Paltbröd – Swedish Bread Made From Blood

In Cuisine by Skjalden

Paltbröd, or what many call “blood bread,” is a special kind of bread from Sweden. It’s unique because it’s made with blood, usually from pigs or cows, mixed into the dough. This might sound unusual, but it’s a tradition that goes way back in Swedish history. The bread is part of Sweden’s old-school cooking, showing how people used to make sure they wasted nothing when they cooked.

Making Paltbröd is pretty straightforward. The main ingredients are coarse rye flour and blood, which might be mixed with a type of traditional beer to make the dough. People used to bake this bread in autumn, right after they’d finished farming and slaughtering animals for the winter. They would bake the dough into thick loaves or thin flatbreads, then dry them out to make them last longer.

People in Sweden have been eating this bread in different ways for years. They might boil it and eat it with fried pork and a simple white or onion sauce. Or they could cut it up and put it in a soup with bacon and potatoes, a dish that’s especially popular in the Swedish part of Finland. These days, people might add things like onions and carrots to the soup, but traditionally, it was more about the taste of the meat and bread.

The history of Paltbröd

The history of Paltbröd is pretty interesting. It’s thought to have started in a part of Sweden called Västergötland. The oldest mention of this bread we know about is from a cookbook from 1755. Back then, it was considered a good, filling meal for workers and servants. The way of serving it with white sauce came from France, which influenced a lot of Swedish cooking back in the 1700s.

Paltbröd doesn’t have anything to do with some other Swedish dishes like palt or kroppkakor, even though they might seem similar. You can also try Paltbröd with melted butter and lingonberries, or cooked in milk instead of water for a different flavor.

The story of Paltbröd is a window into how people in Sweden used to live and eat. It’s about making the most of what you have and respecting the ingredients. Even though it’s from a long time ago, this bread shows a lot about Swedish culture and the importance of food in history.

For anyone curious about Swedish traditions or looking for a real taste of Sweden’s past, Paltbröd is more than just food. It’s a piece of history, showing how creativity and necessity can come together in the kitchen. Whether you’re trying it in a soup, with pork and sauce, or just on its own, Paltbröd offers a direct link to the tastes and traditions of old Sweden.