It’s an old Danish tradition to eat warm Hveder Thursday evening before Store Bededag (Big Prayer Day), which is on the fourth Friday after Easter (May 4th 2012). Store Bededag was introduced in 1686 to consolidate the number of prayer days that could otherwise be used as productive working days. The tradition is from a time when Store Bededag was a work free day and this included the bakers. So the bakers made Hveder the day before Store Bededag for the people to buy and they could then toast and eat them the following day when the bakeries were closed. However, somehow the tradition turned out that people ate the Hveder the night before, perhaps because they are so good.
Today fresh Hveder can still be found in all baker shops, in the days leading up to Store Bededag or you can bake them yourself. The buns are meant to be eaten when they are warm and toasted which really brings out the flavors. When they are cold they seem a bit dull and heavy. You can top them with butter, jam, cheese or cold cuts. I hope you enjoy these Danish Hveder as much as I have, it brings back wonderful memories for me.
Hveder – makes 16
125 gram butter (4 1/2 oz or ~9 tablespoons)
50 gram fresh yeast (3 envelopes dry active yeast or ~ 6 tsp)
3 deciliter milk (10 oz or ~ 1 1/4 cup)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
650 gram all-purpose flour (5 cups or 1 lb 7 oz)
1/2 deciliter milk – for brushing (~1 1/2 oz)
Melt butter and set aside to cool down. Warm milk in microwave to 100 degrees F, add dry yeast to milk and let sit for 10 minutes. In the bowl for your stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment add butter and milk/yeast mixture. Start mixer on low, add egg, salt, sugar and cardamom. Add flour in small increments until dough starts to come together (Note: you may not need all the flour). Place dough on a lightly floured surface and give it a quick needing to ensure it is homogeneous. Place dough in a large bowl, cover with a dry and clean tea towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Place dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 16 equal portions, by first dividing the dough into half and then into halves again and so on. Shape dough pieces into balls by folding the edges under and into the center until they are round. The small opening at the bottom is placed down on the baking sheet. Space dough balls 1 centimeter apart (almost 1/2 inch). Cover balls with tea towel and let them rise for 30 minutes. As they rise, they will start to grow together, this is what you want. Preheat oven to 200 degree C (390 degrees F).
Once risen, brush rolls with a little milk and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool. To serve Hveder, cut in half and toast them. Top with butter or jam, cheese, cold cuts etc. Enjoy!
Note: Dough can easily be frozen after they are formed into balls by placing in a freezer safe bag. Once ready to use, defrost in refrigerator. Allow rolls to come to room temperature and then rise for 30 minutes before baking.
This post will be linked to YeastSpotting!
Source: slightly adapted from Kvalimad
Other sources: Naturbageriet