Norwegian Christmas Bread

INGREDIENTS
2 packages dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 1/3 cups lukewarm skim milk, divided
3 1/4 cups sifted whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup cold butter
3/4 cup chopped dried fruit: such as apricots, dates, cherries and apples
1/4 cup seedless raisins
1 teaspoon milk

METHOD
Place yeast in a large bowl with one tablespoon sugar and one-quarter cup milk. Mix until smooth. Add three tablespoons flour and mix well. Cover with clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. Combine remaining sugar, flour and cardamom sees in a bowl. Add the melted butter and remaining milk, mixing well. Stir in yeast mix mixture to form a soft dough. Cover with towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Cut cold butter into small pieces and knead into dough. Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes. Sprinkle dried fruit and raisins over dough and knead until they are well distributed. Butter two loaf pans and lightly flour. Divide dough in half and shape into loaves. Place in pans and brush tops with milk. Cover and rise for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. When oven is ready, bake for 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Yields two loaves to serve 24.

NOTE
Calories: 147, total fat: 6g, dietary fiber: 3g, protein: 3g, calcium: 22mg