JulekakeCourse: HolidayCuisine: NorwegianDifficulty: Meidum
Velsignet Vintersolverv! Blessed Winter Solstice when the longest night brings darkness upon the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest day. From this evening forward the days begin to get longer and the sun begins its return. There are many ways to celebrate this occasion but feasting and food is one of the most traditional. This delicious Julekake or Jolkaka is certain to make a regular appearance once you make and serve it. Its a bit tricky but not to worry if your loaf doesn’t rise like a traditional bread even though it has yeast it is a little heavier and the fruit weighs it down a little more.
1 package regular or fast-acting dry yeast
1/4 cup very warm water (boiled then cooled slightly)
3/4 cup very warm milk (120º to 130º)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lard, shortening or butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup currents or raisins ( or 1/2 cup each)
1/2 cup candied fruit ( I leave this out as it’s a modern ingredient)
3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour (spelt flour works well also)
1 egg yolk
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- In large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.
- Stir in warm milk, sugar, shortening, salt, cardamom, egg, dried fruit, and 1 1/2 cups of the flour.
- Beat with spoon until smooth.
- Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
- Place dough on lightly floured surface.
- Knead about 5 minutes or until smooth and springy.
- Grease large bowl with lard, shortening or butter.
- Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides.
- Cover; let rise in warm place about 1 hour 30 minutes or until double in size. (Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.)
- Grease 9-inch round pan with shortening.
- Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Shape into round loaf. Place in pan. Cover; let rise in warm place about 45 minutes or until double in size.
- In small bowl, beat egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water; brush over dough.
- Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.
- This is lovely when served warm with a good chunk of butter or any preserves of your choice.
- You can also make this loaf using spelt flour and omitting the yeast altogether. In its place use 1 tbsp of baking soda and a tsp of baking powder for leavening. The loaf will be a little more dense but equally delicious.