Gluten-Free Julekake Norwegian Christmas Bread Recipe

January 5th, 2008 yum Posted in About Me, Bob's Red Mill, Bread, Christmas, Holiday, Norwegian 5 Comments »

xmasbread.jpgEvery family has its own combination of holiday traditions, usually including its fair share of special recipes for holiday sweets. When I was growing up, we often made potato salad, a carrot apple salad with raisins (haroset- a long story) and deviled eggs for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. But it never occurred to me that when I grew up and got married, I’d get the chance to share in an extra wealth of traditions. A few years back when we were visiting DH’s family around Christmas time, DFIL was about to make his famous Norwegian Christmas Bread for the family when all of a sudden he paused, and turned to me. “Is there a way we could make this gluten-free?” he asked. I wasn’t quite sure how to answer the challenge, especially since I didn’t have all my bread flours with me. Luckily the local King Soopers grocery store carried Bob’s Red Mill Wonderful GF Sandwich Bread mix- and it occurred to us to combine FIL’s family recipe with the instructions for the bread and see what happened. Well, what happened was DELICIOUS! The bread mix had always been reliable, but the flavors had never excited me that much. Combined with the candied peel and fruit mix, a generous dose of raisins and freshly ground cardamom, it was like a whole different bread mix. The cinnamon sugar topping was the perfect note, adding a satisfying cinnamon coat to the loaf. The experiment was pronounced a success, and I was thrilled to be able to have a slice of my very own GF Christmas bread while the family enjoyed their regular Christmas bread slices for breakfast the next morning. DH can personally eat his way through several loaves a season, so I think it was a matter of some urgency that I learn the secret of the family Christmas bread. Actually, the first year we lived in Japan DH was depressed to be missing out on Christmas bread on the holidays- so his parents actually mailed him some freshly made Christmas bread! That may be the most expensive bread ever made- but DH was thrilled. The next year I had friends living in Yokohama that invited me to shop at their commisary- I stocked up on fruitcake mix specifically to make this bread! DFIL still remembers his mother making the bread for them around the Christmas season on the Wisconsin farm he grew up. DH has so many memories of Christmas bread around the holiday season that whenever one is baking in the oven he exclaims joyously that “It smells like Christmas!” And now DH and I can enjoy our own Christmas holidays with a slice of gluten free Christmas bread, also known as Julekake. Someday hopefully we’ll even introduce our child, gluten-free or otherwise, to this recipe so the tradition can continue! DFIL says the secret is to use freshly ground cardamom. He usually buys the whole pods at Whole Foods and uses about 1/2 cup of pods grinding the cardamom fresh for each recipe. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? And the cardamom really does seem to be the magical ingredient in this recipe.

I know the holidays are over now… *sniff* but what is your favorite family tradition for the holidays, in the kitchen or otherwise? Any gluten Christmas treats you’ve converted to be gluten-free? Please share in the comments!



Shared with Gluten-free Holiday Carnival

Gluten-Free Julekake Norwegian Christmas Bread
Ingredients
1 pkg. Rob’s Red Mill GF Bread Mix
1 2/3 cup warm milk (cow, rice, or soy ok)
1 whole egg + enough egg white to make 3/4 cup altogether
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1 tsp cider vinegar (or white wine)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp or more fresh cardamom seed
2 cups raisins
1 cup fruitcake mix
Directions
Dissolve one pkg of yeast in 1/3 cup warm milk.

Heat the remaining 1 1/3 cup of milk (or soy milk) in the microwave in a medium bowl. Add 1/3 cup butter or margarine, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and one tsp of salt to the hot milk. Add to your mixing bowl.

Crush about 2 tsp of fresh cardamom seed in a mortar and pestle.

When the milk mixture has cooled, gradually add flour and mix until
smooth.

Add yeast milk-mixture, eggs, and vinegar and mix with beaters for 2 1/2 minutes.

Add 2 cups raisins, 1 cup fruitcake mix and cardamom and mix for at
least 30 seconds.

Place dough in foil lined, buttered bread pan.

Brush top of dough with some warm milk. Sprinkle a mixture of 2
parts sugar and one part cinnamon on top of each loaf. Let raise in warmed
oven for 35-50 minutes or until dough has risen over the pan.

Bake at 375 oven for 35-45 minutes, covered with foil until crust is nicely browned. You can take off the foil for the last 10 minutes if you like.

