As soon as I saw the Swedish coffee bread on Elise’s Simply Recipes, I knew I’d make my own. The original plan was to bake it last Sunday because I thought that Sam would just love to drizzle the glaze over the newly baked bread but she went back to the condo early Sunday morning, I lost momentum and baked nothing on Sunday. Yesterday, I was by myself in the house and I decided to do some baking. I made one wreath of Swedish coffee bread and eight cheese and sausage rolls.
According to Sara, Elise’s reader who sent her the recipe, coffee bread is a traditional Christmas dish in Sweden. So, although most recipes yield a braided bread, Sara likes to form her coffee bread into a wreath which I found lovely. My Swedish coffee bread closely follows the recipe from Simply Recipes (Elise is one of the few food bloggers whose recipes I trust) although I did make a few tweaks here and there (I didn’t add any egg), and I used my own concoction for the filling.
Is it difficult to make Swedish coffee bread? Not if you know how to make bread dough.
First, make the dough then roll into a log. Flatten the log and spread your sugar-and-spice-and-everything-nice filling.
Roll the dough to seal the filling.
Take the log and transfer to a lined baking dish (I used a pizza dish), forming the dough into a ring. Pinch the two edges together so that everything is neat.
Using kitchen shears, slice the dough diagonally at two-inch intervals without cutting all the way to the inside of the ring. Ideally, the slices should be an even number.
Take one slice of dough and pull it toward the inside of the ring. Do this alternately. And this is why the slices should, ideally, be an even number. But I’m bad in Math, I cut and cut without counting so I had an extra slice which, I hope, you won’t notice.
Let the dough rise a second time then bake.
Drizzle sugar glaze all over the Swedish coffee bread.
Swedish coffee bread: A Christmas tradition
For the filling, mix together:
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Make the bread. Whisk together the flours, salt and ground cardamom.Scald the milk. Pour into a mixing bowl. Stir in the water. Leave until lukewarm. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture. Leave for 10 minutes.
- Add the sugar and melted butter to the yeast mixture. Stir. Add half of the flour mixture. Mix. The dough will be wet, sticky and lumpy. Add the rest of the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together.
- Dump the dough into a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes, dusting with flour sparingly, until no longer sticky. Form into a ball.
- Brush the inside of a bowl with vegetable oil. Put the dough in the bowl, turning it around to coat the surface with oil. Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rise for about two hours.
- Punch down the dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Form into a log. With a rolling pin, flatten the log to make a long rectangle.
- Spread the filling on the dough leaving a one-inch-margin on all sides.
- From one of the two long edges, roll the rough until you have a neat log.
- Lift the dough and coil into a ring on a baking dish lined with greaseproof paper. Pinch the ends so that the ring doesn't come apart.
- With a pair of kitchen shears, cut slices at two-inch intervals from the outside of the ring leaving about half an inch of the dough in the inner part of the ring still intact. You want the ring to still be in one piece.
- Count the slices (ideally, you should have an even number) and lift all the odd OR even-numbered slices and pull toward the inside of the ring.
- Leave the dough to rise for another 30 to 45 minutes.
- Ten to 15 minutes before the dough is done rising, preheat the oven to 325F.
- Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Make the glaze. Place 1/2 c. of sifted powdered sugar in a bowl. Add a teaspoonful of water. Mix. If the mixture is pourable, drizzle over the bread. If the mixture is still too thick, add more water, a few drops at a time.
- The Swedish coffee bread is so called because it is best served as an accompaniment to coffee. I had mine with iced coffee yesterday. When Speedy got home, he had his with hot coffee. And he loved, loved, loved the Swedish coffee bread. It just might become a tradition in our family, Christmas or not.