Kalakukko, a traditional Finnish dish from the region of Savonia, is a loaf of bread baked with a filling of bacon and vendace, a small-boned lake fish, creating a delightful combination of flavours.

Kalakukko, a traditional Finnish dish with roots dating back to the Middle Ages, features a savory filling of fish and bacon encased in a hearty rye bread crust. Originally created as a portable meal for workers, kalakukko has evolved to include different fish varieties, meat, and vegetables. Hailing from the region of Savonia, it has become a beloved and quintessentially Finnish dish, available in traditional bakeries and often enjoyed with a side of refreshing buttermilk.

I got the base of the recipe from Frozen Toes Entertainment and the video is below:

Classic kalakukko

Ingredients for the dough

  • 300ml water
  • 400ml rye flour
  • 400ml wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter (for rubbing)

Ingredients for the filling

  • 500g – 700g of cleaned vendace, perch or salmon (I used panga seabream fillets)
  • 150g – 200g fresh bacon
  • 1 Tbsp rice
  • 1 Tbsp salt

Preheat the oven to 250°C.

In a mixing bowl, combine water, oil, salt, and flours until a firm dough forms. Add a bit of additional flour or water if needed.

Roll out the dough into a round and flat base, approximately 30x40cm in size. Leave the center slightly thicker, about 8mm.

Place a layer of rice on the base to absorb any excess moisture from the fish.

Create alternate layers of fish and bacon. Sprinkle salt between each layer.

Moisten the edges of the dough with water.

Fold the edges over the filling, ensuring they are tightly sealed together. Use a knife and water if necessary.

Dust the surface with rye flour.

Place the dish on a baking paper-lined, thick-bottomed oven pan.

Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes at 250°C, or until the surface becomes hardened.

Remove the dish from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 125°C. Spread butter evenly over the dish, then fold the baking paper and aluminum foil around it.

Return the dish to the oven and bake for about 4 hours. If using salmon or vendace, the cooking time is approximately 4 hours, but for perch it is 6 hours.

Remove the dish from the oven, let it cool down slightly.

In the traditional manner of enjoying kalakukko, the top of the dish is carefully opened using a sharp knife and enjoyed with the filling.

Here is my video of showing the process.