Snow! And Havremel Flatbrod
It snowed last night. In other parts of the country, this isn't unusual. But in central North Carolina, it doesn't necessarily snow every year, and wintry white flakes are uncommon in early December. I took a cue from Mother Nature and holed up at home. Chicken stock simmered slowly on the stove and I rummaged through the pantry for a crunchy snack. There were none to be found, so I took note of available ingredients, then browsed through Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Small Breads for a recipe, settling on Havremel Flatbrod, or Norwegian Oatmeal Flatbread.
These crackers are slightly sweet, crispy, and addictive (the dog loves them). The dough is sticky and wet, and was a little difficult to work with. Clayton recommends using a pastry cloth and pastry sleeve-covered rolling pin, but I settled on smearing it across parchment paper with a flexible plastic dough scraper (and used my fingers). The result was a thicker cracker that took longer to cook than the recipe indicates — but I was still pleased.
Clayton writes that this flatbread is traditionally served with cheese, spreads, and soups, but I've been munching on them straight out of my handy Tupperware container. They should last for weeks stored this way, but I don't expect them to be around that long.
Adapted from The Complete Book of Small Breads
Makes 1 pound
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup melted unslated butter
1/2 heaping teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 cups all-purpose flour or 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups quick-cooking oats
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine the sugar, melted butter and salt in a large bowl. In a separate container, combine the buttermilk and baking soda. Alternately add the flour and the buttermilk to the sugar-butter mixture, then stir in the oatmeal. If you're using a heavy duty mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix for 2 minutes, adding a bit of flour if needed. Knead for 4 minutes.
Working with 1/3 cup of dough at a time, roll it into a ball and then flatten it onto the pastry cloth. Roll it paper-thin with a rolling pin covered in a pastry sleeve. Roll it onto the rolling pin, then unroll it onto a baking sheet. If you don't have a pastry cloth and rolling pin sleeve, spread the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet with a dough scraper, using your fingers as necessary.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned (my thick flatbread took close to 17 minutes). Slide the flatbread onto a metal rack to cool, and break into pieces.