This Swedish Heritage Bread is the Best Fruit and Nut Bread Ever



During the pandemic a couple of months back, I took a break from my usual job as an essential worker in the social services sector, and dove into my Swedish heritage. Of course, that really means Swedish baking. I got a few books off of Amazon, and was utterly amazed at the interesting, intriguing recipes I found. Some would have to be made, no two ways about it. One was a cucumber salad, a Scandinavian classic, but the baking books or recipes about baking were the ones that really thrilled me. First of all, rye flour is a staple in Scandinavia, one we do not use a lot in North America, except for rye bread mostly (one of my favorites, incidentally). They use rye flour much as we use white flour, with some very delicious but different results.

These books were usually foreign language cookbooks that had been translated into English. One actually was from England, so no trouble with translation there. One though, had particularly beautiful photography, and the recipes were pretty straight forward, or so I thought. It was Swedish originally, and as I got into it, some things didn’t translate well. So, I fixed all that, and this recipe, Ernst’s Delicious Christmas Bread, is absolutely the best quick, fruit and nut bread I have ever made!

If you bake nothing else this year, do this one. It is chock full of nuts: hazelnuts (whole no less), fruits like raisins and thinly sliced apricots, with a variety of three different flours. Now one flour it called for was graham flour, which I have bought before, but now could not get any. Emergency substitution time: Use graham cracker crumbs. Worked like a charm. The other flours were white flour and rye flour, a medium one. One other thing:  You will need plain yogurt, and lots of it.

This makes two large loaves, 9-by-3 inches, and yes, you can freeze them. The breads have a nice, evenly firm texture, a medium brown color, not too sweet, almost reminiscent of Boston Brown Bread (due to the graham flour), but not quite. It slices beautifully (also looks beautiful) and is excellent with just butter, but the creator, Ernst, suggests it goes nicely with ham or cheese. I did the ham option after the New Year’s ham, and he is right.

Ernst’s Delicious Christmas Bread


2/17/2021 10:23:34 AM

"(more on that later)" After reading the recipe I agree that butter alone probably wouldn't do the job. I have found that using coconut oil for greasing pans, perhaps with a few exceptions, turns any baking container, glass or metal, into a non-stick surface,. I generously grease anything going in to the oven with coconut oil. There is almost no sticking unless I miss a spot. And as for cornbread, it makes an incredible crust. The cornbread tradition (KY mountains) I grew up with was to add all fat to an iron skillet, put the skillet in the oven to get hot, then add the cornbread mix to the hot oil. When making a 10" skillet of cornbread, I add about 1/3 cup or more of coconut oil to the skillet. The bread slides out with a golden crispy crust. #justsayin

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