Recently the good folk at the Folk, Viking and Pagan Metal Facebook Page posted an article on cooking authentic Knekkebrød, or crisp bread, made by the Vikings. I liked the sound of this crisp break, and I love trying authentic food from my heritage. (Hence I am a huge fan of traditional German food.)
I pulled the recipe from RecipeReminiscing as the instructions on the link on Facebook were a bit confusing. The ingredients for the crisp bread are as follows:
0.5 jug lukewarm water
6 cups rye flour
6 cups wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 cups rye flour for rolling out the dough
1 jug = approximately 2 pt. / 1 litre
1 cup = approximately 0,3 pt. / 1,5 d
To me that seemed like a lot of bread, and while we like bread in my household we don’t eat quite that much of it, so I halved the recipe. Also, I found that 1 liter of water is about 4.25 cups.
Now I made a mistake, and I will go into that later, but instead of halving half a jug (1/4 liter of water, or just over a cup of water) I put in a full liter (4.25 cups) of water in the recipe, so my ingredients will reflect that mistake, and I will talk about this and my recommendations later in this post.
The recipe I made was as follows:
4.25 cups/1 liter lukewarm water
3 cups rye flour
3 cups wheat flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1.5 (approximately) cups rye flour for rolling out the dough
From the RecipeReminiscing site:
“Mix all the ingredients and knead well. Divide the dough in 20 pieces and form into balls. Roll out each ball in plenty of rye flour until thin and round. Cut out a hole in the middle of each crisp bread and prick them with a fork. Or if you prefer, cut the dough into strips instead of rounds.
The fireplace must be warmed up well ahead. Before placing the crisp breads on the bottom of the fireplace, sweep it to remove ashes. Turn the crisp breads when slightly browned.”
While I didn’t use unbleached flour (and would be interested in how that affects the recipe), I got organic rye flour from Natural Grocers from near where I live in Nebraska. I don’t have a fireplace in this house, so I set my oven to “Bake” on 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mixing was quick and easy. You just throw everything together and mix it the olde fashioned Viking way. (With a Kitchenaid.)
Then I covered my countertop with the rye flour and set the mixed dough to the side. I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to measure out the dough, and I used cooking stones. Once the glob of dough was covered and rolled in flour it was much easier to manipulate without it getting stuck to my hands.
My daughter, Nikita, helped me with the first round of Knekkebrød.
You see a rolling pin in the pictures. Don’t use it. It caused more hassle in this process than it helped.
In the smaller round stone I put flour down to help the crisp bread not stick. This was a mistake. For one, the flour used to roll the dough and then flatten it was enough. The excess flour in the stone made for a mess and a thick coating on the bread.
Once I had the pieces flattened in the stones I put them in the oven. The first batch I put in for twenty (20) minutes, partially because the stones would take time to heat up.
In this batch I tried to keep the bread round on the rectangular stone…and then realized that was unnecessary.
Once the 20 minutes was up I flipped the bread and cooked for another fifteen (15) minutes.
And hail! My first batch of Knekkebrød. It turned out really good! Now, like I said I added too much water (a full liter for half a batch) and so I could tell the bread, especially the thicker piece in the round stone, were a little softer than is described. It’s still good, though.
The bread was amazing with the raw local honey from It’s All About Bees in Ralston, Nebraska. The picture to the right is of the first pieces…minus one the one in the left picture because I ate it. The rye and cumin give the bread a very earthy flavor.
Knowing I made the pieces a bit too thick, the second and last batch I made sure the pieces were thinner. This time, with the stones already hot, I put the bread in for 15 minutes per side.
Even with the added water, the thinner bread came out very hard and crisp.
First and foremost, make the pieces as thin as possible. Using less dough and cooking a third batch would have prevented the somewhat softer bread that came out.
Second, make sure to read the amount of water and properly scale it. While the thinner pieces in the second batch are hard and crisp, with 1-1/8 cup of water or so all of the bread would have been crisper, which is my understanding what the bread should be. Maybe more like a cracker than bread?
Finally, get more dirty. Had my son helped we would have had a wild good time with the flour!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little post of my cooking experiment. I really enjoyed making the knekkebrød, and my whole family is loving it and want to make more in the future.
Have you made knekkebrød before? What are your thoughts?
Until next time!. . .
About a month ago my wife and I experienced the Perfect Week through Eat Fit Go. We are working hard to keep off the fat, and burn more, and wanted to try Eat Fit Go’s Perfect Week deal in order to help us reach our goals. My wife, our children, and I already love Eat Fit Go’s pre-prepared healthy meals, and it seemed like a cool idea to give it a shot.
What is Eat Fit Go
Eat Fit Go is a health food store that sells healthy pre-packaged meals and snacks for adults and kids. It’s kind of a restaurant – you can heat up your meal and sit down to eat it in their store locations if you’d like. But the Eat Fit Go locations are classified as food stores, like a Baker’s/Kroger’s, Food Lion, or Publix.
