FRESH YEAST IN YOUR RECIPE
In Sweden we often use fresh yeast (Jäst) when baking. it can be found in small 50 gram blocks amongst the dairy products (red packet for sweet dough/blue for savoury). One block of fresh yeast (50 g) can be replaced by a packet/sachet/envelope of dry yeast (12 gram/0,4 ounces).
To Activate fresh yeast, mix it with the warm liquid (as called for in the recipe) and, if applicable, the sugar. The water must be at the perfect temperature between 32 to 38 degrees Celsius (90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit).
FETTISDAGEN or SEMMELDAGEN
Traditionally the Semla was eaten on Fettisdagen (Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday) as a feast before the Christian fasting period of Lent. Initially the Semla was simply a bun, eaten soaked in hot milk (known as hetvägg). Nowadays, they are filled with almond paste and whipped cream and come in different sizes and variations (the latest version as a wrap). After the new year these cakes start to appear in the stores and cake shops all over Sweden.
March the 25th is Annunciation Day of the Virgin Mary - in Swedish "Jungfru Marie Bebådelsedag” (9 months before Christmas). The name "Våffeldagen" comes from "Vårfrudagen" (Our Lady's Day) which in vernacular Swedish sounds almost similar.
Every year on the 4th of October we celebrate "Kanelbullens Dag" - Cinnamon Bun Day! An estimated 8 miljon buns are sold every year on this one day and they will be served together with the traditional "fika" in offices, cake shops and in homes around Sweden.
The first of Advent is a sign that Christmas is approaching. It is time to light the candles, heat up the Glögg (link to make your own Glögg) and get into the Christmas mood. Here is a recipe for the Swedish Lusse-bun.
When summer comes it is time to go out in the woods and feast on what nature has to offer, like the lovely blueberries. In this recipe you can exchange the berries with other kinds of fruit such as strawberries, apples etc.
(soft gingerbread cake with eggs)
This cake is often baked for Christmas but is delicious all year round. This recipe is similar to the one above but without eggs. In Swedish grocery stores you can find the "pepparkak" spices in one package which consists of ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, allspice and cardamom but can be replaced with just adding the main spices ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
(soft gingerbread cake without eggs)
This recipe is similar to the one above but without eggs. In Swedish grocery stores you can find the "pepparkak" spices in one package which consists of ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, allspice and cardamom but can be replaced with just adding the main spices ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
Practically every Swedish kids knows this recipe by heart - and everyone makes it a little bit different.