Thursday, November 29, 2012

St Lucia bread

This is the last bread I am making for the RS live wreath night.  I think I might have liked it best.

St. Lucia is an Italian saint who has been "adopted" by the people of Sweden. Christmas celebrations in Sweden begin on her feast day, which is the 13th of December. Prior to the introduction of the Gregorian calendar, that date was the shortest day of the year and in some regions of Scandinavia the sun didn't rise at all. Lucia is the patron saint of light, and legend tells us she wore a wreath of candles on her head to free her arms to carry bread to starving Christians hiding in the catacombs. The man she was to marry denounced her for assisting the poor and as a punishment she was blinded and set afire. The flames, however, didn't touch her and it took a stab wound to the heart to finally kill her. It is said that Lucia regained her sight just before her death. She is, to this day, revered as the patron saint of the blind because of her association with light. Her place in Swedish legend was earned because farmers in the middle ages believed she walked across a lake to deliver armloads of bread to starving members of their villages during a famine. They reported her path across the water was illuminated by the crown of candles she wore on her head. Lucia's name is synonymous with light and her crown symbolizes the light of faith and the promise of the sun's return.

The crown should actually be made from two braids, one large, the other small. They are baked separately, and the small crown, which holds the candles, is placed on top of the other just before serving.  But as mentioned before, when you stack braids they often fall. So for this one, I am forming 4 long 'snakes' of dough into a round challah form.  Still crownlike but I wanted it to look different than the Swedish ones. (

·         DOUGH
·         1 1/2 cups milk
·         2 1/4-ounce packages active dry yeast
·         1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
·         6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
·         2 large eggs
·         1/4 cup orange juice
·         1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
·         2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
·         2 1/2 to 3 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
·         1/3 cup dried cranberries
·         Candles (optional)
How to make it
1.     Warm the milk in a small saucepan, then pour 1/2 cup of it into a large bowl.
2.     Add the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar and let it set for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in the remaining milk.
3.     Add the butter and milk mixture to the yeast mixture. Whisk in the eggs, juice, 1/4 cup of sugar, orange rind, and salt.
4.     Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough can be gathered into a ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes, adding more flour until the dough is smooth and elastic and does not stick to your hands.
5.     Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turning it once to coat it. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size, about 11/2 hours.
6.     Punch down the dough and divide it into 3 equal parts. Roll each part into a 30-inch rope and braid the ropes together.
7.     Transfer the braid to a greased baking sheet, pinch together the ends to form a circle, and let it rise until it has again doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
8.     Heat the oven to 375_. Bake the bread for 25 minutes or until golden brown, then let it cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.
9.     Drizzle the glaze mix over the bread, then garnish with the cranberries. Finally, add candles, if you'd like. Serves 12.

Patsy's Hoska

Tonight is the RS live wreath making.  This is the recipe for Patsy Ourednik's Hoska.  It was the best bread for toasting and I have never made it myself, but love eating hers...which she doesn't make anymore.  But she gave me her recipe for the 1980 cookbook we put together.  I will suggest a few things: do not the fresh yeast unless you are really good with fresh, use the regular yeast but use 2 T at least; be sure to give the dough plenty of time to rise, put it in a large lidded container and keep out of drafts.  Altho mine didn't rise enough this time, this was my impatience and stress in not letting it rise long enough...and the initial warm milk was not warm enough.  Also, when it comes to braiding, go online  and see alternative ways to in a 6 braid challah.  Too often when you stack braids they slip while baking.

Mix together
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 t. salk

Add 2 cakes compressed (fresh) yeast. Crumble into mixture and stir until yeast is dissolved.

Add the rest of the ingredients:
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup melted butter
4-5 cups sifted flour...enough only to make the dough be firm, but not stiff
1 cup yellow raisins
1/4 cup citron, optional
2 eggs

Lastly, candied cherries
egg wash

Separate the dough into 9 equal pieces.  Roll into long 'snakes'.