Eat Fit Go isn’t everywhere. As this map from their site shows they’re mostly in the Mid-West. Of course, there’s a strong concentration here in God’s Country (Nebraska).
That said, if you are interested in opening one of these great stores, there is franchising information on their website.
The Perfect Week is 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners, 5 snacks, and 5 protein bars for one low price.
For small meals it’s $149 for everything, while large meals brings the cost up to $169.
For my wife and I we paid $318 for five days of food for the both of us (smalls for her, larges for me).
The people in the store we go to (in West Omaha) are always very professional and knowledgeable. They were able to give us all the information we needed. When we did start picking out meals and snacks, one employee stood with us and helped us the whole time. We were in and out in less than 30min – part of that 30min was due to us having to corral our children, and had nothing to do with the Eat Fit Go personnel.
The meals themselves were delicious. Their two new offerings, Meatball Zoodles and Steak or Chicken Cauli bowls, are definitely my new favorites.
I actually ended up eating more calories than I’m used to. Without consuming alcohol or sweets this week, I lost about 2lbs (from 213lbs to 211lbs) in spite of the increased caloric intake.
I am usually a huge proponent of cooking for oneself. It’s generally (not always) healthier, and it’s definitely cheaper. I can make meals for 1/10 the cost of something I’d buy at a restaurant, or even a pre-made meal. I also thoroughly enjoy cooking, especially bigger meals. I really enjoy meal prep on Sundays, too – it’s almost therapeutic.
That said, not having to cook for my wife and myself for a week was nice. We could throw something together for the kids that would take 15-20min, and then all we would need to do is warm our Eat Fit Go meals in the microwave. 2min of cool down and we were ready to eat. We’ve also been doing a lot fewer dishes this week.
The protein bars are all RXBARs. Just basic ingredients and no B.S. and they are delicious. My favorites are the chocolate peanut butter and the chocolate sea salt.
What I Would Have Done Differently
Our Perfect Week was close to perfect. There were some things I would have done differently.
First, I am an endomorph, and carbs hold onto me and take weeks or months of healthy eating and training to let go. Doing this again I would have picked meals that were super high protein while being super low carbs, like the “Look Good Naked Chicken”, and more Cauli bowls. I did lose some weight during this week, but not what I had shot for.
Which goes to my next point. I would have waited until the Eat Fit Go location we were at had restocked on Sunday, rather than grabbing everything the Friday before we started. This limited our options a bit, and some of the meals I wanted had been sold out, and I felt a bit rushed to “grab and go”. Next time I’ll take a step back, see what they have available first, then decide to get my Perfect Week then or not.
Our experience with Eat Fit Go’s Perfect Week deal was really good, and we enjoyed the delicious prepared meals (as well as not having to do quite so many dishes). While this isn’t an every month thing (maybe every other month?), the Perfect Week is a nice healthy break every once in a while.
Have you tried Eat Fit Go’s Perfect Week? Or any of their snacks and meals? What are your thoughts?
Until next time. . .
Twas a glorious four days in August of 2014 when my wife, daughter, and brother made the long, arduous trek to Indianapolis, Indiana for Gen Con 2014.
During the best four days in gaming in 2014, my brother and I went “halvsies” on the Dropzone Commander two-player starter box. I was immediately intrigued by the game with its miniatures engineered to fit together. Most of the dropships could actually carry the vehicles they were meant to. Everything fit perfectly. The designers are lifelong geeks, and they were, and still are, dedicated to that level of detail.
The universe itself is incredible. The story of Dropzone Commander begins with D+250 with humanity, under the United Colonies of Man, fighting the vile, parasitic Scourge to take back the fertile cradle worlds, the most important of which is Earth itself. In the midst of the chaos are the Resistance fighters on each world, some friendly to the UCM, some fighting for their own power. The clan-like Shaltari, once friends to humanity, now fight for their own aims. The Post Human Republic, a race of advanced humans, fight the UCM and the Scourge, but to what ends only they know.
The gameplay is awesome. It is fast and common sense, yet still dynamic enough to force the commander (player) to sit and think of their tactics, and overall strategy. I have played 700 point games in an hour and a half, and that is quite a few models on the board. I cannot wait to play larger 1,000 to 2,000 point games.
The group I play with doesn’t know the love and joy of Classic Battletech, but I constantly tell them that Dropzone Commander is what Battletech: Alpha Strike should have been. Not the models or the universe, of course, but the rules and playability. While I’m sure playing enough Alpha Strike will help keep the rules fresh in one’s mind, they are easily forgotten. I hadn’t played a game of Dropzone Commander in a year and a half, and I still remembered 90% of the rules. (It had been a busy year and a half, and all gaming went to the wayside with family, moving homes, our wedding, and work commitments.)
