Julekake. And jule thank me.

I married into Julekake. Yet another example of how I married up. This is a sweet cardamom Christmas (Jule – pronounced like you’ll-uh) Bread (Kake- pronounced like poop in Spanish). I’m sure my rootsier scandinavian readership will happily clear up any cultural and pronouncial details. In the same way my English major friends will make up for not working in their field by kicking me in the ouchies for making up the word pronouncial. (Relax, Mr. Keillor has got your back.)

A couple years ago I scoured the Internet for recipes and I found a wide range. So I tried to remember what Aunt Laurie’s Julekake tasted like then I made a guess based on the various recipes I found and every year tweak it a bit. Over the last 3 years it’s come into a focus a bit. This year I tried two new things. I shaped it more like a batard and I experimented with an egg glaze. The new shape I like. Traditionally they’re in big rounds (boule) but I like the more predictable size of each slice I get with the batard. The egg glaze? Didn’t do it for me. Skip it. You get to drool icing over the top anyway, that’ll be plenty pretty.

So here is what I did this year.

9 cups / 1575g        all purpose flour

1 cup / 250g            warm water
1 1/2 cups /400g   milk
1/2 cup                       butter
3 eggs

2 1/4 tsp                     yeast (1 package)
1 Tbl                             salt
3/4 cup / 160g       sugar
2 Tbl                           cardamom

1 cup white raisins
1 1/2 cup candied fruit (totally unnaturally red and green cherries, candied citrus is good)

Heat the milk to about 180-190 F
Remove from heat
Add the butter to cool the milk and melt the butter
Add water – use cooler or warmer water to end up with a 90-105 F mix. Keep in mind the temperature of the eggs you’re about to add – again, the end temp of all the liquids
should end up around 90-105 F to create a comfort zone that allows your yeast to be fruitful and multiply.
Add those eggs
Sprinkle the yeast on top
Whisk it all up
While that’s doing it thing mix the flour salt sugar and cardamom in a a big bowl
Add the liquid and use a big spoon or your hand and make a big lump of dough
Cover and let rest for 15-20 minutes
Add the raisins and candied stuff.  This is sticky and messy just so you know.  But even when dough seems like a disaster, carry on, it knows how to be dough and it will come back to what it’s supposed to be.
Knead. Like 10-12 minutes probably. It should be a slightly wet dough.  If you need to add moisture spread the dough out flat, dimple with your finger and sprinkle a little water over it.

Cover and let rise. Mine took about two hours to double. I put a plastic bag over the bowl and stick it in the oven with the oven light on. The bag retains moisture the light keeps it a little warmer than our house normally is this time of year.
Form into 4 boules or batards and place on parchment paper (2 per pan)
Let rise again. Generally half the time of your initial rise.
Do not score, you won’ be getting that kind of spring
Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes – I do one pan at a time and keep the waiting pan somewhere cool so it doesn’t over proof before going in the oven.

After the loaves have cooled you can drizzle icing over the top. I’m not sure what the measurements are for the icing because I used some that was leftover from making ginger bread houses and added a little hot water and almond extract to make it a little smoother. If you mix powdered sugar, a little butter, water and a dash of coffee (for real) and a bit of almond extract I’m sure you’ll end up with something fattening that your body will respond positively too.  I might actually just go try that to see for myself.  Yum.

Garnish with some of those freakishly bright candied cherries.

We like ours lightly toasted with butter and a thin slice of gjetost (yay! toast.)

Merry Christmas folks. I may not blog next week so keep busy with something else, okay?

Bake more bread,

Posted: December 20th, 2012
Categories: Uncategorized
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