Thursday, August 9, 2012

A soft Swedish flatbread

It was one of those breads that my sisters and I used to eat as we were growing up. After school we´d all come home and gather around the table to have our afternoon "fika" with fresh bread, butter, cheese, ham and marmalade. It was probably one of the best moments of the day... eating moms freshly homemade bread with the family. 

So, what makes these round Swedish flat breads so special? Well, I can start off by telling you that in the authentic recipe for Hönökaka, there is a combination of 3 spices that is common for a lot of Swedish breads. To some this might seem crazy but the recipe actually calls for 1 tsp of ground fennel, anise and cumin (brödkryddor/breadspices). It gives the bread a unique flavor, and is definitely worth trying if you want to step out of your bread baking comfort zone.

Makes about 12 hönökakor
50 g fresh yeast
100 g butter salted
0,5 litre of 2 % milk
1,5 tsp salt
4 tbs sugar/corn syrup
1 tsp finely ground fennel, anise and cumin
4 dl graham flour/whole wheat flour
6-7 dl of high protein flour (King Arthur)

How to do it:

Start off by melting the butter. Add the milk and warm it until lukewarm (37˚C/ 98˚F). With fresh yeast, you need to crumble it into small bits in a bowl. Add the lukewarm milk and butter to the yeast and mix well. Add the salt, sugar, spices and flour and mix well, either manually or in a bread dough mixer. When the dough starts to release from the sides, but is still a little bit sticky, sprinkle some flour on it, cover it with a towel and put it someplace warm to let it rise for 1-2 hours. When it is done rising it should have doubled in size.

Turn the dough over on a floured surface and kneed it until it has a nice, flexible consistency. Divide it in half and cut each half into 6 pieces. Use a rolling pin to get each piece of dough flattened out until about half an inch thick. When done with this, use a fork to poke holes all over the surface of the dough. Otherwise it will fill up with air in the oven. Turn the oven on, about (275˚C/530˚F). Let the flatbreads rise for another hour before cooking in the oven. When I cooked my flatbreads in the oven I used a pizza stone, in order to get the nice golden color on both sides. 3-4 minutes is all it takes to get the flatbread soft on the inside and nice, golden brown on the outside.

Best way to enjoy a Hönökaka is to eat it warm (preferrably fresh out of the oven) with butter on it. The butter melts and the Hönökaka soaks up all the juiciness. It is insanely good :)

Fika (pronounced "fee-ka") is a social institution in Sweden, which most commonly means taking a break with one´s colleagues/familymembers in the afternoon to have coffee/tea with smörgåsar (open faced sandwiches), cookies or kanelbullar (cinnamon rolls).