I wonder what would happen if Catalyst Game Labs got license to use the DZC system…
Things that make you go: hmm…
On top of it all, Hawk Wargames, the company that makes DZC, keeps their miniatures relatively cheap. I can get a handful of miniatures for $30-$40. This is great for a family man on a budget. I can slowly but surely build the army I want. It may take a month or two, but it’s not like Warhammer 40K where just one squad, or miniature, can wipe out a man’s gaming budget for the month. In fact, the cost of getting started in DZC is $44 for a starter set, which gives you from 540 to about 600 points, depending on the faction.
Even the books are cheap. I can get the first expansion book, “Reconquest: Phase 1”, for about $20 on Miniature Market. That’s a lot better than the $40-$60 I would drop for Battletech’s latest rulebooks.
Below are some pictures of my most recent game (two weeks ago) between my Scourge and an opponent’s UCM.
Though I lost, my Scourge put up one hell of a fight!
Hawk Wargames recently wrapped up a Kickstarter for their space ship battles game, Dropfleet Commander. The smallest ship carries 100 dropships. That is an insane scale. What’s even better is that Dropfleet Commander and Dropzone Commander will be playable together. Talk about epic scale!
I highly recommend Dropzone Commander to anyone who loves miniature wargames on a large scale.
And if you want a play a game with me, I am usually at the Game Shoppe in Bellevue, Nebraska on Thursday nights.
Until next time…
So it’s been almost two weeks since my last blog post. Life is busy as usual. Kids are crazy. My waifu needs love. I have work and the National Guard. Blogging seems to take a back seat.
And that’s okay.
But now, with my son napping, and my wife and daughter running errands, it’s just me and the doges outside.
My phone says it’s 48 degrees out. I think it’s lying. It feels so much warmer.
I took the day off for St. Patrick’s Day. While I’m part Irish, and a good Catholic, I did not start drinking until 11:30AM Central (in ‘Merica). I know, I’m way behind. But at least I’m not committing the mortal sin of not drinking on St. Patty’s Day.
Though we don’t get Yuengling in Nebraska, we do have Lucky Bucket and it’s just as good, in my opinion. And I’ll be drinking plenty today.
So happy St. Patrick’s Day from me and mine to you and yours. 🙂
Until next time!…
Before last Wednesday (February 17th) I had never played a Tabletop RPG.
I had played plenty of video game RPGs. The Final Fantasy series. Skyrim. Balder’s Gate. World of Warcraft. Warhammer Online. Just to name a few.
And of course I’m a tabletop game player. Battletech, Warmachine, and Infinity are just some of my favorites. I’ve played Star Trek: Attack Wing, and the Star Wars fighter game. And I love board games like Takenoko.
But tabletop RPGs never attracted my attention. Maybe some of this was the stigma of the people who played tabletop RPGs – then again that same stigma is attached (or at least used to be) those who play miniature war-games. For whatever reason I was just never interested in getting into tabletop RPGs.
That changed recently – and by recently I mean GenCon 2014. I decided I’d try to get RPG’ing a shot and went to a Shadowrun character creation seminar at GenCon ’14. It was interesting but I really should have gone to a RPG session seminar. While waiting to start the seminar I was talking to three guys that had just wrapped up playing some D&D 5th edition. At that time 5th edition was relatively new and they were ecstatic about it. On top of that, they broke the tabletop-RPG’er-mold. They looked like normal bros doing bro stuff. And if they were down for D&D, then I could be down, too.
Fast forward a little over 18 months later and my gaming group has been disbanded for a while. I was being a bad member myself and, though I paid my dues, I was not attending with any regularity. Other members were going regularly – but not paying dues. And overall the group had shrunk and money in the war chest wasn’t matching rent for the store front. The gaming group closed, and I was left flapping in the wind, tabletop game-wise.
Within the last two weeks I had begun to adamantly look for a new gaming venue. I need tabletop gaming like some people need to watch their favorite shows weekly. It’s both an escape, and a mental exercise that keeps my mentally sharp. Previewing the events at the local game shop (called The Game Shoppe) here in Bellevue, NE I saw there were D&D demo games every Wednesday. After about a year and a half, I was ready to try a tabletop RPG.
My wife lovingly gave me a lot of crap for it. 🙂
And so, February the 17th I ventured into the cold Nebraskan night to try Dungeons and Dragons.
Overall it was fun. I created a human barbarian named Lothar (of the Hill People) and played with two other people who had low-level characters. Our DM was asked by his group at the last minute to be the DM for the newer, lower level players, and so he was unprepared and had trouble reading the quest notes on the tablet he was using. But we killed some wild dogs and saved a tiefling adolescent, and killed some red-furred goats. I got 100XP out of the whole ordeal. The other players seemed like good guys and we quested decently together.
The group was very inviting and helpful. They offered assistance and resources (like miniatures and pencils) freely and made sure I generally felt welcomed.
I plan to go back this coming Wednesday in order to get more experience. Hopefully things are a little more organized and our DM a little more prepared, or at least ready to DM on the fly. If not, I can watch the group play and see how they play.
Next I may get into Battletech: A Time of War RPG. Who knows?
And if you’re in the Bellevue, NE area and want to game let me know!
Until next time!…