Grandma Anna’s Holiday Bread (Julekake)

Wake up to a new Christmas morning tradition this year: Grandma Anna’s Holiday Bread. A Norwegian holiday staple, this hearty bread is studded with dried fruits and the distinct flavor of cardamom. Served warm and buttered by the slice, this savory-sweet baked treat is a festive addition to any family breakfast or brunch menu.

Recipe courtesy of Kristian Rex & Family.

Serves: Makes 2 loaves or 24 servings.
35 mins Prep time 40 mins Cook time
35 mins Prep time
40 mins Cook time
  • Mix orange juice and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add raisins; soak for at least 30 minutes. Strain and set aside.

  • Warm milk in small saucepan on medium heat. When bubbles begin to form around the edge, remove from heat. Stir in sugar, butter and salt until butter is melted. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.

  • Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Add the lukewarm milk mixture, then stir in two beaten eggs. Add 2 cups of the flour and cardamom; beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth. Stir in strained raisins and citron. Stir in just enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough, about 2 1/2 to 3 cups. Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Let rest about ten minutes.

  • Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place dough in a large, lightly buttered bowl. Turn dough in bowl so that the butter coats the entire ball of dough. Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Set bowl in a warm, draft-free place, about 85°F, to rise until it’s doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Punch down the dough and divide in half, forming dough into two balls. Cover and let rest ten minutes. Lightly grease two large baking sheets. Place 1 round loaf onto each baking sheet. Cover both with clean kitchen towels. Let rise again in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, another 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

  • Beat remaining egg in small bowl. Gently brush each loaf with beaten egg, taking care not to press down on the dough too much. Bake 20 minutes, then cover with foil and bake again until bread is a deep golden brown, about 17 to 18 minutes. Immediately transfer to wire racks and cool completely.

Cooking tip

Test Kitchen Tips:
• Add 1 tablespoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract to dough for richer flavor.

• Add 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Lemon Extract  or Pure Orange Extract for extra citrus flavor.

Substitution Tip: Use assorted chopped candied dried fruit, such as chopped fruit cake mix in place of the citron.

Nutrition information

(Amount per serving)

  • 187Calories: 187Cholesterol: 29mg
  • Sodium: 154mgProtein: 4g
  • Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2g
  • Fiber: 1gCarbohydrate: 36g