Crunch time: 8 crispbreads to put to the test

CRISPY, crunchy, flavoursome, often with added seeds, spices and herbs, crispbreads make a useful storecupboard food. 

Originating in Scandinavia, the flat unleavened bread was dried out to crisp to increase storage time and provided an appetising crunch.

Translated worldwide, today crispbreads often have yeast in their list of ingredients, which, once opened, can reduce their shelf life. A sealed container will deliver a week or two’s longevity.

As a choice for those trying to lose weight by avoiding bread, they may be successful. Many of them have none of the additives of cheap breads and have more crunch and chew to provide satisfaction.

Crispbreads only need to have flour, salt and yeast, and many do, even the cheapest of them. As I found in this survey, there are still many with added oils which add to calorific value, and while calories may not be the best measurement of our food intake, in the absence of a better alternative, they are a guideline worth watching on labels.

Topped with simple, sliced fresh tomatoes, they are delicious. Add tuna, smoked mackerel or hard boiled egg mashed with mayo, paprika, and chives or parsley, hummus or thick pesto for a decent lunch, all on a base of fresh lettuce leaves for added vitamins. Fresh or smoked salmon with gherkins and a sprinkle of freshly ground turmeric is scrumptious.

Aldi Savour Bakes Original Rye Crispbreads 250g 79c

Whole rye flour, wheat flour and salt is a refreshingly short list of ingredients in these light crispbreads. Fibre content is a decent 17%, with protein a fair 10%, and very low saturated fats of 0.4%. Sugars at 3.7% are not from added sugar, and a fair 1.5% salt makes these a good all rounder. 31 calories per crispbread means a protein topping with some green will complete a decent lunchtime snack. Good price. Score: 8.25

Le Pain des Fleurs organic chestnut crispbread 125g €4.25

Gluten-free and suitable for vegans, these are made from rice and chestnut flours with only 1% sea salt added – the kind of short list we like to see. Saturated fats are low at 0.4%, sugars 9.3% not from added sugar, salt 0.58%. With fibre quite low at 4.9%, they feel insubstantial – more wafer-like than most other samples. At just under four calories each they make a tasty slightly nutty flavoured bite. Score: 7

Carr’s Lunchtime chive crispbreads 190g €2.65

These are less a crispbread and more a crisp cracker. At 6.9% they have double the saturated

fats of most other crispbreads in this survey. Fibre quite low at 4.7%, high enough sugars at

6.6%, salt a fair 1.2%, resulting in a high enough 42 calories per small crispbread. Not a dieter’s dream, but tasty and crisp. Score: 6.75

Ryvita Deli 200g €2.39

From a range of crispbreads in this brand, the pumpkin and oats in four packs of four makes

them easy to keep fresh. Saturated fats are low at 1.3%, sugars of 4.9% are natural and not from added sugar. Fibre is a very good 18.3% and protein at 11.2% is decent too, with a low 0.61% salt. With 46 calories per crispbread, a good all rounder that will stave off hunger and provide a good base for fresh tomatoes, canned sardines, tuna and many cheeses. Score: 8

Marks & Spencer olive flatbread 150g €3.10

These are useful for summery toppings such as ripe tomatoes and olives — don’t spread with

anything hard as they will break. This flavour (there is a plain version) has flecks of black

olives adding to a wonderfully short list of ingredients: flour, water, olive oil, yeast and

malted flour. Salt at 1.8% is good, with saturated fats a low enough 2.8%. 113 calories per flatbread tells us that one at a time is enough. Score: 8

Pagen Krisprolls 225g €1.75

These long, halved roll shapes are made from wholegrain flour, palm and rapeseed oils, yeast, salt and barley malt. Rusk-like in texture, there is also sugar, which at 6.5% total sugars tastes quite sweet. Saturated fats are 2%, fibre a decent 8.5%, and good protein at 12%, with fair salt at 1.5%. Quite delicious with salty cheeses, tasters liked the crunch and wholesome texture. Calories 51 each, but one is enough. Score:7.25

Tesco Dutch crispbakes 125g 99c

Not quite the short list of ingredients we had hoped for with these discs which have glucose

syrup, yeast, palm oil, egg, sugar, an emulsifier, salt and potassium carbonate as raising agent, as well as flour. Saturated fats at 1.9% are low, sugars high at 9.2%, salt low at 0.7%, fibre moderate at 4.2%, protein decent at 13.6%. Calories moderate at 38 per bake don’t make up for the lack of flavour and stale toast texture. Score: 4

Jacob’s crispbreads 300g €1.95

This sesame flavour of four packs of five crispbreads has a short enough list which includes

dried breadcrumbs. This gives them quite a light feel, but there are also palm and rapeseed

oils amounting to saturated fats of 2.5%. Fibre at 4% is low enough, and added sugars result in 5% sugars. Protein is a decent 13%, salt a low 0.7%, with high enough 65 calories per crispbread. Tasters liked the crunch, but expected more sesame-seed flavour. Score: 7


© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Restaurant review: The Legal Eagle, Dublin 1

Sheepless pie and other stories

Derval O'Rourke: Planning your training sessions and making food to match

The Menu: Enticing dining opportunities around Ireland


Lifestyle

House cleaning for dummies

Getting clean and lean: James Duigan on the simplicity of changing your food habits

Ask Audrey: You’re 9 on the Crazy Scale, where 1 is sane and 10 is flying with Ryanair

Get out and enjoy: What's on offer for Culture Night?

More From The Irish Examiner