Tebirkes: Danish breakfast bread topped with poppy seeds


Denmark is a dairy country, and there are many types of bread made with butter and milk.

Tebirkes is one of these bread.

It is a Danish dough to which butter and poppy seeds are added.

It is eaten especially for breakfast in Denmark.

Here I would like to introduce Tebirkes.

The detailed recipe and the origin of the name are explained, so if you are interested in baking in Nordic countries, please read on.

Danish classic breakfast bread

Tebirkes is a common Danish breakfast bread.

It is characterized by a topping of poppy seeds.

Dairy farming is a major industry in Denmark, and much of the bread eaten on a daily basis is made with cheese or milk.

Danish is a typical example.

Tebirkes is another kind of Danish-type bread that uses butter, salt, water, flour, and milk as its basic ingredients.

The difference between Tebirkes and Danish is that Danish is sweetened with sugar, while Tebirkes is salty with butter paste.

Bread dough with butter paste kneaded in

Tebirkes are made of several layers of thin bread dough, like a croissant.

There are a total of 27 layers of dough.

The dough is folded in thirds and this process is repeated three times.

This gives the bread a crunchy texture.

The key to Tebirkes’ layered dough is the generous amount of butter paste kneaded into the dough.

Danish with lots of sugar and fruit is good. But sometimes we want salty bread instead of sweet bread.

But be careful not to overeat.

Tebirkes use a lot of butter.

So, eating just one of them can be quite caloric.

Background of Name 

As for the name Tebirkes, “Te” means “tea” and “birkes” means “poppy seed”.

The “birkes” in Tebirkes is actually the Danish word for “white poppy seed”.

In fact, it is sometimes topped with black poppy seeds.

Since the first half of the name means “tea”, Tebirkes is the perfect bread to drink with tea, such as coffee or black tea.

Origin of Tebirkes

Many people think of Danish pastries when they hear the word “typical Danish bread.”

However, this is a common mistake. Danish is not the bread that originated in Denmark, but in Vienna, Austria.

There are many theories as to the origin of Tebirkes.

The prevailing theory is that it originated from bread introduced from Austria in the 19th century.

At that time in the 19th century, bakers in Austria went on strike.

Because of this, bakers in Austria were unable to sell bread in Denmark outwardly for fear of being left out of the strike.

Then some bakers moved from Austria to Denmark, and they introduced numerous bread recipes to Denmark.

It is believed that Tebirkes was born when Danish bakers added butter paste and poppy seed toppings based on the recipes thus introduced to Denmark.

By the way, it is said that the bread that became the origin of Danish was also introduced at this time.

For more information on Danish, I recommend the following articles.


Tebirkes is a bread made with butter paste and poppy seeds.

The topping is only poppy seeds.

Therefore, Tebirkes is a bread in which the original flavor and taste of poppy seeds and butter can be enjoyed.