Ah, the sandwich. It is so simple, and yet it is so much more than just meat on bread. At Bake 360, we are proud to offer Smørrebrød, the traditional open-faced sandwiches of Scandinavia. Its history is undoubted, and its practicality undenied. A piece of hearty, healthy bread topped with meat, cheese, vegetables and sauce, we find that the smørrebrød in our Draper café has the potential to border on the sublime. Venture with us into the past as we explore the history and modern renewal of this Nordic classic.
A Rye History
Our discussion of smørrebrød must start with bread, since all open-faced sandwiches require that basis. The Danes have been baking rye bread (Rugbrød) for over 1,000 years, claims the official website for the city of Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital. This bread is particularly nutritious, high in fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. It also has no fat, and takes about 24 hours to prepare. Today, Rugbrød is big business in the Nordic countries, not to mention our European bakery. Denmark’s population of around 5.5 million still consumes about 8.5-9 million slices of rye bread, every day.
Feeding the Working Class
With such a longstanding position in the community and culture, it makes sense that practically everyone eats rye bread. In centuries past, bread was even more important. Without a plate or handy utensils, putting slices of meat and cheese on bread made transporting food very simple. And as such, Smørrebrød was born. Experts date the original rise in popularity of the open-faced sandwich to the 1840s. Working class people took several slices of Smørrebrød in a packet to work. The hearty meal fit the working class’s need for calories, fat and protein, and made for easy consumption and cleanup. In time, open-faced sandwiches spread to other parts of Scandinavia, especially Norway.
Smørrebrød’s Return to Vogue
While some argue that smørrebrød is an antiquated offering, we believe it should be brought to the forefront as a truly unique part of Nordic cuisine. People now work primarily in offices, instead of outside or in the factories. They no longer need the simple open-faced sandwiches for their daily meal, many say. But, the convenience, variety and delight that is smørrebrød continues. We argue it is time to reinvent the old classic for a modern audience. Using only high-quality ingredients made in-house as much as possible, chefs present this approach to lunch in a way that reminds people that simple food may also be delicious, if it is also made well.
It is with your pleasure in mind that we bring smørrebrød to our Draper café. We note that many in the Salt Lake Valley have a proud Scandinavian ancestry. And with a modern approach to the open-faced sandwich, we show our customers what once was, and what can be again. Our smørrebrød range from the traditional to the trendy, including:
• Shrimp with a sliced boiled egg
• Smoked salmon with a sliced boiled egg
• Roast beef with Jarlsberg cheese
• Herb-roasted turkey with Jarlsberg cheese
• Bleu cheese with apple and bacon
• Mozzarella, tomato, cucumber and basil
All of our Smørrebrød feature house-made sauces from the hearty to the delicate. For greater descriptions of these fantastic dishes, check out our menu.
With our tour complete, we realize that smørrebrød has an important place in society today, just as it did in the past. But, we are not bound by the limits of tradition in the choices we can make for this enigmatic open-faced sandwich. In our Draper café, the only restrictions we see are the ones placed by our creativity and our customers’ willingness to try something new. So when you come to visit us next, put aside your expectations and try one of our delicious smørrebrød. You will be glad you did.