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The Great Kringla Trial: Test 1

June 8, 2010
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My grandma has, for as long as I can remember, made kringla. Kringla are floury Norwegian pastries, shaped like pretzels, cakelike in texture but not overly sweet. They are delicious. Every Christmas, my grandma cranks out dozens and dozens (anywhere from 75-100 dozen) of these handrolled treats, which she gives away at Christmas. However, after years of being the sole dealer in charge of Central Iowa’s kringla fix, my grandma decided that this past Christmas was her last as ruling Queen of Kringla. Oh, the humanity! Christmas is canceled, as far as I’m concerned.

My mom has valiantly tried to recreate kringla, but with mixed results. I decided it was time to step up to the plate and take up the kringla mantle for the family. If I can successfully reproduce kringla, they can’t possibly kick me out of the family. Last Christmas, my grandma, after much coaxing, wrote down her “recipe”, although most of you know that grandmas with signature dishes don’t usually follow a recipe. Plus, my grandma doesn’t usually make kringla in batches smaller than, oh, ten dozen, so I’m sure making a measly dozen is just totally beneath her. This is what Grandma gave me:

That’s how an OG (Original Grandma) does it. Figure it out yourself if you really need six cups of flour or three or if there’s any specificity in your mixing. 415? Is that for real?

I enlisted my baker friend Christine to help in The Great Kringla Trials of 2010. She’s tasted my grandma’s real deal many times, so she knew what we were looking for and could help me tweak along the way. We embarked on test session #1 by creating a half-batch of the above recipe. Our process was the cream the butter and sugar, beat in the egg, and add the combined dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk.

The amount of flour listed was confusing. Grandma had three cups, but listed twice. We started with 1 1/2 cups (since this was a half-batch, but that really just seemed too loose, so we added another 1 1/2 cups, which looked about right. The dough was loose right after we mixed it, but after a night in the fridge, it seemed like the flour was absorbed a bit better. The dough was still really soft and light, so we used lots of flour to roll the dough into its signature pretzel shape. Here are my first attempts before they went into the oven.

I was quite optimistic at this stage; the floury look is the same as Grandma’s and, were they already baked, they would visually be spot on.  However, we did about 15 minutes in the 415° (is this temp just insane to anyone else?) and they spread and puffed up much more than they should have.

FAIL. These are puffier and browner than my grandma’s. They were still good: they were lighter and spongier in texture, and the flavor was close. They need to have more crumb as opposed to sponge. My grandma’s kringla are not as browned as these, but I actually liked the nuttiness that came from the longer baking time. Christine and I both decided that we still had a long way to go before perfection, and we must soldier on with modifications to the texture. Suggestions?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. B Byrne permalink
    June 20, 2011 12:32 pm

    I am actually making kringla today. My grandmother taught me how to make them when I was small. We are from the Story City/Gilbert area so the recipe might be similar. Here it is:
    1 stick oleo
    1 c. sugar
    1/2 tsp salt
    Blend these together and add 1 beaten egg
    Then blend in:
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    1/2 tsp almond extract
    In seperate bowl stir together:
    3 c. scant flour
    1 tsp soda
    2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
    Alternate blending this flour mixture with 1 c. Buttermilk

    Refrigerate over night
    Next day shape and cook at 475 degrees for about 5 minutes.

    As far as shaping,I take out a small amount of dough and return the rest to the fridge so it stays cold. Then lightly flour a pastry cloth and roll and shape them. If too much flour is used they dry out. The size of the raw dough that I roll is about the width of my pinky.

    Good luck!

  2. Carol Gildersleeve permalink
    August 22, 2011 12:20 am

    I too am from Gilbert, Iowa. My grandmother made these for almost 90 years. We have the best Kringla in Iowa!

  3. Jill permalink
    December 15, 2011 11:20 am

    My Grandma made these as well and No I do. She was from Radcliffe, Iowa!

    I will be making them for the Holidays.

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