Matthew and Michaline, our second Airbnb guests, made a memorable impression. They came up from California to vacation and welcomed the Oregon rain. I ran into Matthew on a rainy Monday morning, and he said he wanted to spend the afternoon baking up some authentic Scandinavian Danish. He had taught himself how to do so after spending time living in Holland. Being as he implied he wanted to share, I eagerly facilitated his efforts by asking what he needed. The list was quite simple and standard but for one key ingredient; for it to be authentically Scandinavian Matthew said it needed cardamon. He was happy (and maybe a bit surprised) to learn that I stocked it in my pantry.
The smell of buttery croissant-like bread came wafting upstairs about an hour before we got to taste it. I bit into a most flaky, delectable, savory pastry I’ve had in quite some time.
If you are a facebook friend of Fern Creek (or of me) you will have seen the photos I posted of Matthew’s delicious bread-art. Still, trepidity aside, I decided to try to make a batch for Easter.
My internet quest for a recipe taught me that many variations exist, and that they are a version of the more common tebirkes, which are folded, not twisted. Some are filled with remonce, others are not. Some are more sweet, the more authentic ones (says Matthew) are less so. Some techniques incorporate the butter into the flour from the get-go, others cut the butter into thin slices and roll it into the dough. I will try this technique next time, though this recipe reflects incorporating the butter at the start.
Being more clear on the ingredient list than the technique, I ended up experimenting a bit with both, and was quite happy with my results–except they might have seemed more roll-like than pastry-like, so I will tinker with my technique. Matthew’s rolls were more flaky, and while it could be he used more butter, I think it might have been his technique. If he returns as our guest at some point in the future I will definitely ask him about it.
One other note: One of the Dutch recipes I found online (all the European ones used grams instead of teaspoons, cups and ounces) said frøsnapper dough generally included some rye flour with the white, so I decided to add some. I liked the added earthiness the rye contributed, along with the seeds.
Nearly Authentic Frøsnapper
2 1/2 c. white flour
1 c. rye flour
3 sticks cold butter
4 1/2 tsp. yeast
1 c. milk or a blend of half/n/half and milk
3/4-1 tsp. ground cardamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar
Toasted sesame seeds (*optional: to sweeten the sesame seeds caramelize them)
1 whisked egg (for wash)
Add yeast to milk that has been warmed up to about 110˚. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile cut butter into 1/2 inch cubes and then mix into the combined flours with fingers or pulse in a food processor until butter is pea size.
Add cardamon, salt, and sugar to the yeast/milk and mix. Add this to the flour mixture and stir with wooden spoon until just combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, or as much as a day or so.
Place chilled dough on a floured surface and sprinkle flour on top of dough. Roll into a 16×20 rectangle and then fold one end to the middle and then the other end to the middle creating a tri-fold. Now do the same the other direction making a square. You will have made 6 folds, although you’ll only see three of them well. Cover with plastic wrap and chill another 30 minutes or so.
Repeat the rolling out, folding, and chilling two more times. After the third folding cut the dough in half and chill another 30 minutes.
Cut dough into about 12 strips along the short edge (so each piece has alternating poppy and sesame seeds). Pick them up one and a time and fold in half, with the seeds on the outside. Smooch together a bit, and then twist and stretch each piece and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Let rest 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350˚. While first pan is rising, repeat with the second half of the dough.
Bake one sheet at a time for about 18 minutes, or until golden. Cool on baking sheet.
Best eaten warm the same day, although I made these the day before serving them, warmed them up in the oven for 10 minutes, and they were still delicious. They freeze well, and can be heated in the oven or microwave.