Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Flatbread With The Babes

I've mostly had flatbread at restaurants, topped with delicious things like sautéed mushrooms and melted cheese. Making my own had never occurred to me, but our Kitchen of the Month, Kelly of A Messy Kitchen challenged us this month with Norrländska Hällakakor, a traditional flatbread from Sweden, originally baked in a pan or on a heated flat rock which had been placed over an open fire. 

The recipe she gave had rye flour and caraway seeds, but I'm not a big fan of either, so I substituted stoneground barley flour for the rye flour and skipped any seeds. I used whole wheat flour, too, so there was plenty of flavor from the flours. 

This is an easy recipe. I made the dough the night before I baked the flatbreads, which allowed them to develop even more flavor. I rolled them fairly thin and used a wooden muddler to dock the dough and make the indents since I had neither the rolling pin with ridges nor any other implement to allow for some sunken places and some high places. The muddler had a pattern similar to a meat mallet and it worked well, even if it took some time to work the whole piece of dough (since the muddler is about an inch in diameter). I brought a piece to my trainer at the gym and she thought that it had come from a restaurant!

As long as you don't over-bake it, this makes a delightful flatbread. The parts that are pressed thin are a bit crisp and the parts that are higher are soft and risen. When warm it makes a great bread to scoop with, as you would some stews, or can be used in a dip.

To be a Buddy, bake the flatbread (original recipe can be found on Kelly's page HERE), and send her an email with your URL and a photo of the finished bread or post it on the Facebook page. Deadline is November 29th.

Do visit the other Babes sites to see what they did with this delicious bread! (If you view this blog in "web view", you will see links to the other Babes in a box to the right and below the archive years and below the followers.)

Hallakor - Swedish flatbread

Makes: 8 pieces

350 g wholemeal wheat flour
62 g wholemeal rye flour (I used stoneground barley flour)
1 g (1/4 teaspoon) baking powder dissolved in water ( or use deer horn salt or baker's ammonia)
6 g yeast (about 2 teaspoons)
25 g golden syrup or honey
20 g butter
235 g milk (dairy or non-dairy are both OK)
1/2 teaspoon caraway, aniseed or fennel seed, crushed in a mortal/pestle - optional

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and knead thoroughly for 15 minutes. (I had to stop and let the machine cool about half way through...this is a very stiff dough). Let rise for 6 hours at room temperature and knock back and briefly knead 2 - 4 times between. (The dough can also be chilled overnight, which I did.)

Cut off ~85 gram portions and shape into round balls. Flour lightly and let rise briefly, about 20 minutes. Roll out round dough circles to about 25 cm or 9-inches with a notched or regular rolling pin. Dock well is using a regular flat rolling pin. If using a grooved pin, follow with the notched pin. (I used a flat pin to roll out and then docked with a 1-inch diameter wooden muddler.)

Preheat the oven (and a baking stone or steel, if possible) to the highest possible temperature - about 500 degrees F/260 degrees C. Ideally place the flatbread directly on the preheated baking stone or steel and bake them into golden soft flatbread, baking for 3 - 4 minutes each piece. If you don't have a stone or baking steel, bake on parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Serve warm. Good with slated butter or grated cheese.


  1. Great idea to use barley. I bet your breads had a lovely flavor. And I agree about not overbaking them.

  2. I have that tool you used. Your flatbreads look perfect!

  3. All that labor turned out beautifully! I just realized I have a muddle with a diamond pattern too, but boy is it small!

  4. How brilliant are you to a.) use a muddler, and b.) have a muddler in the first place? Your bread looks beautiful. I'm also glad to hear that the barley flour works well.

    Great. Now I want yet another kitchen implement that won't fit because we already have too many. ;-)

  5. I'm guessing it would be a great scooper for a thick stew..... Love barley!

  6. The muddle work wonderfully! Very impressive. Our creativity is rewarding!
    Your barley did much better than mine.
    Lovely breads!

  7. That turned out great! Yes, there is a bit of experimentation to find the right cooking time.

  8. Your flatbreads are lovely. Looks like your muddler worked perfectly. Mine is plain on the bottom surface.
    I read that the Swedish originally made their flatbreads with barley flour! :D

  9. Cathy, yes, the barley flour gives a lovely flavor.
    I bought it just for this challenge when I couldn't find my wooden meat mallet. Worked well!
    Kelly, Great recipe and challenge! It is small, but was the only thing I could find that seemed right.
    Elizabeth, This barley flour was milled in Napa county, so pretty local for me and delicious since it is whole grain. Muddler might fit in your kitchen...it's pretty small.
    Katie, yes, I had it with butter (non-dairy) but it would work well with a stew for scooping. It was thin and just a bit flexible.
    Tanna, you are my inspiration for creative...along with Cathy...you both try lots of different grains.
    Karen, yes, I almost burned mine.
    Aparna, it would make sense for the original to be made with barley...it was widely grown and used in Europe and the UK and Ireland.