Viking bread!

From The History Blog, in a post on some Viking artifacts at a museum:

They even have bread loaves that appear to have survived thanks to carbonization, like the bread from Herculaneum. The Viking bread found in Birka, Sweden, was analyzed and the likely recipe recreated. It’s ridiculously healthy, made primarily from barley flour and including flax seeds. If you’d like to try your hand at making it yourself, here’s the recipe:

Viking Bread

About 150 g barley flour
About 50 g wholemeal flour
2 tsp crushed flax seeds
About 100 ml water
2 tsp lard or butter
A pinch of salt

Work all the ingredients together into a dough and knead. If the dough is too wet or hard, add flour or water. Let the dough rest cold for at least one hour, preferably longer.

Shape the dough into flat cakes (about 1/2cm thick). Bake them in a dry cast iron pan on the stove over medium heat, a few minutes on each side, or in the oven at 150 degrees, for 10–13 minutes.

****

I’d replace the lard or butter with vegetable oil or margarine for Vegan Viking bread.  The flax seeds are kind of surprising.  I’ve been adding crushed flax seeds to my bread and pizza dough for a couple of years now, although I understand that baking them at high temperature I’d normally use probably ruins some of the omega-3 goodness.  I assume the above recipe calls for 150 degrees Celsius, or about 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  150 grams of flour is a little under 1 1/4 cups (1.2 actually) and the 50 grams is 2/5 of a cup, but a half cup should not spoil the recipe, just add a little more water. 100 ml is a hair over 3 1/3 ounces.  So if we were to Americanize the recipe, it should look something like:

Viking Bread

1 1/4 cup barley flour
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
2 tsp crushed flax seeds
About 1/2 cup water
2 tsp vegetable oil
A pinch of salt

Work all the ingredients together into a dough and knead. If the dough is too wet or hard, add flour or water. Let the dough rest cold for at least one hour, preferably longer.

Shape the dough into flat cakes (about 1/4 inch thick). Bake them in a dry cast iron pan on the stove over medium heat, a few minutes on each side, or in the oven at 300 degrees, for 10–13 minutes.

I’ll try to test this out this weekend!

I understand the British version of the recipe would be: “combine ingredients and boil until uniformly grey,” in fact any recipe can be converted to British style that way, or so I’ve heard.

Published in: on July 24, 2013 at 10:22 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Did you happen to make the bread? How did it turn out?

    • No, too many other things popped up. I did not even pick up any barley flour, though I do have some whole grain barley and could conceivably mill itin the wife’s super-blender. Maybe this coming weekend. Still a little leery of the fact it is unleavened!

  2. This looks awesome. I dig your blog nicely done.


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