From 1686 – following the Reformation – a special Danish holy day was introduced to be observed in the entire Kingdom. Thus it was given a special status in comparison with more local holidays. was intended to be a day of prayer and fasting, to be celebrated always on the 4th friday after Easter.
As many holy days some culinary traditions have also developed. Apparently, the so-called Hveder – wheat buns – were introduced because like everybody else also the bakeries did not work on the Great Prayer Day. So the day before – a thursday – they would bake these special small buns called Hveder, which are very taste when toasted the following day.
There are many regionally based recipes for Hveder but what better to use than the recipe of Claus Meyer – part owner of Noma, the best restaurant of the world – as published on his website:
The best result is achieved by starting the day before with a “pre dough” by mixing 200 g flour, 2 dl water and 10 g yeast. You mix the ingredients and leave them in the fridge for 24 hours. You can leave this part out, but it gives an added taste to the buns.
For the main dough you start by toasting 10 g of cardamom pods on the pan and grind the seeds to powder – alternatively you use already powdered cardamom. You mix 2 dl of tepid water, 2½ dl of tepid milk and 20 g of yeast, dissolving the yeast. You add 2 eggs, 15 g salt and 50 g cane sugar to the liquid, You add the cardamom powder and 1-1,2 kg wheat flour. If you have made the small dough the day before you add it now. If you didn’t you just continue mixing the ingredients, adding the amount of flour that makes the dough sleek and easy to handle – a couple of minutes. You add 50 g of soft butter – possibly even more if you like butter. You continue working the dough for 5-8 minutes.
Let the dough rise for 2 hours, roll it into a long sausage and split it in 20 small pieces which you form into buns. You put the buns together in a pan, but with space between them – and you leave them to rise another 2-3 hours unto double in size and the buns are touching each other. This gives them a brown top, but soft sides, when baked.
You bake them for 12-15 minutes at 220 C and leave them to cool.
When serving them you halve the buns and you toast them in the oven or on the toaster. They are best eaten with butter. Personally I love them with butter and honey. Cinnamon butter is also delicious.
Try them – a delicious Danish tradition!