Swedish Snack Bread
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Source: The December 2014 Saveur 100
Notes: The original dough recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon salt. I up this to 2 teaspoons, which seems like a lot, but my general rule of thumb for baking is 1 teaspoon kosher salt for every 2 cups of flour.
Cardamom: I omitted entirely, which maybe makes this entirely unSwedish, but I’ve overdone cardamom in the past and still haven’t recovered. Add cardamom as you wish.
Pearl sugar. This recipe calls for Swedish pearl sugar, which is not what is pictured here. I used Belgian pearl sugar, which is much larger and intended for liege waffles. The pearl sugar adds a nice, festive, tasty touch, but if you don’t have any, you can make a simple glaze with milk and confectioners’ sugar.
- for the dough:
- 7 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1½ cups whole milk, heated to 115°
- 2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 4½ cups (about 574 g) flour, plus more for dusting
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1½ tsp. cardamom seeds, lightly crushed (optional, see notes)
- 2 tsp. kosher salt (see notes)
- for the filling and topping:
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 7 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon (I used 2 teaspoons)
- 1½ tsp. cardamom seeds, finely crushed (optional, see notes)
- 1 egg, beaten
- pearl sugar, for topping (optional, see notes above)
- Make the dough: Melt butter in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat (or use the microwave). Remove from heat and stir in milk and yeast; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, cardamom, and salt in a bowl. Stir in yeast mixture until dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; knead very briefly, about 3 minutes, adding minimal flour, until smooth and elastic. Return dough to bowl and cover with a clean dish towel; let sit in a warm place until dough is doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Make the filling: Mix granulated sugar, butter, cinnamon, and cardamom in a bowl until smooth.
- To make one large loaf: On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 11 x 17-inch rectangle, about ¼-inch thick. Spread filling over dough, leaving a ½-inch border along edges. Working from one long end, roll dough into a tight cylinder; transfer seam side down to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover with dish towel; let sit in a warm place until dough has doubled in size once more, about 45 minutes.
- To make two loaves (one of which you can refrigerate) instead of one: Roll dough into an 11 x 17-inch rectangle, about ¼-inch thick. Cut in half to make two 11 x 8.5-inch rectangles. Divide filling among each half leaving a ½-inch border along edges. Working from one SHORT end, roll dough into a tight cylinder; transfer seam side down to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. (I double up on the baking sheets to prevent burning on the bottom of the loaf.) If you want to save one of the loaves for later, cover it with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for no more than a day. Cover remaining loaf with dish towel or plastic wrap; let sit in a warm place until dough has doubled in size once more, about 45 minutes.
- Bake the bread: Heat oven to 375°. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife and starting 1-inch from ends of dough, make crosswise cuts, spaced 1-inch apart, three-quarters of the way through dough. Fan dough slices away from the center, alternating left to right. Brush dough with egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar; bake until golden brown, about 22 minutes. Let bread cool completely before serving.
- Note: To bake loaf that has been refrigerated, remove it from fridge at least an hour before you plan on baking it — it will take longer to come to room temperature. Then proceed with recipe.