These rolls are associated with a uniquely Danish holiday and a tradition that originates several centuries ago.
Stor Bededag (translated into English as Great Prayer Day or All Prayers Day) falls on the 4th Friday after Easter. The name comes from the fact that it was a consolidation of several minor holy days and it was first introduced in 1686.
On Stor Bededag nobody was allowed to work. That included bakers and so they would bake wheat rolls for everyone to buy the day before. The next day, Stor Bededag, people would toast the rolls and eat them, usually just with butter. In modern times, the tradition has been to eat them the evening before Stor Bededag.
Up until now, Stor Bededag has been a holiday observed as a day off from work. However, starting next year, Danes will no longer be observing this as a national holiday and therefore not have the day off from work. It was not a decision that was happily received by many, as you can imagine.
The wheat rolls have been an integral part of this holiday and even if it will no longer be a national holiday, I hope the tradition of eating these rolls this time of year will remain.
The rolls have a lovely taste of cardamom and to me it’s no wonder they have stood the test of time! Interested in baking them on your own? Here is the recipe which has been adapted and translated from Valdemarsro:
HVEDER (Wheat Rolls)
- 2 deciliter milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 7.5 gr instant yeast
- 450 gr unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 100 gr soft butter
- 1 egg for egg wash
Whisk together the milk, egg and sugar.
Mix flour, yeast, cardamom and salt in a separate bowl. Cut butter into small cubes and work it into the flour resulting in pea-sized pieces of butter scattered throughout the mixture.
Knead the milk and flour mixtures together until the dough is smooth and soft.
Cover the dough and let it rise for 2 hours at room temperature.
Knead the dough with floured hands, shape it into 12 rolls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and let the rolls rise for another 2 hours.
Turn the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, convection bake if possible.
Brush the rolls with the egg wash and bake them for 15-17 minutes until golden in color.
Enjoy them toasted and with butter.