This decorative fried bread is a staple in Icelandic homes at Christmas, with families gathering together for the day they prepare it.
This recipe was adapted from a few I found online, here and here and a video recipe here. There are loads of recipes and videos online. Mine are far from perfect to look at, they were a lot of fun to make!
Laufabrauð is eaten, slathered in butter, with Christmas dinner. Apparently, you are absolutely not allowed to eat them before Christmas eve, but you absolutely should fry up the offcuts (they are too dry for re-rolling) and eat them immediately as your reward for all that effort. Those offcuts were our first taste of laufabrauð and we felt supremely rewarded! 🙂
Makes 20 – 30, depending on size
Preparation: Several hours. Many pairs of hands makes for both a fun day and a lighter workload!
Note that I have reduced the baking powder in the recipe here, because mine puffed up too much – turns out when I halved the recipe I forgot to halve that bit.
500g (4 cups, spooned & scraped) all-purpose (plain) flour
15g (1 Tbsp) sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
300ml (1 1/4 cups) whole milk
60g (4 Tbsp) butter
vegetable oil for frying
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Heat the milk and butter over low heat just until small bubbles appear around the edge, and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Pour into the dry ingredients and mix to combine, then turn it out and knead by hand to a dense dough.
Roll into a thick sausage and let rest for about 30 minutes wrapped in plastic or under a damp cloth.
Cut off portions – mine were about the size of a ping pong ball, but you’ll need bigger pieces for bigger rounds – and roll them out on a lightly floured surface – they should be very thin and 15 – 20cm (6 – 8″) in diameter. Trim the edges with a sharp knife or wavy pastry cutter, using a plate as a guide (I used a 15cm / 6″ saucer). Stack them between sheets of baking paper.
Decorate by cutting out patterns with a small, sharp knife. The traditional chevron design is made by cutting rows of parallel pointed cuts, folding back every second one and adhering it to the one behind.
Heat about 2cm / 1″ oil in a pan to 180°C / 355°F.
Prick the rounds with a fork to avoid blistering too much, and slide one carefully into the oil. It will sink then float up, at which point you should flip it over with a fork or something similar. They are ready when golden – it takes about 30 seconds for each one.
As you remove them from the oil, let the excess drip off then lay them on a piece of paper towel, cover with another piece and use a saucepan or wooden board to gently press it flat for a few seconds.
Continue cooking until they are all done, and stack in a cookie tin or airtight container when completely cool.
Stored in a cool, dry place, leaf bread should keep for months.