I sometimes wonder that I am keeping my zest of cooking and baking by participating in challenges! Really... the new kitchen has created a small dent into my cooking, but I guess that's the case for everybody till the time you get the whole gyst. Till then, it is only cooking for survival! Hoping to participate in all the challenges for this month and hopefully, you will see all the posts in time... :)
The "We Knead To Bake
" challenge #23 for this month was a Scandinavian bread called Julekake or Julekaga. It is a cardamom flavored yeasted bread which has a cake-like texture and is normally served during this festive season. Either the bread is served plain with a sprinkling of sugar or with a thick icing. In Norway, traditionally lime green citrus peel was used but now as variations, mixed fruit, candied peel, raisins and even almonds are used in the bread.
Since I was totally packed with a lot of matters, I was thinking of skipping the challenge but the recipe really tempted and prompted me to at least make a bread with half the quantity. I always downsize since I am wary of how it would be accepted by all. To my surprise, everybody loved the mildly sweet bread with the bite of raisins and it was wiped out even before it was cooled down completely! Also, upon reading feedback from other group members regarding how much the bread puffed up while proofing, I cut down on the yeast and felt I had taken the right decision to do so - the bread was just perfect! Off to the way it was made...
Julekake/ Julekaga ~ Norwegian Cardamom Scented Bread
Recipe adapted from "The Great Scandinavian Baking Book" by Beatrice Ojakangas
1/2 tsp active yeast
1/8 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup lukewarm milk
1/8 cup sugar
A pinch of salt
25 gm butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour (refer notes)
3/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/3 cup raisins
1 tsp milk
2 tbsp chopped almonds
1 tbsp granulated sugar
Break the egg and lightly beat it. Set aside.
In a mug, add the milk, water, yeast and 1 tsp sugar. Mix well and allow it to froth for around 10 minutes.
In a bowl, combine the soft butter, salt, half the beaten egg and the yeasty mixture. Add in the flour and cardamom flour and start kneading into a soft and elastic dough. Add more flour or water to reach the desired consistency.
Spread out the dough on a surface, sprinkle the raisins and roll it out like a swiss roll. This way the raisins will get incorporated into it. Knead briefly again. Keep in an oiled bowl, covered for an hour or so till the dough doubles.
Punch down the dough and knead one more time. Shape it like a ball or loaf, depending on the pan that you are using. Leave it on your greased baking pan/ loaf tin for another 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Mix the 1 tsp milk into the remaining egg and brush it generously all over the bread. Sprinkle the chopped almonds and the granulated sugar on the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. If the top is browning, then cover lightly with an aluminium foil - I didn't do that so had a hard top.
Allow to cool on a wire rack completely before slicing and serving with a cup of tea. We didn't even wait for the tea - we just straight away gobbled it! Hehe...
1. Adjust the flour. Start by putting in 1 1/4 cup and kneading. If it is sticky, then add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. I added the extra flour to get the desired dough.
2. You can skip the egg completely and use milk alone for the wash.
3. You can definitely add 1/4 cup of candied orange peel or tutti frutti to this bread. I only used raisins.
4. This bread can be made with an icing. Then add no sugar into the bread if doing so. For the icing, combine 1/8 cup of icing sugar, 1 tbsp cream or milk and 1/4 tsp almond extract into pouring consistency (adjust on the cream/ milk) and pour over the bread. I skipped this step.