Friday, December 12, 2008
Norwegian Christmas Bread
Pride is a fearsome thing and ego can be an absolute killer. The pair nearly did me in yesterday when the counter on my site meter went berserk. By ten in the morning it registered twice the normal traffic and an hour later activity had tripled. My first thought - indeed my first word - was "finally." I really felt loved! I basked in the sheer glory of it all until my left brain kicked in, and, ignoring pride and ego, forced me to take a hard look at the data. My left brain is a real spoiler. At any rate, the counter was right, but the folks visiting my sight weren't looking for me, they were looking for Ming Tsai. He had just done a crock-pot demo on Barbara Walters show, "The View". I have a crock-pot recipe for Asian ribs on my blog and in the comments Ming Tsai's name was mentioned. That was all the search engine needed. It directed all those folks looking for his recipe to mine --- which, by the way, is most excellent. "Sic transit gloria mundi." Fortunately, I can laugh at myself --- humor, once again, trumps pride and ego.
Today's Christmas bread is one Bob's favorites. I've adapted the recipe from an old neighborhood favorite to better suit today's needs and equipment. It's easier to make than panettone and its shape makes it easier to store. This recipe makes a lot of bread, but it can be frozen. The cardamom scented loaves make great gifts to share with friends and neighbors. Julie, who blogs at Peanut Butter and Julie slices her sweet breads before freezing them. The slices can be thawed and table ready in minutes. I like the idea - a lot. I'm sending photos of this bread to Yeast Spotting, a blogging event sponsored by Susan at Wild Yeast. This is a really nice recipe. I know you'll enjoy it.
Norwegian Christmas Bread
3-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 large eggs, beaten
10 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 cup for kneading
1 tablespoon salt
5 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup plumped dark raisins
1/2 cup plumped light raisins
1/2 cup candied orange peel
3 tablespoons candied lemon peel
1) Place the milk in a large microwave container. Microwave on HIGH temperature for 2 minutes, or until milk bubbles at edges and container is warm. Add butter and cardamom to milk. Set aside.
2) Place 10 cups flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
3) Beat eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer, using paddle attachment. Slowly add milk mixture and beat until mixed.
4) Switch to dough hook attachment. At low speed, add flour and fruit in alternating spoonfuls. Keep mixing until a smooth, elastic mass is formed.
5) Spread 1/2 cup flour on work surface. Turn dough onto flour. Sprinkle top of dough with 1/4 cup. Knead until just smooth. The dough will be slightly tacky. Place in a large greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in bulk.
6) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray four bread pans with nonstick spray. Punch dough down. Let rest 10 minutes. Cut into four pieces, shape into loaves and place in bread pans. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double.
7) Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush tops with butter. Let sit for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on a rack. Yield: 4 loaves.