Breakfast in the Nordic region
Want a hearty, Northern European start to your day? Then try a few new dishes from Breakfast: The Cookbook
Still starting the day with the same old bowl of flakes? Maybe it’s time to shake-up your morning routine. Breakfast: The Cookbook features hundreds of home-cooking recipes, as they're prepared in kitchens across the globe. Each is accessible and straightforward, but the book goes further, with guest contributors offering cultural context and culinary insight into the way different nations make breakfast.
Even some of the world’s greatest chefs have shared their simple, morning treats with the book's author, Emily Elyse Miller.
“Crispy flatbread broken into bite-size pieces over a bowl of fermented milk, sweetened with a sprinkle of white caster sugar,” writes the Swedish chef Fredrik Berselius, founder of the Michelin-starred Brooklyn restaurant, Aska, in his guest essay. “As a child, I loved the crunchy texture and sweet-and-sour flavor of this classic breakfast; I still love its simplicity.
“A quite common use of everyday household staples, it was the perfect go-to breakfast treat, especially on a sunny summer morning in Stockholm. A large round blue and brown parchment paper package of knäckebröd was always stored in a cupboard above the refrigerator. Filmjölk [kefir-style Nordic fermented milk], poured from the classic Tetra Pak box, was refreshing with its typical sour notes of lactic acid developed by the fermentation of the milk.
"Growing up in Sweden, what I ate for breakfast changed regularly, according to the day of the week and the time of year. The first meal of the day was considered as important as lunch and dinner. It was often more elaborate than knäckebröd and filmjölk, but was in a similar spirit. Hot oatmeal with homemade fruit compote, cinnamon, and milk. Toasted hearty bread, butter, jam, and cheese. Bread with fish roe and a boiled, sliced egg with a sprig of dill. A cup of dark roasted coffee, or black tea with honey and milk. Everyday breakfast staples often included grains, in the form of hearty breads and porridges; dairy, including butter, cheese, and milk; cured or preserved ingredients, like smoked fish, fish roe, pickled herring, or ham; and baked goods and pastries topped with berry jams and served with fruit.”
Some of these dishes take time. Consider filmjölk. You need to seal three cups (335ml) of full-fat milk in a 1-pint (500ml) mason jar, along with a little starter filmjölk or kefir. Mix it together, screw on the lid and let it sit in a warm place for up to 48 hours. Then refrigerate the at least 8 hours before eating. That requires quite a bit of preparation.
But after you're done, sprinkling on a bit of flatbread to some filmjölk, straight out of the fridge is easy. It takes just a minute, it's authentically Nordic, and it can fit into anyone’s breakfast routine, anywhere in the world.
For more on Nordic breakfasts, and plenty else besides, order a copy of Breakfast: The Cookbook here.