From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This year, my feature for the feast of St. Lucia is a simple batter bread that I found in The Great Scandinavian Baking Book. The book was written by Beatrice Ojakangas and most of her recipes are updated versions of the Scandinavian classics that we love to bake at this time of year. I chose to share this one with you because of its versatility and the ease with which it comes together. Even beginners can make this simple bread, though I have a few tips that I want to share with them and keep as reminders to myself. Under the best of circumstances, this is a slow rising bread, so it is really important to start with ingredients that are all at room temperature. Even the eggs. While it may be arbitrary, I pull my ingredients from the refrigerator about 2 hours before I plan to start baking. Butter at that point is easy to cream and there is no danger of cold eggs slowing the action of the yeast. The creamed mixture, by the way, will look terribly curdled. Not to worry, the dough will come together as flour is added, but it will remain shaggy and sticky to the touch. Avoid the temptation to add more flour. You will have to scrape the dough into a pan for its final rise but that's as it should be. The best part of this recipe is its versatility. I decided to use the original recipe in this post, but you can substitute a teaspoon or more of cardamom for the saffron, or make an almond bread by using toasted almonds and almond extract in place of the raisins and saffron. The possibilities are almost limitless and the best part is the bread tastes a bit like panettone, though it is much easier to make. I really enjoy this bread and I hope you will give the recipe a try. You won't regret it. Here's how the bread is made.
Swedish Saffron Batter Bread - Saffronsbrod...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Beatrice Ojakangas
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
1/4 teaspoon powdered saffron
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup golden raisins
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
1) In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water.
2) Cream butter and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer. Add eggs and salt and beat until smooth. Stir in milk, saffron, and yeast mixture. Gradually beat in flour. When flour has been added, beat at medium speed for five minutes, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Mix in raisins.
3) Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
4) Meanwhile, generously butter a 10 cup kugelhopf or bundt pan and dust lightly with flour.
5) Stir down dough which will still be sticky, and pour or scrape it into prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until dough almost reaches top of pan, about one hour.
6) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
7) Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until loaf is well-browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool in pan 15 minutes, then invert onto rack to cool. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Yield: 1 loaf.
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Three Years Ago Today: St. Lucia Buns