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A lesson in making Swedish flatbread – Halvtjock kakor or Mjukkaka – with my mother-in-law

the honest goodness of bread and butter - in this case a heritage recipe for Swedish Hulvchuck

the honest goodness of bread and butter – in this case a heritage recipe for Swedish Halvtjock kakor 

 

Indian naan, chapati, roti, puri, paratha and parotta; Italian Focaccia and pizza, Greek pita; Egyptian balady, Armenian Lavash, Turkish bazlama, Mexican tortillas, Ethiopian injera; cuisines the world over have a flatbread. Some are leavened and some not. Most are circular and flat and typically made of a combination of flour and water. They are used as an eating utensil or plate, for sopping up gravy, dipping in olive oil, as a medium for toppings or stuffings, or for just enjoying with cold creamy butter. They are all delicious and I am sad for people who cannot for whatever reason enjoy them.

I had not heard of a Swedish flatbread until I met my husband and got to try his grandmother’s fabulous bread recipe. Her name was Esther Ingejerd (nee Swenson) Anderson Richtik. She was twice widowed but with the help of her mother raised two children on her own on the windswept marshy tundra that is Northern Manitoba, Canada. It was a harsh life but this bread which she called “Hulvchuck” (thanks to a reader of this blog I found out it’s spelled Halvtjock) was a comfort food for her family and she made bread a few times a week her whole life.

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