3 September 2010

Skolebrød (Norwegian "School Bread" buns)

Baking in the Nibbler household is the sole domain of Mrs. Nibbler. Norwegians are very serious about their baking and Mrs. Nibbler is no exception. Not that I mind, as she is really rather good at the dark arts of combining yeast and flour. She has a tattered old Black n' Red notebook filled with handwritten notes and recipe clippings on just about all manner of baked goods. Many of these are recipes have been handed down through her family and they remain a jealously guarded secret. After much negotiation, which basically consisted of me buying her lots of chocolate and taking the bins out, I am now able to spill the beans publicly on these wonderful skolebrød buns that Mrs. Nibbler made for my birthday recently.

Skolebrød (literally "School Bread") are sweet buns filled with custard and topped with icing sugar and desiccated coconut. They are super popular and can be found all over Norway. Traditionally, they would feature in kids' school lunch boxes as a special treat or for the annoying swots to give to the teacher, so the story goes. Nowadays, Skolebrød is fairly ubiquitous and can be found in coffee shops, snack bars or when invited to someone's house for coffee (never tea in Norway, just lots and lots of strong black coffee). Be careful though as they are very addictive, and one is never enough.

Ingredients (makes around 20 buns)
  • 500g plain white flour
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 30g fresh yeast (preferably) or one 7g packet of dried yeast
  • 350ml whole milk
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 250ml thick vanilla custard, ready made is fine - sometimes life's too short
  • Icing sugar
  • Desiccated coconut
  1. Melt the butter
  2. Mix the flour, sugar and cardamom in a bowl (and dried yeast if using that)
  3. If using fresh yeast, mix this with some of the milk in a cup
  4. Mix the rest of the milk with the warm melted butter
  5. Add the milk, butter and yeast mix (if applicable) to the flour/sugar, and mix well (with an electric mixer preferably)
  6. Leave the dough to rise so that it doubles in size (takes approximately 1 hour if you put the bowl in a sink with hot water)
  7. Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces, and roll each piece into a long sausage. Cut each sausage into smaller pieces, and make each piece into a round ball about the size of a mandarin orange to make buns. Put each bun on a baking sheet.
  8. Make a little indentation on the top of each bun. Put 1-2tsp of vanilla custard in each (this should fill the hole).
  9. Leave the buns to rise further for approx 15 mins
  10. Cook the buns in the oven for approx 8-10 minutes on 230°C (sometimes longer, depending on the size of the buns). When the buns have a light brown ring underneath them and a light brown colour on top, they should be cooked.
  11. Remove the buns from the oven and leave to cool slightly on a wire rack
  12. Meanwhile, make a thick syrup glaze using the icing sugar and some water
  13. Drizzle some of the glaze onto each bun and sprinkle the coconut on top
  14. Serve warm with, of course strong black coffee


  1. The Pot of her Mum30 October 2010 at 00:20

    Hmmm I am not quite sure if I recognize mrs Nibbler in your lively description of her and her excellent skills in baking...hence the good old days and a very special kind of chocolate buns- but maybe she is like good wine, and only gets better by the years..! Ho ho ho and a happy eating november to you! :-)

  2. I am a Norwegian living abroad for most of my life and I do miss the baked goods. I am so happy I got a comprehensive way to make Skolebrod since I have problems with getting the yeast measurements right. 30 grams seems like a ton of yeast but when you mention 7 grams dried it all makes sense. Now I know why I had problems making Boller. Thank you so much, will keep following your blog. Tat

  3. I have tried this Skolebrod 20 years ago in Norway, when I was a child...I still remember the taste of it.Last year my sister broght me one from Norway.It was still the same flavour.And now I have just got back from a 5-day trip from this beautiful country and of course I bought some. And today I'm baking it at home. Thanks for recipe.
    Judit from Hungary

  4. Thanks for this recipe! I came back from a 6-month stay in oslo in July and today, after a really bad day, this is exactly what I needed!

  5. Grew up in Norway in the 70s and 80s. I can very vividly remember walking to school and stopping at a local bakery picking up a couple of these. We would eat around the center and save it until the last bite.

    Going to try to make some and see if they come out as they used to taste. (At least as I remember them tasting)

    Thanks for posting this.