As with last year, I made Julekake this year. The big difference is I got off my hind end and decided to experiment. My grandmother’s recipe makes five full-size loaves at one go. This is a quantity of dough that swamps my stand mixer and, in the words of my mother, “You don’t knead it, you hug it.” In other words, it is an incredibly daunting prospect to contemplate for any amateur Julenisse.
Modifying baking recipes is not something I’m qualified in any way to do. My friend Linsey is an expert in such things, and from reading her blog I know there is seemingly endless trial and error in these experiments. But I wanted cardamom and dried fruit in a lovely, slightly chewy, perfect for breakfast toast sort of way. And so I fired up a spreadsheet and commenced to calculate.
My first experiment (five loaves down to three) was actually very successful. Not enough cardamom, but I was (I believe) understandably cautious: cardamom is pretty pungent. But the texture was perfect. And I could get the bulk of the kneading done with the stand mixer and finish by hand.
We stored two of the loaves in the oven. John’s idea, and not a bad one. But it is a bad idea to preheat the oven without checking to see if there is anything in there first. And so, preparing to roast a chicken, John essentially laminated two loaves of Julekake.
So I made two more batches. Nine total loaves is proof of concept, I think. And I think I’m finally getting the cardamom calibration correct.
I still won’t make the mistake of thinking that I did anything other than get lucky with my first attempt at modifying a baking recipe. But it’s nice to have a more manageable version.