Sunday, November 13, 2011

Swedish Batter Bread with Cinnamon and Cranberries . . .

My husband walked into the kitchen, spotted this newly baked item on the kitchen counter, and asked the question I'd been anticipating.

Him: "What kind of bundt cake is that?"
Me: "Um, well, actually it's not a bundt cake. It's called Swedish batter bread, with cinnamon and dried cranberries. It's made with yeast."

Him: "Really? But didn't you bake it in one of those bundt pans?"
Me: "No. It was made in a kugelhopf pan."
Brief silence.
Him, with affectionate sarcasm: "Ohhhh, of course. A kugelhopf pan. I should have known."

He loves to tease me about the odd minutiae of baking. The wacky pans, the loonier methods/techniques, the sometimes off-beat ingredients. And that's okay with me. I figure it helps keep me from taking all of this too seriously. I assumed he'd have something funny to say about this particular recipe, because this is one of those baked goods that's not easily categorized.

It has the texture of a hearty cake or maybe even a muffin, which I found kind of surprising. I'd expected it to be at least a little more bready. The flavor, though, was as I expected--nicely mild, not very sweet, but still cinnamony. Luckily, Andy (the hubby), really loved this batter bread. He munched it with coffee in the morning for a few days, and I tucked a little piece of it into his lunchbox. Yesterday, when it was legitimately stale and he found out I'd thrown the small remainder away, he pretended to cry. That guy.

About this recipe . . . 

Adapted from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas (a wonderful book, by the way), this batter bread was originally intended to feature saffron and golden raisins. I toyed with the idea of using saffron with dried cranberries (I'm not crazy about golden raisins), but then realized I wasn't even in a saffron mood at all. I was in a cinnamon mood.

I also decided to refrain from sprinkling the finished bread with the recommended powdered sugar, and used cinnamon sugar instead. That was a good choice. I modified the method for putting this together slightly, used instant yeast instead of active dry, and added in a little nutmeg along with the cinnamon. I reworded the recipe to reflect all of my changes.

Swedish Batter Bread with Cinnamon and Cranberries
(For a printable version of this recipe,  click here!)

Yield: One 10" loaf made in a kugelhopf, tube, or bundt pan

1 and 1/2 tsp. instant yeast (or, 1 package active dry yeast, which you'll need to proof in the 1/4 cup of warm water below)
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 tsp. salt (I used fine sea salt.)
1/2 cup milk, slightly warm (Ojakangas says to scald and cool the milk; whether this old-fashioned scalding step is still necessary these days with modern milk is up for debate. In any case, use milk that's warm. I did not scald it first.)
1 and 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg (Freshly ground is best; do it yourself when possible!)
3 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached.)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar mixed with 1 tsp. ground cinnamon (to sprinkle on finished bread)

In the large bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the room-temperature eggs along with the salt, beating until smooth. On the lowest speed, add in the yeast, water, and milk.

In a separate bowl, whisk the cinnamon and nutmeg together with the flour, then add it gradually into the mixer bowl, still on the low speed. Raise the speed to medium, and beat for five minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl and beaters now and then.

Add in the cranberries on low speed, mixing until combined.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, place it in a warm spot, and let the batter rise until it's doubled in size; this will take about 1and 1/2 to 2 hours.

Prepare your pan by liberally brushing it with soft, unsalted butter and lightly flouring it, or use baking spray (if you use baking spray, be careful not to let it pool in the bottom of the pan. Before you transfer your batter from the bowl into the pan, use a pastry brush to even it out and make sure you've gotten all the nooks and crannies, especially if you're using a kugelhopf/bundt pan.)

When the batter has doubled, stir it down; it will deflate considerably. Pour all of the batter into the prepared pan. Cover the top of the pan with plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot until the batter approaches the top of the pan (I let my batter rise to about an inch from the top of the pan); this should take about 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while the batter's rising.

Bake the bread for about 40 to 45 minutes. It should be quite golden brown on the outside. I tested mine with a toothpick, too.

Cool the bread in its pan for 15 minutes then invert it onto a cooling rack.

While still warm but not hot, set the bread still on its rack over a baking sheet and liberally dust the top of it with the cinnamon sugar.

(If you'd like to comment on this post, or to read any existing comments, please click on the purple COMMENTS below!)


annie said...

This would make an awesome addition to the Christmas cakes and cookies trays.If hubby gave it his seal of approval, it must be good. Thank you.

Emily Malloy said...

Absolutely beautiful!

june in ireland who loves to bake said...'ve got me in a super-cinnamon mood too, after reading this and looking at the gorgeous photos to accompany such a tasty treat. I love cake...especially bready-type cakes...I love cinnamon...I love cranberries, so I'd give this 9 YUMS (out of a possible 10).

