Figure 8 Baltic Birthday Bread Figure 8 Baltic Birthday Bread

Author: Canadian Living

Gisela Fleich of Mount Brydges, Ont., is from Estonia, where this special bread is as common for birthday celebrations as chocolate cake is in Canada. Her children appreciate being feted with this taste of heritage baking, and Gisela also surprises friends of Estonian background on their birthdays.

  • Portion size 20 servings



Stir saffron into boiling water; let cool. Dissolve 1 tsp (5 mL) of the sugar in warm water. Sprinkle with yeast; let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy. Place flour in large bowl and make well in centre. Pour cooled saffron mixture into well, then yeast mixture, milk, remaining sugar, butter and salt ; using wooden spoon, stir until combined. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine raisins, almonds, peel and lemon rind. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; knead in raisin mixture until evenly distributed and dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with towel and let rise in warm, draft-free place for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Punch down dough. Roll out into 40-inch (1 m) long rope; shape into figure 8, pinching ends to seal. Place on greased rimmed baking sheet; cover and let rise for 15 minutes. Brush with egg and sprinkle with almonds.

Bake in centre of 375°F (190°C) oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden and sounds hollow when bottom is tapped. Let cool on pan on rack for 5 minutes. Transfer to rack and let cool completely. (Can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day or frozer for up to 2 weeks.)

Nutritional facts <b>Per each of 20 servings:</b> about

  • Sodium 120 mg
  • Protein 6 g
  • Calories 268.0
  • Total fat 8 g
  • Cholesterol 24 mg
  • Saturated fat 3 g
  • Total carbohydrate 45 g


  • Iron 14.0
  • Folate 10.0
  • Calcium 4.0
  • Vitamin A 6.0
  • Vitamin C 2.0
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Baking & Desserts

Figure 8 Baltic Birthday Bread