Julekake:Norwegian Christmas Bread

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I wish all my readers and friends A Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Hope Santa has brought all the gifts you asked for. When I started writing this post, Santa was in UK according to NORAD the official Santa checker. From her school my daughter bought very special food (oatmeal) for reindeers to sprinkle it in our yard so that Santa will surely stop at our house and give her the presents she wished for. This week I had rough start, I had to remove two wisdom teeth, resulting in heavy pain. I always thought why in world I am pulling the very strong teeth which don’t want to come out with lots of local anesthetics and heavy force. After that is unbearable pain, I lived with strong painkillers for whole day. I felt better the next daybut still not pain free. I did one wise thing of baking this Julekake/Norwegian Christmas bread before going to dentist.
This is traditional Norwegian Christmas Bread made with lot of cardamom, raisins, sugar, egg and milk. Every year for Christmas I will try to make plum cake, Kerala style rosette cookies/Acchappam and rice flour canoli/Kuzhalappam. Along with bread from other countries, last year I made Swedish Limpa bread. I made plum cake this time. I also tried to make panettone sourdough version, that turned out to be a bad decision, even after 48 hours of rising my sourdough doesn’t do its magic on the sweet bread dough, I went ahead and baked it, it turned out be disaster. It so doughy, no work of yeast, and went directly to the garbage.
In order to forget my panettone disaster I made this bread; traditionally it is made with all-purpose flour, now I am getting health conscious so made with 2 cup of white whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour. I also reduced the amount of sugar, but retained the amount of raisins. I used golden raisins. This recipe is adapted from this Norwegian blog, translated with Google translator. Normally it is served during Christmas breakfast with Brunost: (or geitost) Norwegian brown cheese. Traditionally it is made from the whey of goat’s milk which is boiled for hours until most of the water has evaporated and the sugars in the whey have caramelized, giving the cheese its distinctive brown color. Nowadays the whey is also likely to have been supplemented with goat or cow milk and cream. This ‘cheese’ is then packed into rectangular blocks, refrigerated and consumed straight away with no maturing. I think since we are not able to get hold of brunost, we can use with any kind of Jam or as butter toast. It is really delicious. While baking this bread, you can really feel the aroma of cardamom my favorite spice in this world. If you love sweet breads then give it try, you will like it. You can also add candied citron if you have in your hand. Here comes the recipe.

Julekake/Norwegian Christmas Bread

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 1 round loaf

Delicious Traditional Norwegian Christmas Bread.
  • 1½ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoon /30gof sugar
  • 4.5 tablespoons/65g butter, cut into dice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2¼ teaspoons/7g Instant yeast
  • 1 jumbo egg, divided
  • 3cup /350g white whole wheat flour
  • 1 ¼ cup/156.25g all purpose flour (set aside ¼ cup for later use)
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly-ground cardamom
  • ¾ cup/129g raisins (I used golden raisins)
  • ¼ cup candied citron (see David Lebovitz’s recipe, or use store-bought) ( I didn’t have it in my hand)
  1. In a bowl microwave the milk for about 1 minute high. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.
  2. In a large mixing bowl of kitchen aid stand mixer, add white whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, (set aside ¼ cup of flour) salt, sugar, cardamom and yeast. Then add milk, butter and eggs and mix well form smooth dough.
  3. In a small bowl heat ½ cup water in microwave for 2 minutes and then add raisin and set aside for 3 minutes so that will plums up. Then drain the raisins and set aside. Add raisins and citron (if using) to dough and knead again with rest of all purpose flour to form smooth dough. Let rest, covered with a towel, about ten minutes.
  4. For the first rise: Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes, and then transfer to a large, lightly-greased bowl. Turn it so that the oil coats the entire ball of dough. Cover with a towel and set in a warm place, about 85 degrees F, to rise until it’s doubled in bulk. This took about 90 minutes
  5. For the second rise: Punch down the dough form the dough into a round ball. Cover them for ten minutes, and prepare baking sheets by lightly greasing them. Place a round loaf onto the baking sheets and let rise again in a warm spot, covered with towels, until they’ve doubled in bulk, another 45 minutes.
  6. Toward the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When ready to bake, beat the remaining egg in a small bowl then gently brush it over loaf, taking care not to press down on the dough too much. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the bread is deep golden brown and it registers internal temperature of 195F. Immediately transfer to wire racks and cool.
This recipe is adapted from Here

Copyright ©2013 Zesty South Indian Kitchen by Swathi( Ambujom Saraswathy) All Rights Reserved

I am linking this  delicious bread to Hearth and Soul Blog hop hosted here, also Yeast spotting.

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  1. says

    Dear Swathi,
    Hope your Christmas has been marvelous. When you’ve got small children is magic. Here in Spain we’ve got our special gifts’ day and it’s the 6th of January. We call it “Los Reyes Magos”, “The 3 Kings”. They give presents to children and all the members of the family during the night. Nowadays, Santa is also here at Christmas time, despite we’ve never had this tradition. For this celebration we also have a special recipe. I’ll publish it in a few days and I’m sure you’ll like it.
    You know how I love baking bread, and yours looks fantastic. I didn’t know it before. I’ll take it and save in my favorites.
    Cheers from a sunny, cold and windy Valencia

  2. Arthy Shama says

    Norwegian christmas bread looks lovely, the well browned crust with raisins are very inviting. :)

  3. says

    That’s funny that you watched the Santa tracker. :) I guess with kids it’s a must. Bummer on the wisdom teeth! Hope you’re feeling better by now. I love these sweet breads that pop up around the holidays. I vote for making them a year round bread. Thanks for making a healthy version. It looks delicious!!! Happy New Year Swathi!