In her research she designed this recipe using an analysis of breads and buns found in 9th and 10th century graves in Birka, Sweden. The shape she uses for this bread, a small bagel shape, came from a Migration Era find, also in Sweden. She adapted the technique and flour proportions with the help of the cookbook "The Tassajara Bread Book" which uses measurements very similar to known Viking measurements.
It is a simple, unlevened bread. In English, that means no yeast or yeast type substance is used. It makes it so the buns do not rise and are dense due to the lack of air in the dough. They are made from whole wheat and barley flour, which adds to the flavor, but also makes for a dense, solid bread. This bread is a meal all in itself, which is why they used it for travelling. Eat a piece of a hearty bun such as this with a chunk of cheese and/or some fruit and there is your travelling meal for mid-day.
I add this to my entries on the basis that Nobleman or not, he was travelling and would need to eat. He simply would reach into his handy dandy leather pouch convieniently hanging from his belt and would pull out a barley bun and eat away.
The recipe is made with simple ingredients that even the poorest and slowest of Vikings would have available to them or could trade for: wheat, barley, salt, oil and hot water.
Then, over low heat, roast the barley flour in some sesame oil until it turns golden brown and smells absolutely delicious. I have never heard of browning ground flour before. The only reason I can think of is the releasing of flavor. It went from "that smells like it may make a tasty bread" to "I cannot wait to eat this bread--it smells so good!" After it is browned, combine it and the wheat flour, salt, more sesame oil and boiling water is all added at once. Carefully, since it is rather HOT, knead it as small chunks first, then larger chunks of dough until all the dough is being mixed by your hands at once.
The incredibly stiff dough is then divided up into 24 portions. Each piece is then rolled into a ball and flattened slightly. I used the handle of a wooden spoon to poke a hole in the center. This bread is so very dense that if the center were not cut out, it would never bake all the way through and would be doughy in the middle. The buns resemble mini-bagels sitting on my pans. They are left to set, covered with a towel, 6-8 hours. They do not rise at all. They then bake for an hour.