For as much as I tease that Asia is “The Motherland” I am, ethnically speaking, mostly German and Norwegian. This past winter I was looking into traditional desserts of various cultures in Asia when I realized I didn’t know much about the desserts found in my own ancestors cultures.
My one remaining grandmother is 100% Norwegian, which gives many of our holidays a Norwegian flair. But besides a few sweets (such as krumkaker) and some cough*horrifying*cough dishes (don’t even get me started on lutefisk) I don’t know much about the traditional cuisine. After some searching online, I found a few recipes for some sweet buns that kept popping up.
A few weeks ago, I tried making one of these recipes. I have never really used yeast much, so I was a bit intimidated. However the results were excellent! Not only that, my grandma said the buns tasted exactly like the ones her mother made for her as a young child!
With those thoughts in mind, I thought I would tackle the second recipe I found, which is the star of today’s post: Skolebrød. Apparently the name comes from the idea that this is the type of sweet bread Norwegian mothers would pack with their children to take to school every day in their lunch box. That sounds great to me, I could definitely eat this every day!
Before I move onto the recipe, I would like to thank all of my friends who let me question…interrogate…them about their culture and traditions. I think that through learning about other people and other cultures, you can learn a lot about yourself and your own culture as well. I never would have known what kind of bread my great-grandmother used to make unless I started digging into another culture’s traditions.
Today’s music selection: “Good Night” by Sweet Sorrow.
First, the butter was melted and mixed with milk. This was then added to sugar before being sprinkled with yeast.The warm milk and sugar combination is fine dining for the yeast, and really helps the bread rise later on.
Now comes the most important ingredient: Cardamom.
Then the flour is added, forming the base for the buns.
After 1 hour the dough doubles in size.
While the dough is rising, the custard filling is made.
The dough gets shaped into small balls, then brushed with egg and filled with custard before being put in the oven and baked.
After the buns are cooled, the icing is piped on followed by the final touch of shredded coconut.
Aka School Bread
Inspired by Five and Spice’s Recipe
For the Buns:
1 stick of butter
3 cups of whole milk
1 cup of sugar
5 tsp yeast
2 tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp salt
6 cups of flour
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
For Custard Filling:
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of whole milk
2 egg yolks
1 T cornstarch
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
About 2 cups of powdered sugar
About ¼ cup of whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1) In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the milk and heat until warmed through.
2) Pour then milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer with the sugar and mix to combine.
3) Sprinkle the yeast evenly over the top of the milk mixture and let it rest for 5-10 minutes, until the yeast begins to become frothy at the edges.
4) Stir in the cardamom and salt.
5) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
6) Stir in the flour, about one cup at a time, until a sticky dough forms.
7) Using a bread hook, mix the dough on low to medium-low speed for about 5 minutes, until a smooth yet sticky dough forms.
8) Grease a bowl with oil and transfer the dough to the bowl.
9) Cover this bowl with a damp towel and place in the warmed oven. As soon as you place the dough into the oven, turn it off and close the door. Leave to rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.
10) Now make the custard filling. Whisk the egg, egg yolks, cornstarch and sugar together in a bowl.
11) Combine milk and cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
12) Remove ¼ cup of hot milk and gradually pour it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
13) Repeat this step, adding another ¼ cup of hot milk to the egg mixture.
14) Pour the egg mixture into the pan with the rest of the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until a pudding-like consistency is achieved. (You know it is done when you can coat the back of a spoon in the custard, wipe your finger down the center and the remaining custard does not move to fill the space left by your finger.)
15) Stir the vanilla into the custard and set aside to cool.
16) Turn out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and kneed a few times.
17) Divide the dough to make about 24 equal pieces. Depending on the size of bun you want, you can make more or less.
18) Form each piece of dough into a ball, then flatten and create a dimple in the center—as if you are making thumbprint cookies.
19) Place the dough pieces on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
20) Cover the sheets with towels and allow the dough to rise for another 30 minutes.
21) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
22) Brush the egg over the surface of each bun, and fill the well in the center with cooled custard. If the well has filled during the 2nd rising, use a spoon or your finger to make it larger.
23) Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
24) Place cooked buns on a wire rack and let them rest until completely cool, about one hour.
25) Now make the icing. Place the powdered sugar into a bowl and gradually add milk until you have a thick but pourable consistency. Add the vanilla if you desire.
26) Put the coconut in a shallow bowl.
27) Transfer the icing to a plastic bag and snip off the end, about a ¼ inch diameter.
28) Pipe the icing onto the buns around the custard center, then immediately press the sides of the bun in the coconut. Try to avoid the custard center.
• This whole recipe from start to finish takes about 4 hours, but it isn’t very labor intensive as far as long recipes go. The dough is rising for 1.5 hours, independently sitting or mixing for another 15 minutes, and cooking for 15 minutes.
• The custard is a bit sweet on its own, but is really complementary with the bread, which isn’t very sweet on its own.
• This is a huge recipe, which I suppose is good because of the time that goes into it. However, I live by myself and even if I ate a bun a day I would be set for a month! Thankfully I have friends who I pawned some off on. ^_^ If you do want to bake something for a party or a bake sale though, this is a great recipe.
Rating: 5/5 stars
I am giving this a perfect rating because the buns are beautiful, delicious, and everything went according to plan!