Let cool and slice off a piece to enjoy some Norwegian heaven!

Notes
*if fruitcake mix is out of season, you can use 3 cups of raisins with good results.
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New Gluten-Free Bread Mix Reviews: Pamela’s Wheat-Free Bread and Bob’s Red Mill Hearty Whole Grain Bread Mix

November 8th, 2007 yum Posted in Bob's Red Mill, Bread, Gluten Free Product Review, Pamela's GF Mix 11 Comments »

bread2.jpgSome time ago, I was excited to find a whole range of new Pamela’s gluten-free mixes at my local Whole Foods. Pamela’s Products has really expanded their offerings, with new vanilla cake mix, Vanilla or Confetti Frosting mixes, and even a new gluten-free bread mix! Although I usually bake my own bread, I’ve become very fond of several gluten free bread mixes over the years. Quite by chance I got in the habit of making DFIL’s (dear father in law’s) Norwegian Christmas Bread using Bob’s Red Mill Bread Mix, Wheat & Gluten Free, and it’s become a holiday tradition. I’ve made his recipe using Bette Hagman recipes, but somehow it’s just not the same. So although I love making gluten free bread using Bette Hagman’s The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread (my hands down favorite gluten-free cookbook), sometimes all I want to do is dump a gluten free-bread mix in my bread machine and take out my bread a few hours later. With this in mind, I decided to try the new gluten-free bread mix by Pamela’s Products.

bread4.jpg I had high hopes for Pamela’s Products new Wheat-Free (and Gluten-free) Bread Mix, but although it had many good qualities, I probably won’t buy it again because I didn’t care for the flavor. I made it in my bread maker. It rose nicely and held its shape reasonably well after I took it out of the machine. I let the bread cool before I cut it as all gluten free bread can fall if cut while hot, and the bread sliced very well. Each individual slice had a spongy, soft bread texture. Actually it was almost a little TOO soft for me, but those who like soft bread will enjoy it. I cut a slice and put margarine and honey on it, expecting to have a tasty bite of fresh bread- but something about the flavor bothered me, and I had difficulty enjoying it. I have had almost every kind of gluten-free bread on the market and have been gluten-free for a long time, but I don’t know how I feel about Sorghum. Although it yields decent nutritional value and good texture, similarly to bean flour, if there is too high of a ratio of sorghum to neutral flours (White rice, tapioca, etc.) I think that the flavor is negatively impacted. I prefer a more subtle mix, like Bette Hagman’s four flour blend, which has less sorghum and thus gets the good qualities of the flour without negatively impacting flavor. I think it’s also worth mentioning that after years of being gluten free, I am used to/prefer toasted bread, unless it’s fresh baked that day, and I didn’t much care for this bread toasted. I used the bread for sandwiches for a few days and my (non-GF) DH ate it without complaint, but it reminded me a little too much of play dough to merit purchase in the future. My entirely subjective opinion aside, if you are looking for an easy gluten-free bread mix for your machine, I would recommend that you try them all (including this one) because only trial and error will help you find a bread mix that suits your palate. I prefer bean flour blends, but you may find this mix fits the bill perfectly! Overall impression: 5/10 Texture: 8/10 Longevity: 8/10 (it took forever to dry out)

Because I did think this bread could appeal to different people, I asked some members of the Yahoo “SillyYaks” Group for their opinions:

I love Pamela’s Bread Mix — we use it as our everyday sandwich bread. I think it has a great texture, stays pliable for several days when left on the counter, and doesn’t need toasting. It is also available for a great price from Amazon. As with non-gluten free foods, different people have different tastes, so I hope that others don’t get discouraged from trying it. I think that some people really love this bread mix whereas others don’t (maybe it’s the sorghum?) I would encourage people to give it a try. -Rochelle

We too love it. I buy it from Amazon as well. Only problem for us…and this is with all mixes…. I have to make it!! hehehehe I just never seem to have
time and when I remember, it’s too late. Maybe since I’ve been reminded, I’ll make some this weekend!
-kathi in houston

I have to agree with your hubby. Pamela’s bread is OK, but not fabulous. I prefer BRM “Wonderful GF Bread” or GFP Favorite Sandwich Bread. GFP French Bread (made in my French Bread pan liner) is also good even though it’s not “really” French Bread since it has eggs in it. The Pamela’s is just kind of OK.
Pamela’s brownies are AWESOME. Chocolate cake mix, pretty darn good. Pancake mix, good flavor but I don’t care for the almond flour texture (I loooooove Maple Grove Farms GF pancake mix). Bread… not so much.
:) -Chandra

