Another tradition we honour in my family is making laufabrauð before Christmas. Laufabrauð is directly translated „leaf bread“. In fact they are very thin, fried wheat cakes. A leaf-like pattern is cut into the cake, hence the name.
Making laufabrauð is a bit of a handicraft and takes a little bit of time, so it’s a lovely way to bring the family together just before Christmas.
The recipe for approximately 25 cakes is as follows:
1 kg wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (can be less)
½ teaspoon baking powder
5-6 dl milk
1 tablespoon butter
Heat milk to a boiling point and add the butter into the warm milk to melt. The dry goods are mixed in a large bowl and the hot milk is added. Knead the dough till well mixed but not too long. Divide the dough into two parts and make two long pieces and place them on a cutting board, cover it with a cloth and put into a plastic bag to keep it warm.
Cut about 1,5 cm piece of the dough and roll, cover it carefully in wheat and roll out very, very thin. According to my late grandmother you were supposed to be able to read the newspaper through it. Put the cut-offs on a tray and fry as well, they make an excellent snack.
It’s good to find a plate with about 20 cm diameter to cut out cakes the correct size. Then it’s time to cut the pattern into the cake. You can both fold the cake and use a knife to cut the leaves. There is, however, a great thing available, the "leafbread-wheel" or laufabrauðshjól to cut the pattern. The best thing about this laufabrauðshjól is the fact that my grandfather invented it and when my grandmother died I was lucky enough to inherit hers, which was the first one made. The wheels can be bought, hand-made by a man who came across the tools my grandfather and a colleague of his used to make the original wheels. The new wheels have a slightly different look to the ones originally made.
Now it’s time to fold every other leave in the pattern and afterward you use the tip of your knife to prick the cake to prevent bubbles from forming when fried. Then it’s time to put the cake aside for a while to dry a bit (the surface of the cake is just supposed to dry). We cover a bed with a cotton sheet and lay the cakes on there with a window open.
When the last cake has been cut and pricked you can heat the oil to fry them. We use a neutral flavoured vegetable oil to fry the cakes in, for example rapeseed oil. Fry the cakes and make sure the cakes don’t fold in the oil.
After frying all the cakes, it’s time to fry the cut-offs…
Laufabrauð is served at every dinner during the holidays in my family, almost no matter what is being served, hangikjöt (cold smoked, cured lamb), Turkey, duck breast etc. Always just perfect, well according to my dad, perfect with a small piece of butter.