As mentioned in my last posting I had purchased several items from Germany and one of the items was a cartboard box of Knäckebrot. Wasn’t that difficult to reproduce such a box and here is the result (original and reproduction).

Original and Repro box of Knäckebrot

During the Second World War, four rectangular pieces of Knäckebrot (approximately 130 x 100 x 6 mm) were packaged together in a light cardboard box or simply over wrapped with (kraft-)paper. Each package contained 125 grams of Knäckebrot. The shipping carton held 120 packages of Knäckebrot. Knäckebrot had the appearance of the typical whole rye Swedish hard bread. It was hard and brittle, with a strong rye taste. It being a whole grain product, the vitamin content was fairly high. The main objection to the bread was the low caloric density. The package contained only 13 calories per cubic inch, while the average „K” Ration biscuit contains 35 calories per cubic inch.

The majority of the military’s Knäckebrot appears to have been manufactured by commercial firms. The original box I have got was of the Batscheider Knäckebrotfabrik. Other firm names can be found on the internet or in Jim Pool’s Books. Knäckebrot was generally shipped already packaged in cardboard boxes or wrapped in paper. It’s likely that Knäckebrot was bulk shipped without any wrapping, or baked by Field Bakery Companies and packaged in Zellglass or paper bags.

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Batscheider Knäckebrotfabrik (factory)

The history of Batscheider Knäckebrot-Fabrik, is somewhat complicated. The story begins with Fritz Lieken assuming control of the Simons Brot Company in the 1920s. The Simons Brot Company was originally founded in 1902 in Achim, near Bremen. In 1925 Fritz Lieken was the first to offer packaged long shelf life bread in Germany. In 1935 Fritz Lieken and Alfred Batscheider founded their bread factory in Deisenhofen, Germany. Deisenhofen was the site of the Knäckebrot-Fabrik Batscheider, which was established in 1924. In 1937 Fritz Lieken used the Kasseler Simonbrot-Fabrik as the cornerstone to form the ABK-Group (Achimer, Batscheider, Kasseler). This group is now called the Lieken Urkorn Vollkornbrot Fabrik. The original partnership between Lieken and Batscheider lives on in Knäckebrotbafrik Lieken and Batscheider GmbH, Gebrüder-Batscheider Str. 4, 82041 Oberhaching, Bundesland Bayern. When Lieken and Batscheider established a factory in Munich is unknown.

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How to fill this box?

Maybe I will write a “How to” later on in the How to… section. I will look for the different kinds of modern Knäckebröd available in the shops now-a-days and hope to find something which will fit the dimensions of the box. The modern ones I have at home measure 117 x 63 x 6 mm and the wartime ones were about 130 x 100 x 6 mm, so there is a little difference. Or maybe you as a reader knows an option on how to fill the box. Anyway, feel free to give some comment…