto racks to cool. Break into irregular pieces to serve. When kept in an airtight container, the crackers will remain crisp for several days.
Take a culinary trip with more Nordic food in The Nordic Diet: Healthy Eating with an Environmental Bent.