Hveder are Danish bread rolls eaten traditionally on the eve before Store Bededag (Big Prayer Day), which is the last remaining penance day and the 4th Friday after Easter. Back in the day everybody needed to stop working before sundown on the Thursday and return home to prepare for a solemn Friday of prayer, no work, no play and no merriment. The bakers weren’t allowed to work either, so they would bake hveder to sell to people on their way home. People couldn’t keep their paws off the freshly baked still warm hveder, so started eating them on the eve of Store Bededag and a tradition was born.
In Denmark these rolls are sold by all bakeries and supermarkets leading up to Store Bededag. Luckily they aren’t difficult to make at all. I made them for the first time this week. Yup, it wasn’t Store Bededag, but they are so good I do not care at all. The rolls are traditionally split open and toasted in a hot oven and then eaten with butter (salted of course). M and I had them with all sorts of toppings (egg salad, ham, liver paté, jam, garlic cheese, regular cheese, tuna salad and of course salted butter) and what a feast it was. Hveder are perfect for breakfast as well.
This recipe makes 24 rolls.
- 100 g butter
- 250 ml water
- 250 ml milk
- 4 tsp dry yeast OR 50 g fresh yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 eggs
- 1 kg all purpose flour
Melt the butter and pour it into the bowl you will mix the dough in. Add the milk and water – this cools the butter enough that it won’t kill the yeast.
Add yeast, sugar, salt, cardamom and the eggs. Add most of the flour and mix to form a nice dough. I ended up with 50 g flour left over, but you might need it all or a tiny bit more, depending on the time of year and humidity.
Knead the dough well. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let it sit in a draft free spot to rise for 1 hour or slightly longer. If it’s cold and/or drafty in your kitchen you can make an easy proofing box using your oven. Place the covered bowl in the oven and turn on the lamp inside the oven. The heat generated by the bulb is enough to make a nice environment for the yeast to work its magic.
Turn the dough out on a floured surface and split it into 24 equal sized pieces. You can use a scale if you really want them to be exactly the same, but it’s not something that you must do – I didn’t.
Place the rolls in a baking tray lined with baking paper. They will be close together and that’s OK, since we want them to eventually grow together.
Put a heatproof container in the bottom of your (cold!) oven and add boiling water to it. I just filled my kettle, which holds 1500 ml. Place the tray of rolls on one of the racks above the steam and close the oven door. Let the rolls rise in the steam for 30 minutes till they have doubled in size and grown together.
Here is how the rolls look after rising in the steamy oven:
Remove the container of water and the tray of rolls from the oven and heat the oven to 200C (392F).
Put the rolls back in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes till golden and baked through.
Let the rolls cool on a rack.
When you want to toast the rolls break them apart and split them open with a bread knife. Place them on an oven rack cut side up. Place the oven rack in a preheated hot oven. I did mine at 230C (446F) for 3 minutes.
Serve the lightly toasted hveder with whatever your heart desires and enjoy the bready goodness.