While choosing food at the excellent Scandinavian Kitchen (great review here and I‘m definitely recreating their ‘pizzasalad‘ – finely shredded white cabbage dressed with a mild vinegar and oregano, some time), I noticed some Lucia bread for sale. This reminded me that I had made a mental note over the summer to try this recipe when in season. That season is now. You can read more about the Swedish festival of Lucia here). The day itself is Monday!
I haven’t had great success with yeast recipes from this book (Scandinavian Cooking’ by Beryl Frank, published by Evans Brothers, 1978) in the past, but I always like to give a cookbook a few tries before I abandon it completely.
This is what they are supposed to look like:
- I started off using 3½ cups of flour.
- In order to get the dry ingredients to come together as a dough, I used all the warm milk.
- The dough had only risen a very small amount after 20 minutes, despite being snuggled on an chair next to the radiator.
- After I added the melted butter and milk, the dough far too wet, so I added another half cup of flour.
- I then left it to rise for an hour, during which time it increased in sized by about 50%
- It’s a very long time since I did anything with modelling clay or similar, so I knew when I was attempting to fashion the bread as per the recipe, that my results would not be photogenic. This stage would have been more fun if undertaken with the some small children, and if you’re me, not actually any messier.
- I decided that only the odd raisin (I didn’t have any currants) was a slightly insipid decoration, and made some of the dough into small buns, which I rolled in an egg yolk and milk wash and then a cinnamon-nutmeg-sugar-breadcrumb streusel.
- I compounded the messiness of my results by letting my oven heat up for a long time (I was worried if it was too cool, the yeast would not be activated) which then meant that the top shelf of bread was burnt.
These are a light, very soft, slightly dry bread with a mild flavour. While I approve of the exhortation to enjoy with plenty butter and a cup of coffee (as fika, I presume), I also felt they would be nice with some mild cheese and fresh fruit.