Swedish Language Blog

Swedish hard bread is called Knäckebröd Posted by on Aug 23, 2011 in Living in Sweden

Knäckebröd is a crisp and hard bread made out of Swedish rye. About 85% of Swedish households eat “Knäckebröd”, compared to about 45% in Germany and only 8% in France. Knäckebröd originated in amongst others the province Värmland in Sweden. This hard bread is rolled out to thin, flat cakes with a blunt spiked rolling-pin, leaving the bread pattern marked. The rolled out cakes are then baked at a very high temperature for a short while and then let to dry.

Since Knäckebröd contains less than 10% water it is very easy to preserve, something that had great importance a long time ago when people had nothing but natural preservatives.

Knäckebröd is often made with rye whole meal, both fine and unground, but other types of flour are of course also used. Knäckebröd can shape-wise be either round or in squares, and in all sorts of sizes. It is quite common for knäckebröd to be made in big wheels with holes in the center. The holes were used to store the bread-wheels on a long pole from the ceiling.

Nowadays most knäckebröd is made industrially, though there are still people who make their own as well. Hand-made knäckebröd production is also a cultural attraction in tourist prehistoric villages where tourists can try making their own, or buy bread which has been made by the people who work there.


Tags: , , , , ,
Keep learning Swedish with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it


  1. John:

    I was brought up on “knakebrød” her in North Dakota. We had the round kind. I don’t remember seeing that in the supermarkets here recently. But, we do have the rectangular kind under the trade name “Wasa.”

    I prefer “flatbrød”, which is a thinner product made with little or no levening, made with various mixtures of wheat, rye and/or barley flour. I make my own (it is very easy). I think it is a necessary part of the annual Christmas eve lutefisk dinner.

    … john

  2. Rastik:

    Prior visiting Sweden I was aware only of knäckebröd. But after a few tries I prefer tunnbröd. It’s almost the same, it’s just a bit thinner and the taste differs a bit.

    I wonder – is flatbrød just a norwegian name for a tunnbröd?

  3. john:

    Yes, I think Swedish tunnbrød is about the same as Norwegian flatbrød.

    There is a WIKI article (with photos) on “tunnbrød” if interested. I had never before heard the word “tunnbrød.” Thanks, it’s good to learn a new Swedish word.