Method

Prepare a thin batter from a little flour, 3 glasses good milk, and 2 full spoons of the very best thick yeast (or 4–5 zolotniki dry yeast mixed in 2 spoons milk). Set the batter in a warm place to rise thoroughly, beat well, and add 4 eggs, 1 spoon butter, ½ glass milk, 2 heaping cups sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, and flour. Knead into a very thick dough, let rise again, then knead the dough for a very long time. Shape into Vyborg twists and let them rise on a baking sheet. Just before putting them into the oven, drop each twist into boiling water, then set them on hay spread over the oven floor.

*These twists are Molokhovets’ version of viipurinrinkilä, a traditional Christmas bread named after the Finnish city Viipuri (now part of Russia and known as Vyborg). They are still made in Finland although now they are simply baked in the oven without the preliminary boiling and omitting the straw, which added a special flavor.

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