Food for The Thomas

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Location: United States

... formerly known as Strider. It’s an old joke instigated by a girlfriend back in college. I used to be seen hiking through the snow wearing a floppy hat and carrying a walking staff ... the whole thing. Much has changed since then.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Bestemor's Julekage - Original Version

Regardless of whether you spell it Julekage, Julecage, or Yulecage it is our family's favorite breakfast bread during the Christmas season. This is the original recipe which makes three loaves that came down through our family from my father's Bestemor (Grandmother), my Oldemor.

The bread machine version of this recipe can be found here.

1 pint of milk - scald

½ lb - Sugar (1 cup)
¼ lb - butter
½ cup - Crisco
2 tsp - Salt
Combine these 4 ingredients in a bowl and add the scalded milk. Let cool, after stirring to dissolve the butter and Crisco.

Meanwhile put 8 cups of flour in a large bowl and add 2 tsp of ground cardamom.

When the scalded milk mixture has cooled, add 1 egg and stir lightly.
Add 2 packages of yeast that have been mixed with ½ cup lukewarm water.

Now slowly pour the mixture into the bowl with the flour, stir and beat like when you make bread.

Let stand until doubled in bulk. Then beat down and let it rise again, to double in bulk.
These two risings take a while. We normally set the bowl (covered by a sack-cloth towel and/or plastic wrap) in front of a heat vent to assist with the rising.
Next put the entire mixture on a lightly floured bread board. Push it around until it fills the board. Kneed into the dough 1 cup of raisins and 1 cup of Citron (cut up small).

Divide dough into three parts and put into pans that have been buttered. Let stand until doubled in bulk.

Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

If you use instant yeast, be sure and add the powder to the ½ cup of lukewarm water. Do not just add the powdered yeast to the mixture.
I normally "proof" the yeast by adding a pinch of sugar to the water/dry yeast mixture and waiting for it to foam before adding it to the milk/butter/sugar/egg mixture.
You can use Cardamom that has already been ground or you can buy the Cardamom seeds and grind them yourself. You need 32 pods to 2 tsp of Cardamom. Remove the pods and then grind the seeds that are inside, very fine. The cardamom taste in the bread is stronger by grinding the cardamom yourself as it loses its flavor in the already ground cardamom.
We purchase our cardamom in the spice isle of our local health food store. We have also taken to using a coffee grinder to grind the cardamon rather than the normal mortar and pestle. It is so much easier to measure the caramon into the grinder and punch a button than to play with the mortar and pestle.
We also soak the raisins in warm water and drain them before they get added before the third rising. This softens the raisins and makes for a nicer loaf of bread.