I'm definitely going to try this one out, and also have a look around on ebay for what sounds like a lovely book, as well.
Thanks for sharing, Jane. And your hubby is adorable, too. Mine teases me similarly when I'm in the baking zone (as he calls it). But in that same sweet, adorable way. I think my guy would also have pretend cried if I threw out any bready-type cake - stale or otherwise. He's not a big cake fan, but he loves bread, so bready-type cake definitely qualifies.

Paula said...

You did make a beautiful bread and I had to laugh at the conversation about it between you and your husband. Got a really good chuckle out of his *pretend tears* too so I suppose this will be seen again at some point in your kitchen. Wishing it was in mine however.

Luv'n Spoonfuls said...

Love the photos, and the cake sounds really delicious. I'm a sucker for any dessert with fruit in it. This sounds delish with a cup of tea. I also have pan-envy ;-)

Nancy Baggett said...

Well, of course, it's a Kugelhopf pan! How silly to think it's a Bundt! I actually have a beautiful handpainted Kugelhopf that I bought in Germany many years ago, but have always been afraid to use. So, if I try this I'll probably bake it in a Bundt!

Pink Piccadilly Pastries said...

I have had this cookbook for years and not made one recipe from it! This looks so good and perfect for this time of year! Love your blog and am a new follower! Jina

BumbleVee said...

hahahha.... that's pretty funny. Your hubby sounds like mine. We never even realize how much goes in through osmosis do we? Mine likes to sit there ..."keeping me company" as he puts it.... waiting for bowls to lick and such.... sometimes even reminding me of certain steps and ingredients if I forget. Time he did the baking methinks. Actually he does bake my birthday cake..a tradition... I like carrot cake and he has made it for quite a few years now... ... his is the best I have ever tasted. Come to think of it...he also makes a mean pizza!

This looks interesting...I may have to break down and find me a Kugelhopf pan.

Aveen said...

My husband and I have had many similar conversations involving baking tins and other kitchen implements! This looks and sounds delicious, really my sort of thing. I've been wondering about this book but you've convinced me, I think I'll be asking Santa for a copy.

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

I love the shape of this baking pan! Looks gorgeous! And of course, the batter would be lovely too :)

MuffinTopConfections said...

This looks utterly divine. I would love to try to make this for Christmas. I think my hard to please hubby would approve!

Anonymous said...

Greeting Jane,

I enjoy your blog and have made several of your posted recipes. Today I tried the Swedish Batter Bread. My batter was more like tacky dough than that shown in your photos. I have a few questions to help pinpoint my mistake. Since I could not find where to add the sugar, I creamed it with the butter before adding the eggs. My liquids measured 1 1/2 cups (1/4 c H2O, 1/2 c milk, and 3/4 c eggs) to 3 cups flours. Is that correct ... 50 percent hydration? I also mixed the spices in the the flour. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Jane said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks so much for letting me know about that omission in the recipe. I should have written (and have since corrected it in the post and in the "printable version" of the recipe) that the butter should indeed be creamed with the sugar, and then the eggs and salt are added in. You mentioned that you used "3/4 cup of eggs." The correct measurement is 3 large eggs, not 3/4 cup of eggs, so I'm wondering if perhaps that was the source of your problem? In any event, I am sorry it didn't turn out as hoped. I appreciate that you contacted me!
Jane :)

Anonymous said...

I just tried this recipe as I wanted a breakfast birthday "cake" for my son to wake up to. (it did indeed look beautiful with candles!) My batter was much more like a bread batter (definitely not pourable!). The bread turned out wonderfully, but it was definitely a bread texture (which I was happy about). Not sure why it differs from your experience, as I followed the recipe closely, but it made a beautiful bread loaf and I plan to try twisting it into a different shape this time, given the texture of the dough. Always fun to play :) thx again! love your blog!

Anonymous said...

Thank for your Blog...this is my first go at one of yor recipes. I got a little confused as to whether to add the cinnamon and nutmeg to the flour (started to then saw about the topping and thought that was where it went ya da ya da). I just added the cinnamon to the dough realizing that was the correct thing to do. You just might have the recipe read to mix the cinn. and nutmeg into the flour before adding it to the moist ingredients. Just a suggestion.

Jane said...

Dear Alison (regarding the June 4, '12 comment),

Thank you very, very much for making me aware of that flaw in the recipe. I have fixed it in the post itself and in the printable version of the recipe. I sincerely appreciate that you told me about it, and I apologize for any trouble it caused for you. I hope your bread came out well. Thanks again!