Rye not?

I miss a number of things about living in the Netherlands - mostly I miss my wonderful family living there.  But I also miss a couple of common or everyday Dutch items like beautiful dark bread.
Dutch people, much like other Northern Europeans, love their dark bread and take it seriously. I remember strolling markets and stores and seeing shelves stocked with many different shades of dark bread – baguettes to rolls to crispbread. Hardly any white bread was to be found. Given how healthy dark, whole grains are, I think this is a great way to approach eating.
Rye is one of those strong grains – hearty and rich with lots of flavour. I wanted to make a type of roggebrood (famous dutch rye bread), but I wanted it to be a snack like crispbread. I added caraway – a famous spice added to rye breads. Caraway lends a lovely perfume, almost like licorice but not entirely like anise seed. I also added pink sea salt before baking which added the perfect touch to the dense yet crispy rye.
I used my snack bread to create these little pink hors d’oevres. I topped the rye breads with smoked salmon, lemony cream cheese, fresh dill and shibazuke pickles (a Japanese pickled vegetable that you can find at most Asian food stores). I simply love the colour combination of the dark brown with different shades of pink and bright green. Almost looks too good to eat doesn’t it? Almost…

rye crispbread
makes approximately 24 crispbreads
recipe slightly adapted from epicurious  
*use organic if available

1 tsp active dried yeast
1 cup warm water
1 1/3 cup rye flour
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp caraway seeds, toasted
1 1/2 tsp pink sea salt

cream cheese spread
1/2 cup cream cheese
2 tbsp yoghurt
1/2 lemon for juice (1 tsp zest)
salt and pepper

4-6 oz thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into smallish pieces
24 pieces shibazuke pickles (if you can’t get these use slices of pink ginger)
sprigs of fresh dill
To make the crispbreads: first mix together yeast with warm water and let stand until foamy (around 5 minutes or so).  In a large bowl* add 1 cup rye and 1 cup plain flour, caraway seeds, and half the salt and mix in with yeast water mixture until incorporated. Gradually mix in remaining flour (2/3 cup).  Mix dough well until it begins to pull away from sides of the bowl, then knead/mix another 5 minutes.

Gather dough into ball and place into oiled bowl. Cover bowl with wrap and leave in warmish area to proof – takes about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Cut dough in half and flatten each piece with lightly floured fingers to form 2 (6 by 4-inch) rectangles. Let stand a few minutes and roll out each piece onto lightly floured surface into a 15-by-10-inch rectangle (1/8 inch thick).  Transfer each sheet to lightly oiled baking sheet. Cut edges to make it look more neat and then dock all over with tines of fork. Let rest 10 minutes, cover with damp cloth.  I made perforated lines with a pizza cutter – not cutting through all the way but tracing to ensure that it would be easy to break off once baked. You could do this with the fork as well. Sprinkle with the rest of the salt.

Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching halfway between until golden and crisp, roughly 20 minutes. Take out and let cool. Break into pieces.

To make spread: mix cream cheese, yoghurt and lemon zest and juice.  At first it seems like it won’t mix smoothly but keep mixing! Add salt and pepper.  Spread onto cooled crispbreads, top with slices of salmon, a pickle and sprig of dill. Voila!

 *I didn’t use an electric mixer since I don’t have one but the old fashioned way - using my hands and muscles - worked just as well!


  1. Hi there, I just found this post via tastespotting and have to say that I too adore dark rye breads (and crackers), but also that you have a fantastic site. So many great recipes that are completely my taste, gorgeous photos and layout, and relaxed writing style. I see that your site is fairly new too, but it's obvious that you'll have tons of followers in no time.

  2. Hi, it's my first time on your blog. I glad I've found you. Your pictures are stunning :)

  3. And I'm dutch (lol)...you are so right...I love dark bread. I never eat white bread. Always brown or dark brown.

  4. I love these crackers...I like the fact they're not white. I love rye...such a great earthy flavour!

  5. Hi all - thanks for stopping by and the lovely words!

    Siri - it's wonderful we share the same taste! I will be checking out your blog/recipes too.

    Babs - love that I met a 'dutch' blogger!

    Charissa - I use dark, wholesome grains for baking a lot of the time so stay tuned!

  6. What a fantastic idea. Would never think to make my own rye crackers but these look delicious!

  7. Your wonderful way of writing makes my mouth water and makes me realize that I have to miss out on your fantastic delicious cooking!

  8. I can believe you miss things from Holland.
    I'm a belgian girl (and a dutch blogger) and when I'm on vacation for one week, I really miss the good cheese, dark bread, 'stroopwafels', etc.

    Lovely blog!

  9. Thanks for the comments! It's wonderful to meet so many bloggers and lovers of food. Happy to know you're enjoying some of my favourite recipes/foods. Stay tuned for more!

  10. U have a gorgeous space here with beautiful photographs. I heart the picture of the fork on the rolled out dough. as for the recipe - scrumptious! and a lovely lyrical name .. meandering mango.. i can say it over and over again.

  11. Beautiful pictures!

    I really like your recipe for cream cheese spread. I think it would go well on a number of my sandwiches too :)

  12. Thanks for the kind words about my photos.! I hope you try the recipe and yes, the cream cheese spread would work just as wonderfully on sandwiches.

  13. I have always loved rye. Your appetizers and crispbread looks completely delightful!