I have made few bakes during holiday time and will post those in upcoming days. Julekake (or Julekaka/ Julekaga) is a rich holiday bread flavored with cardamom which is traditionally served at Christmas in many Scandinavian countries. It is particularly popular in Norway and Denmark. Incidentally, Julekake means “Yule Bread” in Norwegian. This bread is more cake-like in texture and sometimes it is dusted with powdered sugar or glazed with a white sugar icing. If it is not glazed or left plain, then it is usually served warm at breakfast with butter or milk. This recipe is off to Aparna’s (We Knead To Bake).
(Partially adapted from the Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas)
All Purpose Flour – 2n1/2 Cups
Active dry yeast – 2tsp
Lukewarm Water – 1/4 Cup
Lukewarm Milk – 1/2 Cup
Egg – 1 Number
Butter – 50gms, soft at room temperature
Sugar – 1/2 cup (If you prefer icing over the bread then reduce sugar to1/4 cup)
Salt – 1/4tsp
Cardamom – 2tsp, powdered with sugar ie 4 to 5 pods
Mixed Candied Fruit or peel – 1/2 Cup
Golden or Dark Raisins – 1/4 Cup
Glaze: (I did so)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp milk
Pearl sugar or crushed sugar cubes and/ or chopped almonds (Optional)
Icing sugar – 1/2 cup
Cream or Milk – 1 to 2 Tbsp
Almond Extract – ¼ tsp
- Put the water, milk and 1 tsp sugar (from the 1/4 cup) in a small bowl and add the yeast to it.
- Mix well and keep aside for 5 to 10 minutes till it becomes “frothy”.
- Put this yeast mixture, the egg, butter and sugar and salt in a larger bowl (or bowl of your processor/ machine).
- Mix well, and then add the flour and the powdered cardamom, Knead well until you have a dough that is soft, smooth and elastic.
- Add just as much more flour or water to achieve this consistency of dough.
- Take the dough out and flatten it into a largish round (Pic 1, shape is not important).
- Sprinkle the fruit and raisins evenly(Pic 1) and then roll it up, swiss roll style (Pic 2).
- This is a good way to knead in fruit into bread dough.
- Seal the sides (Pic 3) and just knead the dough lightly by hand and roll it up into a ball (Pic 4).
- Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover loosely and let it rise till double in volume (Pic 5), for about an hour or so.
- When done, lightly knead the dough to deflate it slightly and shape it into a ball.
- Place it on a lined or lightly greased baking sheet (You can also bake it in a cake or loaf tin if you wish).
- Let it rise for about 45 minutes.
- If you’re using the egg wash, then brush it over the top of the dough (Pic 6).
- Otherwise brush it with milk and sprinkle it with crushed sugar cubes or chopped almonds (optional).
- Ignore this step if you’re going to use the icing.
- Bake at 180° C (350° F) for about 30 minutes till the bread is golden brown and done.
- If you find the bread browning too quickly, cover it with foil after about 15 minutes in the oven to avoid further browning.
- Cool it on a rack (Pic 7), Let it cool completely before you slice it or ice it.
- For the icing, mix together the ingredients for the icing till you have an icing of pouring consistency.
- Pour over the bread and let it set.