There should be a little thingie over the “o” but I’d be pushing my luck trying to find it. Maybe later.

I made Vetebrod today! First time in, oh, seven, eight years? Maybe I’m not as depressed as I thought. I found some recipes on the Internet, and then I have Aunt Elsie’s recipe, which I pretty much followed except for some stuff about the yeast.

Vetebrod, for the non-Swedish, is a Swedish coffee cake or bread. It’s pretty much an ordinary rich yeast bread. To be authentic, cardamom should be added, and I ordered some cardamom but today’s batch was practice so didn’t include it. It’s braided – three “ropes” of dough are flattened, fruits and nuts and spices added and the ropes sealed, then braided together, and maybe curled around in a ring then cut on top to look like a wreath. I made two kinds of braided loaves today, one without the ropes but I liked the original better. The “ropes” can also be tied in knots to make individual buns, or “bulla”.

I put a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and brown sugar in as the spices, then some dried currants (because they’re smaller than raisins) and some of the candied lemon peel I made over the weekend (I need to make more). And almonds, the expensive sliced kind. I put almonds and lemon peel on top, but the lemon peel got very hard and burned because of the high sugar content so I’ll leave that off next time. It came out pretty good, though I think I used too much flour, which is something I always do – but it sticks to the counter when kneading! I don’t know how to get around that. Maybe knead less powerfully? I also read something about not adding salt until after the yeast has bloomed, which I didn’t do – neither of my recipes said anything about that, the yeast was added to heated milk, egg, butter, sugar and salt. I think I’ll try adding the salt later next time, too. Other than that, I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. It wasn’t Aunt Elsie’s, but it was good enough.

eta: I never realized vetebrod was so popular! Here’s the exact recipe I’ve been using, an amalgam of Aunt Elsie’s, various internet sources, and my own preferences:

Vetebrod recipe I’ve been using, part from Aunt Elsie, part from internet sources. I seem to use much less flour. Some recipes don’t use an egg; my aunt’s recipe actually used 2 eggs. I’ve read that salt should not be added to yeast mixture until the flour is added, as it will kill the yeast, so I put the salt in later than most recipes. I haven’t really noticed a difference.


1 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter
1 egg
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 packages active dry yeast
1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
4 ½ to 5 cups flour


3 – 4 tablespoons butter, very soft
spice mixture (invent your own or use this)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cardamom
pinch cloves
pinch allspice
dried zante currants or raisins, candied lemon peel, and/or almonds
2 tablespoons brown sugar


1 egg
2 tablespoons water
sliced almonds
½ teaspoon sugar

Bring dough ingredients to room temp.

Scald milk, add butter until it melts. Add sugar and cardamom. Pour into large mixing bowl. Let cool until 110-115 degrees F. Add yeast and stir, let sit 10 minutes.

Add beaten egg.

Add 1 cup flour and salt. Keep adding flour until dough pulls away from side of bowl, then turn out and knead, adding flour, until elastic.

Oil the surface of the dough and place in bowl, cover with damp towel, put in warm humid place to rise 1 hour (I use my gas oven, heated only by the pilot, with a pan of boiling water on bottom shelf).

Punch down and turn out onto floured board. Knead a few times. Divide in half. Cover half not being worked on. Divide half into three parts, roll gently into ropes. Flatten the ropes. Add filling to center of each flat rope, then pinch closed. Braid the three ropes, place on cookie sheet, cover with damp paper towel. Repeat with second half of dough. Place in warm, humid place to rise about 45 – 60 minutes (I use the oven again).

Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sliced almonds and sugar.

Heat oven to 350 F. Bake on center rack about 20 – 25 minutes; do not overbake.


I’ve been on a cooking spree. It started with Thanksgiving, making the root veggies for Sally’s Syrian chicken with lamb stuffing. I forgot to buy parsnips, so I bought them this week, along with bunch of other veggies – brussels sprouts (roasted, delicious), beets (also roasted, with clementine juice, excellent), and butternut squash (not made yet). Then some guy was telling me about ground beef, 90% ground beef on sale for $1.99, and it looked like regular Hannaford’s ground beef, the same label, a different container and it was already in patties, and I got two packages, then saw “Cargill” on the package – damn. I was tricked! So I put it in the freezer and now I don’t know what to do. I guess I could use it for meatballs. I wouldn’t want to give it to anyone. Cargill – yuck. I just read that Anthony Bourdain book where he excoriated them for making ground beef by using ammonia to make sure it doesn’t kill someone. And that movie, I forget the name of it, a couple of years ago about how they slaughter cows in horribly unsanitary conditions. The result is their beef is more like paste than ground beef. Hannaford at least buys sides and then grinds it there. I should’ve looked more carefully. But it bugs me to throw away two pounds of beef. Still, it’s not the sort of thing I’d give anyone, I wouldn’t give someone something I wouldn’t eat myself. So I’ll have to eat it. Meatballs it is.


3 responses to “Vetebrod

  1. Pingback: Ha Jin – “Choice” and “Children As Enemies” from A Good Fall « A Just Recompense

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