Home Baked Bread Kliņģeris (Latvian yellow bread)

Kliņģeris (Latvian yellow bread)

Kliņģeris (Latvian yellow bread)

This is traditionally made for celebrations like birthdays, names days, holidays etc. It is usually served with a dusting of slivered almond and icing sugar and twisted into a pretzel-like shape after being braided. When not needed for a big celebration, it can just be braided and baked like a loaf. I prefer to make 2 smaller ones than one giant one, unless I was catering for a crowd, which is something we hardly ever do (especially during a pandemic lockdown, which is why I’m typing up recipes!!). Another option is to use ⅔ for the main Kliņģeris and use the rest to make a braided loaf (main picture).

This one was slightly undercooked

There are many variations of this out there – most families would have their own version. We never really did much with these, so I’m starting!! Some are more bread-like, others have different fruits, or soak the fruits in alcohol, but I prefer a sweeter bread with less fruit. That said, do what you like! (Apologies – mine in the side photo is a little undercooked!)

This needs 3 opportunities to rise, so it’s a slow morning’s worth of work where most of the time is spent waiting. Allow 3-4 hours to make one of these.

¼ cup warm water
1 ts sugar
2 TB yeast
500ml warm cream
7-7½ cups of flour (3½ at the start, then another 3½-4 later)

250g softened butter
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks

¼ cup boiling water
½ ts saffron, crumbled

1 orange, juiced and zested
1 lemon, juiced and zested
½ ts ground cardamom
½ ts salt

1 cup raisins (more if desired, other fruits can be used)
½ cup flaked almonds

A stand mixer is really helpful, but this can all be done by hand.

1 – Combine warm water, sugar and yeast in a cup. Leave 10 minutes to bubble up.

2 – Crumble saffron into ¼ cup boiling water. Leave to steep.

3 – Combine warm cream with yeast mixture. Add 3½  cups of flour and mix well. Leave to rise for 30 minutes.

4 – Whip the butter and sugar with the eggs (I use a stand mixer).

5 – Add the risen dough. Mix again.

6 – Add zest, juice (about ½ cup total), saffron with water, cardamom, salt and raisins. Mix thoroughly.

7 – Add remaining flour, mixing as you go. Mix until the dough is smooth. Cover and leave in a warm place until doubled.

8 – Knead on a floured bench until smooth and elastic.

9 – Prepare a large baking tray, or 2 normal ones. Line with Glad Bake.

10 – Divide the dough in 3. Roll each piece into a long, tapered strand. Place 2 over the third to make an asterisk, then braid towards each end. Twist into the pretzel shape, tucking the ends in. Place a glass or jar in the ‘holes’ so that they won’t close up. (If using 2 trays, simply braid one and leave it in a long log.)

11 – Brush with eggwash and scatter with flaked almonds. Leave to rise again.

12 – Preheat oven to 180° C

13 – Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown. Turn off the oven and leave for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on tray; dust with icing sugar to serve.