Friday, March 29, 2013

Maundy and Good Bread

Maundy Thursday is over and done which means back in Scandinavia påskkärringar (Easter witches) have returned from their evening of consorting with the Devil at Blåkulla and thoughts return to all things påsk (Easter). Yes, the Nordics do things slightly differently than we dull Americans. You can read more about Swedish Easter by linking to this old posting.

Good Friday in our house usually brings Hot Cross Buns filled with dried fruit and sweet flavor. Lenten Bread (or bröd) is a great substitute if you prefer loaves over buns. This recipe makes three small loaves.

Lenten Bröd
1 package yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 cup warm milk
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
4-5 cups all-purpose flour (plus more if humid)
1 tablespoon fresh ground cardamom
1-2 teaspoons fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 cup maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
1/2 cup craisins, chopped
Zest of one orange
~1/2 cup bourbon
Butter and olive oil
1 egg, beaten

In large mixing bowl dissolve yeast in water. Melt butter in warm milk add salt and sugar. Mixture should be no hotter than 110 degrees; add to yeast mixture. Stir in 2 cups flour. Place in greased bowl; cover and place in warm area to rise about 2 hours or until doubled.

Gently fold in cardamom, nutmeg, cherries, craisins, zest, and bourbon; work in remaining flour until soft dough forms. Placed in clean greased bowl; cover and let rise in warm area about 2 to 3 hours or until doubled. 

Form dough into 3 round loaves. Place on greased cookies sheets and cover; let rise 1 to 2 hours or until doubled.  

Brush with beaten egg and bake about 30 - 40 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven until loaves sound hollow when you knock on them. Cool on rack.

Combine powdered sugar, fresh squeezed orange juice, and almond extract to make glaze and spread on cooled loaves.

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