Julekaka

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This is a Christmas bread recipe brought to the US by my great-great-grandma Thora Hellerud who worked in a bakery in Christiania Norway before coming to America in the early 1900's. Do NOT mistake this for fruitcake. It's a light, sweet cardamom bread.

Difficulty: Medium - experience needed
Serves: 4 loaves

Preparation time:
Cooking time:

Ingredients

3 cups scalded whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
8 cups bread flour
1 cup butter
2 packages fast rising yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
3 eggs, beaten
14 cardamom seeds, crushed (1 HEAPING tsp)
1 pound golden raisins
1/2 cup citron
2 cups candied cherries
1 cup candied pineapple chunks

Method

1. Cut fruit so cherries are cut in half and pineapple and citron are approximately 1/2 inch wide.
2. Bring milk to a rolling boil. In a mixing bowl, stir together the scalded milk, butter, sugar, cardamom and salt. Allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm.
3. Meanwhile, as the mixture cools, allow the yeast to dissolve.
4. When the mixture has cooled, add the dissolved yeast and beaten eggs.
5. Add four cups of flour one cup at a time. Beat on high speed for 10 minutes to form gluten.
6. Add remaining four cups of flour. Add fruit between the 6th and 8th cups of flour, alternating fruit and flour to assure even distribution of fruit.
7. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size in a greased, deep pan. Rising time will be approximately 2 hours.
8. Punch down the risen dough. Divide into four greased bread pans and rise a second time until doubled - approximately 2 hours. Each pan should be about half full before the second rising.
9. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
10. Allow bread to cool a few minutes and then remove to cool on a rack.
11. Serve with any meal plain or with butter. Our favorite is to toast and butter it for breakfast.

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