I’m with Chandra on this one… (Oops, how did my opinion get in there again??!)-Sea


wholegrainbread.jpgThe second new gluten-free bread mix that I tried recently was Bob’s Red Mill’sGluten-Free Whole Grain Bread Mix. I was really excited at the idea of a whole grain bread, and the ingredients sounded promising:

whole grain buckwheat, garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, cornstarch, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, whole grain sorghum flour, tapioca flour, cocoa powder, evaporated cane juice, fava bean flour, molasses powder, xanthan gum, caraway seeds, active dry yeast, sea salt, whole grain teff, potato flour, onion powder, guar gum and soy lecithin.

I like all of those flours, and sorghum was pretty far down on the list. I’ve had good luck making gluten-free rye bread with caraway seeds and molasses, and I make some killer gluten-free teff rolls. So- I mixed up the bread, popped it into my bread machine, and went off to do some homework. I took the bread out a while later, let it cool, sliced into it, admired the great texture of the pretty, dark bread and took a big bite with margarine on a slice. Oh, cruel cruel hopes. How quickly they can be dashed. Here’s the thing. If you LOVE sunflower seeds, you are so set with this bread. The thing is, I don’t. And I like fake-rye bread, but this fake-rye bread is just trying way too hard. Cocoa, molasses, caraway AND onion powder? What was I thinking… those things don’t sound yummy together at all! And— in my opinion, at least in this incarnation, combined with sunflower seeds, they don’t taste good either. I don’t want the gluten-free equivalent of wonder bread. In fact, I almost never make Bette Hagman’s featherlight based breads. All that white rice flour and cornstarch (mostly the latter) makes me feel just too darned guilty. I like brown rice flour, especially if it’s nice and fresh, teff is a delight, and bean flour (in moderation) in breads makes my mouth sing. But this bread is just too much. One very thoughtful reviewer on Amazon wrote a glowing review entitled “Finally, a gluten-free bread with bite!” Yes, this bread has bite. In fact, I think I can still feel its teeth marks. Nope, I just didn’t like this bread. I think it very telling that the (only) other review of the Bob’s Red Mill bread mix is titled, “Vile!” and she goes on to say that “This particular mix is like rye bread on steroids.” (Hope I didn’t just attract another swarm of spambots, yikes). I have to agree. This bread, to my picky, picky little taste buds, was indeed vile, and we will not be purchasing it again. As Bob’s Red Mill is my witness. It’s a shame, because I love the concept. But, too many conflicting flavor elements and too many of those pesky sunflower seeds made this bread no friend of mine. To be fair, I also don’t care for the Whole Foods Prairie Bread. I don’t hate it, and the main things keeping me from buying it are mostly price and the fact that I prefer the sun-dried tomato bread, BUT if you love their bread, you love you a good hearty dose of sunflower seeds, and cocoa in savory bread sounds peachy keen, I would advise you to try this mix. Actually, even if you’re not sure you do like those things, try this mix. Because even though I didn’t like it (ok, I hated it), the one thing that a lifetime of being gluten-free has taught me is that taste is subjective, and even my taste buds change their minds sometimes. One woman’s best gluten-free bread ever is another woman’s doorstop or raccoon chow. (Have you ever seen a raccoon spit? I hear some gluten-free products can cause this kind of reaction in our furry four pawed friends…) This goes for Pamela’s Bread mix too, actually. You might like it, and want it to be a staple in your kitchen forever. You’ll never know unless you try. Who would have thought us gluten-free folks would ever have SO MUCH VARIETY in our gluten free breads. My entirely subjective rating- Overall impression: 3/10 Texture: 5/10 (too nubby)Longevity: 5/10 (became covered in mold after a few days, yum yum.)

And if you do like either of these products, or hate them, or are ambivalent, why not post and tell us about it? We’d love to hear your opinion.

By the way, speaking of bread, did you know that Whole Foods GF Bakehouse is coming out with/ has come out with GF honey oat bread and GF granola, both using Gluten-free certified oats? I’m too chicken to try them (so far), but hey, I’m getting seriously tempted!

Want to read more of my gluten free product reviews?

Don’t want to buy a mix? Here are some of my Gluten Free Cookbook Recipe Reviews including reviews of some of my favorite bread recipes ever

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