Hveder: toasted wheat buns (Denmark)
The fourth Friday after Easter is Great Prayer Day (Stor Bededag). In 1686, a Danish bishop declared that nobody was allowed to work, travel or do anything on Great Prayer Day. This meant that the bakers were not open, so people had to go to get their bread the night before.
The bakers would make these delicious wheat buns from an enriched dough. These were meant to be toasted on the morning of Great Prayer Day, but nowadays, people buy hveder in the evening and eat them then as snack. I don’t blame them: there is nothing quite like freshly baked buns for evening hygge.
Every year on the night before Great Prayer Day, people queue at the bakers for their buns. These are always freshly baked – but still toasted on one side. Cut the bread open, pop it under a light grill/broiler for a few minutes until the top
is lightly crisp. Enjoy warm, spread with butter.
In 2020, Great Prayer Day is on 8th May, but these buns taste equally good on other days!
Makes 12 buns
- 25 g/1 oz. fresh yeast (or equivalent of dried yeast – follow instructions on packet)
- 200 ml/1 cup whole milk heated to
- 36 –37°C (97–99°F)
- 100 ml/1/3 cup water heated to
- 36 –37°C (97–99°F)
- 50 g/1/4 cup caster/granulated sugar
- 550 g/scant 4 cups white strong/ bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
- 100 g/1 stick butter (softened)
- 1 egg
- egg (for brushing)
- Add the fresh yeast, warm milk and warm water to a stand mixer with a dough hook attached. Mix until the yeast has dissolved. Add the sugar and stir again, slowly adding half the flour, bit by bit. Add the salt, cardamom, softened butter and the egg and keep mixing. Slowly add the other half of the flour. You may not need all the flour or you may need a bit more, but keep mixing until you have a uniform springy dough (take care not to make it too dry – you can always add more flour later).
- Leave the dough to rise, covered, for around 40–45 minutes or until doubled in size. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Place onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 1–2 cm/3/8–3/4 in. apart – when they rise, they will touch and stick together, giving them the traditional look. Cover and leave to rise again for 20–25 minutes under a kitchen towel.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6. Brush each bun lightly with beaten egg and bake for around 15 minutes or until baked through.
From the book Bronte at Home by Bronte Aurell, published by Ryland Peters & Small, photo by Pete Cassidy. UK audience click here – for US audience, click here.
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