All Aboard! "It's Very Swedish..." a train on a cultural journey through Sweden, exploring the differences big and small between American and Swedish culture.
You might be wondering why I named the series "It's Very Swedish..." It came from harassment. Friends of mine one day, years into our friendship, commented, not so gently, "You sure say that a lot - It's very Swedish. Do you even realize that?" I guess I was just sharing about my homeland, or when something came up that was very American, I would counter with something "very Swedish." The phrase has stuck in our friendship, and frankly, I think it's the perfect title for this series.
So today's very Swedish cultural discussion is about baking from scratch. You can't really find a Betty Crocker cake mix, or a brownie mix, or a mix of any kind on the shelves of a Swedish grocery store, and I'm not just talking in the 70s. In Sweden, baking is still done from scratch, and there's a lot of it going on.
One of the most popular items is a yeast-dough bread which is very versatile, and can be made into lots of shapes depending on your purpose.
Here's the basic recipe, converted to American measurements. It does involve some "pinch of this" and "dab of that" which is how my Farmor (Father's Mother) always cooked, but The Nutritionist (my mother), kindly put in real numbers. I don't think I'm the only one who needs them...
Basic Buns (Bullar)
1 stick butter
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Almost a full quart of flour
1 tablespoon dry yeast
Cardamom (if desired and available)
Vanilla sugar (an imported Swedish product, if available)
Pearl sugar (also an imported Swedish product, if available)
Start by melting the butter and adding the milk slightly warmed. The mixture should be finger warm when combined. Put in mixer with the egg and beat together. Add sugar and salt and mix some more.
Add the yeast to the flour, and then add to the mixer with the other ingredients, gradually. Work dough aggressively in mixer until it all sticks together, but don't overwork it.
On floured board, roll into rectangle, spread with desired spices and sugars. Roll from the long side into a log.
Let rise for an hour. In winter months, a warm oven might be needed.
Now you have the choice of making individual buns, or a braid, or any other number of shapes depending on your creativity.
If making buns, use a sharp knife to cut into 3/4" pieces, and place in muffin papers with rolled part showing. These are sprinkled with the "pearl sugar" after being brushed with a beaten egg, to help the sugar stick.
If making a braid, make roll into a circle. Cut into 3/4 inch strips, flipping them backwards onto each other to resemble a braid.
To bake the buns, 400F for 5 minutes.
The braid, 375F for 15 minutes.
~Tina, who has never actually made these, since I'm hypoglycemic, but ate plenty before diagnosed as a teenager..
P.S This is a pinnable post. It's not an embarrassing childhood photo, but it took me a good long time to get those words and that frame onto it so PLEASE, PIN IT. If only for my efforts...
P.P.S A wonderful reader suggested a "printer friendly" version of the post to make the recipe easier to save. Anybody know how to do that? My admin is on medical leave...
©2014 All Rights ReservedPhoto credits:
How to braid
Sliced braid on plate: The Nutritionist.