On pages 13 and 14 of Hanna Winsnes’ cook book:
For three pounds of flour take half a pound of butter, half a pound of crushed crystal sugar, three to four eggs or egg whites, one good pot of milk, a few handful of raisins and some cut almonds and candied fruit. Add six tablespoons of ‘purified’ yeast.
The butter and the sugar is melted in the milk, which then must be cooled so it is lukewarm, the yeast is mixed with a little milk and is put in first, then the rest of the milk and finally the eggs, which must be beaten a little. The dough must be worked well… it is good to save a little flour as the dough at first can be quite soft, so it can be kneaded well; it is done in the way, that you support the trough, that stands on a chair against the wall and against your chest, beat the dough towards you with both hands so it falls back over the hands into the trough, and work it well, then mix in the rest of the flour, and leave it to rise.
The raisins are blanched and dried off and these, as well as almonds and candied fruit, are mixed in first, when the dough has risen. It is important to choose a good spot for the dough, while it is rising, as its goodness much depends on it happening quickly.
Some advise to put it in a crockery pot, and this in a tub of hot water; but anyone can understand that the water will soon cool, and it becomes troublesome and easily forgettable to continuously change it. I have found it far better to warm up a clean smooth iron pot, rub it thinly with butter and put the dough inside with the lid over.
The pot must stand in the chimney, but so far away from the fire that the dough does not form a crust. It can rise in less than an hour. The Christmas cake must not be kneaded on the table; as this cannot be done without using flour; you rub your hands with melted butter, take as much of the dough as you want for one cake, and take of raisins and almonds as you find appropriate, these are inserted, and one smooths out the cake on one side by continuously folding in the sides from underneath; this will smooth itself out on the baking sheet. The sheets must be greased with butter or with pigs fat, and then the cakes must stand near the fire covered with a thin clothe, until they have risen again.
If you have tin pans for cooking other cakes in, it is best to put the dough in after, and then bake the cake in the pan when it is well risen. You can then take one half pægel of more milk for this portion.
On page 13 – in regards to cooking all wheat breads:
If you want to heat up the oven for wheat bread alone, you must put in wood, like for fine bread, and leave it somewhat longer to cool, preferably for large wheat breads; strange as it may seem the small lent boller can take stronger heat than lager bread. The reason is that they cook so rapidly when they are well risen that they don’t have time to get too brown, whereas the large ones that have to be left in for longer, are both exposed, and they can be stopped from rising further in the oven by getting too hard a crust. If you made sure, that the wheat bread was ready and risen o the sheets, when the brown bread is taken out, then the heat would be suitble for the small ones, that need shorter time, but this is not reliable, and it is best to put 12 to 14 pieces of wood, that are only half as thick as for bread, in afterward. The oven must not be lit, until the dough has started to rise well, the glowing wood must be racked out over the base for as far in as the sheets will reach and must lie there until they turn slightly black before they are removed.
(to paraphrase – cook in an 180/320 oven for until a brown crust has formed.)
Read about Hanna Winsnes and the First Norwegian Cook Book.
A pægel is an old German measurement – half a pægel is about 2.4dl.