Mom made it every Christmas, but I've never made it before. I've had some success lately in making bread, so I thought I would try Yule Kage for Christmas this year.
Mom's recipe file had two cards. One was in Grandma's handwriting and the other in Mom's. Using them together I felt confident enough to give it a try.
Norwegian Yule Kage
|Using an old family recipe card.|
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups milk
1 yeast cake
(I used 1 1/2 pkgs active dry yeast)
3 tablespoons lukewarm water
6 1/2 cups flour
|Scald milk then add butter and sugar.|
1 cup raisins
1 cup citron
1 teaspoon ground cardamon
Scald the milk. I had to look this up. Bring the milk to almost boiling then allow it to cool slightly. Add the butter and sugar, and let the mixture continue to
|Activating the yeast in a small bowl.|
Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water (100-110 degrees). If the water is too cold, the yeast won't activate. If it is too hot, the yeast will be killed. Stir occasionally. The yeast gets bubbly, releasing carbon dioxide gas, the stuff you need to make bread rise.
|Mix in cooled liquid, yeast and eggs.|
Then add the dissolved yeast followed by three well beaten eggs. Beat the whole mixture until everything is fully incorporated and smooth.
|Adding the raisins, citron and cardamon.|
Add the remaining flour a little at a time. At this point I switched from the whisk to a large wooden spoon. At the end, it was easier to mix the last of the dry flour in with my hands.
|Knead on a floured bread board.|
Place dough in a large greased bowl. I used soft margarine. Roll the dough over in the bowl to get some of the margarine on top of the dough to keep it from drying out. Cover the bowl. I used plastic wrap covered with a tea towel. Grandma's recipe card called
|Let the dough rise in a warm place.|
Let the dough rise in a warm place for about two hours, or until double in size. Mine took one and a half hours in front of the fireplace.
Punch the dough down and divide as desired. I cut mine in half for two large loaves. Form the dough into balls.
|Divide dough into loaves to rise again.|
Place the dough in a warm place and let it double in size again (about 45 minutes).
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Test by tapping the top with your finger. It should have a hollow sound when it's done.
|Ready for the oven.|
Remove the bread from its pan and cool completely on a rack. If you like a crispy crust, store it in a paper bag. If you want a soft crust, store it in an airtight plastic bag.
For me, Yule Kage is not complete without gjetost cheese on top. The brand I find in the States is Ski Queen. It's a semi-hard cheese made from whey, milk, goat milk and cream. It has caramel colour, has a unique flavour, and melts in your mouth. It always reminds me of going to Grandma's house for Christmas.
|Norwegian Yule Kage cooling on racks.|
Next year when I make Yule Kage, I'll try all-purpose flour like Mom used and add extra ground cardamon. Other than that, I'm very pleased with Christmas bread.
I couldn't wait. I cut a slice, toasted it with butter, and topped it with gjetost. Closing my eyes I could feel my family enjoying Christmas and New Years morning with me once again.
Do you have any traditional holiday foods that make you feel connected to your heritage? -- Margy