Hällakakor #BBB

Norrländska Hällakakor is a traditional flatbread from Sweden.  And while the typical Knäckebröd is a crispbread, Hällakakor is more like a soft, flat, thin cake.  It is often consumed generously spread with nice, salty butter and most definitely while still warm.  Cheese is another common topping.  These breads were originally baked as thin flat cakes in a pan or on a scorching hot flat stone over an open fire. I believe if they are pan fried, they can also be known as stekpannebröd.  Made with a little fat and syrup, (Swedish syrup appears to be very similar to golden syrup), they should be baked only briefly to keep them soft. The dough can be seasoned with aniseed and fennel, or caraway, or left plain.  I chose caraway for mine since I went with a wholemeal spelt and rye mix for my dough and caraway and rye are best friends.  (Also found out that caraway is called cumin in Sweden.)  However, Hällakakor can be made with any combination of flours, or just all purpose if desired.  I have seen many combinations of wheat, rye and barley in various recipes.  I have seen them used as a taco shell, topped with all manner of breakfast options like eggs and salmon mousse and caviar and also used as the bread for the Swedish Sandwich Cake, (Smörgåstårta), which is a layered presentation sandwich.

As far as the rolling pins are concerned, I was able to get the deep, notched pin, called a kuskavel, on amazon, which is unfortunately not currently available now.  However, I was never able to find a large randkavel with wide grooves and contented myself with a tagliatelle cutting roller.  At the time that was the widest cutter available, but recently I have seen a pappardelle cutter, though you would have to be careful not to press hard at all!  And another option that is more a roller than a cutter and could be a good pattern!  Even a meat tenderizer that has the diamond shaped nubs on the end could work.  But as these breads were originally just flat breads and can still be cooked plainly that way, I figured I could always make something work with a pizza wheel or just simple and generous docking.  (If you want to see a babe who went all out on testing out shaping without getting a new rolling pin, go see Elizabeth's post!)  I do like having the notched pin because that can work for all kinds of crackers and flat breads.  Hubby does love rye crisps...


Air bubbles and the brown border are the signal to pull it out.   Thinner breads are more likely to have air pockets, and you don't want to over bake, lest they lose their softness.  My breads rolled solely with the notched roller did not tend to have pockets, but the ones rolled thin with a regular pin and then the grooved cutter and notched roller did have them.  I observed that the pre-packaged, store bought Hällakaka seemed to be much thicker than all the homemade Hällakakor versions I saw online.  
Purchased Hällakaka
I went with the thinner versions and baked only a few minutes to not over crisp them.  Evidently in Sweden it used to be customary for residents to hang their Hällakakor in the attic and dry them.  The dried bread was for the winter rations and they were quite hard.

Hällakakor can be frozen and then reheated straight out of the freezer on a flat toaster, toaster oven, or hot pan.  They should refresh well and taste like they were freshly baked out of the oven.  They are lovely with butter and jam or syrup, or with mascarpone and jam.  They are just as good with an herbed cheese spread or to sop up stew or curry.  We would love for you to try out this flat bread with us this month and share how you used it!  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.

Hällakakor - Swedish flatbread
Makes: 8 pieces

350 g wholemeal wheat flour (I used fresh milled)
62 g wholemeal rye flour (I used fresh milled)
1 g (¼ tsp) deer horn salt (baker's ammonia), dissolved in water (you can use baking powder instead)
6 g yeast
8 g sea salt
25 g golden syrup or honey
20 g butter
235g milk (dairy or non dairy works fine) (You may need an extra tbsp or so depending on the flour used, some of the babes had their dough turn out a bit dry and too stiff as written)
(crushed caraway, aniseed or fennel may be added - I used ~½ tsp caraway, crushed in a mortar/pestle)

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and knead thoroughly for 15 minutes. Let rise for 6 hours at room temperature and knock back and briefly knead 2-4 times in between.  (The dough can also be chilled overnight.)

Cut off ~85 g portions and shape into round balls.  Flour lightly and let rise briefly, about 20 minutes.  Roll out round dough circles to about 25cm or 9in with a notched or regular rolling pin.  Dock well if using a flat rolling pin.  If using a grooved pin, follow with the notched pin.

Preheat the oven to the highest possible temperature (~500ºF/260ºC) and ideally place the flatbread directly on a baking stone or steel and bake them into golden, soft flatbread.  Bake for 3-4 minutes each.


The rest of the Bread Baking Babes




  1. I like the look of all the different ways you scored your breads but I especially like that notched rolling pin.

  2. Your purchased flatbreads look much like the ones I made with barley. My barley flatbreads tasted lovely but texture was crumbly; I wouldn’t do them again that way.
    We absolutely LOVED the whole wheat and rye! Thanks for this one Kelly.

  3. Your Hällakakor are so beautiful. They look like beautiful quilts.

    This project was so fun, Kelly! This recipe is definitely a keeper.

    I confess that I too am quite envious of your notched rolling pin. Alas, I'm still too tight-fisted to get one though.

  4. Thanks for such a fun bake! I love your lovely cross hatch pattern. I want that past roller!

  5. Lovely flatbreads - I've never heard of them. Now I want them.....

  6. Your flatbreads are absolutely perfect, patterns and all! Thanks for a lovely recipe for us to bake this month. I learnt something new.


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