Take 4 strips and braid loosely.  See that the ends are firmly joined together.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet.  Put on the first braid.  Take candied cherries and place some here and there.  Then take 3 strips and braid as with the first one. place on top of the first one and repeat with cherries.  Then take last 2 strips and braid.  Place this on top.  Tuck any ends underneath the whole braid.

Cover and let rise about 1/2 hour.  Brush with beaten egg.  Put in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Then reduce heat to 325 and make 1/2 hour or more until browned.

**Patsy said:  This is traditionally made at christmas time by many Czechs.  As you can see, I am 'bi-lingual' when it comes to cooking.

Swedish Tea Ring

Tonight it the RS live wreath-making activity.  I was assigned to bring some 'wreaths' for the dessert table.  This is the Swedish Tea Ring that Rob gave me.  The dough is wonderful...excellent taste, too!

Swedish Tea Ring
From Rob Falke’s Mom’s, Mom’s Mom

For the yeast…
½  Cup of lukewarm water
4   Tablespoons of dry yeast
A   Pinch of sugar

For the dough…
10 Cups of white flour
2   Cups of lukewarm milk
1   Cup of white sugar
1   Cup of vegetable oil
2   teaspoons of salt
4   Eggs
1   Stick of butter (To melt and brush in the dough)

For the filling…
1   Cup of brown sugar
1   Cup of chopped nuts (Walnuts or Almonds)
2   Oranges (grate the zest)
1   Cup of maraschino cherries

For the frosting…
2  Cups of powdered sugar
A  Splash of milk

Baking Instructions
The Sweet Dough…
Prepare the sweet dough by pouring the 4 tablespoons of dry yeast into the 1 cup of lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar. Stir with your finger so most the yeast gets wet. Set aside to rise.

Warm a large mixing bowl with hot water. Pour out the water when the bowl is warm.
Add the two Cups of lukewarm milk, 1 cup of white sugar, 1 Cup of vegetable oil and 2 teaspoons of salt. Mix in the raised yeast. Whisk the eggs to mix the yolks and whites, then add the eggs to the batch. Mix well. Last, slowly mix in the flour.

When the dough is somewhat mixed together, pour the dough out on a clean surface and knead it for 5-10 minutes until the ingredients bind and the dough becomes smooth, but a little sticky. Let rise in a warm (not too hot) spot, punch down once or twice.

The Filling…
Grate the zest of both oranges and place in a medium bowl. Add the chopped nuts (reserve a few whole pieces to garnish the top of the tea rings.) Cut each of the maraschino cherries in half. (Go ahead and eat a few of them, saving several for decoration on top of the tea rings) Mix together and set aside the filling.

Roll up the ring…
Halve the ball of dough. Roll out the dough (one ball a a time) on a lightly floured surface and roll to about ¼ to 3/8 inches thick into a rectangle about 20” x 14”. Brush the dough generously with butter. Spread half the filling evenly over the dough. Roll up the dough with the filling inside until you have a 24” x 3” cylinder. Pinch the far edge of the dough to the bottom of the cylinder and seal it.

Place parchment paper on two large cookie sheets (with sides if you can, because the butter melts and will mess up your oven when they bake.) Place the dough in a circle on the cookie sheet sealing both ends to each other completing the circle.

Cut the ring of dough every 1” around the circle with a pair of large scissors. The cut should be straight out from the center of the ring, 2/3 of the way through the dough. Lift and gently press each slice of the ring, slanting each slide in one direction exposing some of the filling to view. Let rise for 10 minutes in a warm (not too hot) spot.

Bake in the oven…
Bake both rings for 30 minutes at 350ยบ Fahrenheit in the preheated oven until the edges begin to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Make the Frosting…
Mix two Cups of powdered sugar with a splash of milk (not too much) until a thick frosting appears. When the tea rings are cooled, spoon on a thin line of frosting in a circular motion going round the top of the tea ring several times to form overlapping circles. Cap with several cherries and some nuts.

Serve warm…
About 20 seconds per piece in the microwave is perfect. If you’re lucky you can taste a hint of doughy flavor in the center of the tea ring. Happy Holidays! Keep a cold glass of mike handy. Lick your fingers often.