Wonder What Denmark Does at Home When on Lockdown?
BAKE WITH ALL YOUR HAMSTERED YEAST
While the rest of the world was hoarding toilet paper, here in Denmark the Danes load up on yeast. (And toilet paper.) It’s true. But yeast. That one was a surprise to me at first. But digging a bit deeper, and asking a few Danes, it turns out there is a precedent for all that yeast knabbing.
GÆR-KRISEN | YEAST CRISIS
It was the great “gær-krisen,” or “yeast crisis” of 1998. That year, over a half million Danish workers in the private sector were set to go on one of the largest public strikes the country had ever seen. Food supplies stopped, groceries closed and people panicked. A notorious Norwegian air-lifted yeast to fill black market needs. How would Denmark survive without their daily bread? Danes do make good bread. They have many sayings here in Danish that deal with bread. My favorite has to be when you want to tell someone to chill out or calm down – “spis brød til.” Eat some bread.
RELATED: FIVE MOST UNIQUELY DANISH FOODS
YEAST HOARDING 2020
But how can you eat bread, or even relax for that matter, if you can’t buy it at the shops? If you’re a Dane, you must bake it. For 11 days back in 1998, the lack of bread was a real concern. But now? In pandemic times of 2020? When Mette Frederiksen, the Danish Prime Minister closed the country’s borders back on March 13th, many Danes remembered the low stocks of yeast from years back. We saw. It was difficult to find at first. Empty bins in the cold storage where once there were many. But as the government promised, food supplies were stable and shelves soon restocked.
To keep people from procuring too many at one time, online food delivery giant Nemlig.com put a three-yeast limit on each customer’s order. If you could garner a delivery time that is. So we naturally put some in our online basket when we could. When in Denmark, I say. But what to bake?
If you are like many of my international friends from any of the Commonwealth countries and since Easter is quickly approaching, you’ll be all over the interwebs looking for surefire tips to perfectly top your hot cross buns. Me? The thought of all those raisins or sultanas and any other dried or desiccated fruit that the recipe requires turns me right off. So I’m bouncing down a different path and putting these cute little bunny butts on my brunch table.
CARDAMOM-ORANGE EASTER BUNNIES FOR YOUR #STAYHOME BRUNCH
Here in Denmark, we’re flattening the curve. We closed up early and it appears to be working. So stay home. Still. And don’t come to Copenhagen, she said. Not yet. And set your little bakers to rolling and twisting these tangy orange and slightly spiced little Easter buns. Don’t forget the tails. I like bunny buns and I can not lie. You other bunnies can’t deny.
I’ve included the American/European equivalents if you don’t have cup measures. Living in Denmark, I can do either, but will admit my unpopular opinion that I don’t prefer using a scale when I cook. I also used the whole block of Danish yeast, but have since learned that I only needed half. My bunny butts were fluffy for sure. Kind of like mine after two weeks of home isolation. If you like cardamom, you could definitely add more as I found the amount to be quite subtle. But it’s up to you. Cheers from here. What you baking in your quarantine kitchen?
Sweet and slightly spiced bunny buns for Easter brunch. Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens recipe.
- 5 1/4 - 5 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (660 - 700 g)
- 25 g fresh yeast (half a block = 1 package active dry yeast)
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 1/4 cup milk (at room temperature) (315 mL)
- 1/2 cup butter melted (113 g)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 Tbsp finely shredded orange peel
- 4 Tbsp orange juice
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar (120 g)
- 2-3 Tbsp orange juice
- 1-2 tsp finely shredded orange zest
Mix milk, sugar, yeast until dissolved and let sit for 5 minutes
Put 2 cups of the flour in a mixing bowl, add salt and cardamom.
Add milk mixture to dry mixture and beat with electric mixer on low to medium. Scrape down sides every 30 seconds.
Add eggs and orange juice. Beat on high for 3 minutes.
Using a wooden spoon, mix in orange peel and as much of the remaining flour as you can.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead in the remaining dough to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic. (3 to 5 minutes in total) Shape dough into a ball.
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. About an hour.
When risen, punch dough down. Turn out onto the lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Cover and let sit 10 minutes.
Lightly grease two baking sheets. Large bunnies will go on one and small bunnies on the other. For large bunnies, roll one portion of the dough into a 14x10 inch (35x25cm) rectangle.
Cut the rectangle in half crosswise. Divide one portion of this dough in half and roll each half into a rope about 16 inches (40 cms) long. On one of the lightly greased baking sheets, overlap one end of the rope over the other to form a loop, twist and flatten tips for ears. (See photo). Make a second large bunny with remaining rope.
For small bunnies, use the remaining half of dough. Roll into a rectangle again. Cut into 6 strips, 10 inches long. Roll 5 strips of dough into ropes and shape on the second baking sheet in same fashion as large bunnies.
With the last remaining strip of dough, roll balls for bunny tails. Moisten and affix to the bottom of loop and press onto dough. After shaping, cover and let rise again. (30-45 minutes)
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Bake small bunnies 11-12 minutes or until golden brown. Bake large bunnies 13-15 or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheets. Cool on rack. Frost with orange icing while warm.
Make orange icing - mix more shredded orange peel, orange juice with powdered sugar to desired flavor and consistency.
ENJOY. Happy Easter and God Påske!