Christmas Bread (Julekake)

This recipe and the photos (love the little Nordic candle holder!)  come courtesy of Julia Schmidt in Norway.

This is a traditional bread with raisins and cardamom. Delicious eaten plain or with butter and brown sweet goat cheese, or with orange marmalade. However it is eaten, it is a must in every home during the Christmas holidays.

Ingredients

6 dl./2.5 cups milk

250 g/1 cup butter

200 g/1 cup sugar

75g yeast

1 kg* wheat flour

2 teaspoon cardamom

400g raisins

For brushing

1 egg

2 tablespoons water

Preparation:
Heat milk and butter and sugar until the butter is melted. Let it cool down to 37°C. Crumble the yeast in the dough bowl and add part of the milk mixture. Stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the rest of the milk. Add flour mixed with cardamom to the mixture. Make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic; it should drop the bowl. Cover the dough with plastic and let it rise to double in a warm place for approximately 60 minutes.

Now is the time to preheat the oven to 175°C.

Put the dough on a table and divide it into two parts. Add the raisins to the parts and form two balls. Place them on a plate coved with a baking sheet. Cover the cakes with a towel and let the dough rise again for 20-30 minutes. Brush the breads with whipped egg mixed with water. Bake at 175°C for 45-60 minutes on the lowest rack until deep golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

* Tip: Regarding yeast baking, the amount of flour to use is approximate. It is better to use less flour than the recipe calls for and then add flour as needed in order to be able to remove the dough from the bowl easily without it being too hard or too firm. It is easier to adjust loose yeast dough by adding flour than vice versa.

Another note from Julia:

(This comes from) Ingrid Espelid Hovig – (3 June 1924 – 3 August 2018), a Norwegian television chef and author of cook books. She was considered the “culinary mother” of Norway, and “the Julia Child of Norway”.)

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