finnish rye hardtack (ruisleipa)

finnish rye hardtack (ruisleipa)

2 t dry yeast
2 c warm water
4- 4 1/2 c rye flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling
1 1/2 t salt

in a med size bread bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. add 2 c rye flour and stir 50 times in the same direction. sprinkle on the salt and stir well. stir in 2 more cups flour, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. knead 3-4 minutes, dusting with flour as needed. clean out and lightly oil the bread bowl. return the dough to the bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 1/2 hours. you can let it sit for longer, but the dough will become stickier and more difficult to work with.

preheat the oven to 425. oil and lightly flour 2 large baking sheets, at least 12 x 18 in.

punch down the dough. divide into 4 pieces. flatten each piece between floured palms, and let rest 2-3 minutes.

gently roll each piece of dough into a round approx. 8 in in diameter, or as large as your baking sheet will accomodate. add flour as nec. to prevent sticking. using a sharp knife, cut out a 2 in circular hole in the center of the bread. transfer the breads to the baking sheets, cover with damp towels or plastic, and let rise for 15- 20 mins.

using a fork, prick the tops of the breads at 1-2 in intervals. bake for 15 min. remove and cool on a rack.

while they are good fresh, these are traditionally made once or twice a year and strung on a cord or poles to dry out completely.

1 Comment

  1. I just copied the recipe. I am 74 yrs. and American Finnish. I have bought hardtack all my 54 yrs of married life. My German background husband loves it. My three sons went to college taking the package. It seems none of the guys there cared for it so my sons always had something to eat! The Finns are practical people! But being in Southern Idaho, there are not many Finns. Winco use to sell it. The last time I bought it there, I was stared down by a Swedish guy meeting our blue eyes to the five remaining packages where I got the third! But now, alas, all the stores gave up. I guess the circle took too much space. I went online to find the package that cost me $5. is now up to $15. I went online and found your recipe. I found rye flour. I am in business. I believe the cost went up when the “eat good for you” folks found it and it has become American.
    My son makes my grandmother’s recipe she brought over in 1910 for Finnish Coffee Bread and my granddaughter also loves making it. I will leave them one more recipe of hardtack.

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