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, sugar 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.


Martha said...

Looks yummy! I love the traditional Christmas foods -- no matter what country they're from!

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

Sorry about your sitemeter going beserk, I love stopping by and visiting; your recipes and photos are amazing. Your bread looks wonderful and I know would make wonderful gifts. I'm learning so much here.

Allie said...

Holy cow I wouldn't have known what to do! You never know you might have a whole new group of readers out of it. Your bread looks just like the perfect ones in the cookbooks! I can't wait to try it.

Pam said...

Just think of all the people who found your blog (even if they were looking for Ming's)...I fell in love with your blog at first sight and I am sure many of them did too.

The bread not only sounds delicious it looks beautiful and festive too. It makes me want to do some baking today.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Good morning, Gals. I really have to laugh. Yesterday's adventure fell into that "who'd ever thunk it" category. Thanks for your support.

Cathy said...

What a good story, Mary. I can imagine that moment of thinking "I've been discovered."

Pam is right. Anyone who finds your blog will love it.

Your bread is heavenly. The little bits of your candied peel are perfect mixed into the dough.

Jennifer said...

This looks super delicious!

By the way, your grandchildren are ADORABLE! Looking forward to checking out your blog more often!


Mary Bergfeld said...

Jennifer, welcome! Come as often as you can. We love company.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Great story on the traffic increase!!

Beautiful loaf. Makes me think I knead to be doing some baking here. Dried fruit . . . always such a welcome treat.

Unknown said...

This bread is so gorgeous and plump! The first picture killed me! It makes you want to reach through the screen :-)

Mary Bergfeld said...

Hi Claire,

Welcome to my blog. I hope you'll come often. We try to keep things interesting.

Emily said...

What gorgeous bread!

Anonymous said...

I love it! I'm making candied citrus peel today. Thanks so much for joing in YeastSpotting.

Anonymous said...

I've been trying to look for a Norwegian Christmas Bread recipe and this looks like one I will definitely try. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!

I agree, cardamom scented loaves make wonderful gifts.

- Jackie

Mary Bergfeld said...

Welcome, Jackie. I'm so glad you stopped by. Come again and again. I took a quick look at your blog and it is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm oh yes!
I've never added cardamom to bread before and I'm not sure I've ever found it ready-ground.
Could I just pound up cardamom pods and if so, do I grind the whole pod or just the insides?

Happy Holidays!

Mary Bergfeld said...

FP, welcome. I grind only the seeds.

Anonymous said...

Being norwegian I have made this bread several times and I have never heard of candied lemon peel nor light raisans in this bread!! The rest is correct!! 😀

Anonymous said...

Made this bread last year. Excellent! I added flor di sicilia instead of the orange and lemon peel. I also used dried cherries, dried cranberries, light raisins and almonds. I used a egg white wash and sprinkled with pearl sugar just before baking.

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