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30 Nov Christmas Raisin Bread

This week I’ve attended a Japanese gift wrapping class where the average age was 55+, then I got sick for 4 days and missed a university(or is it college??)fair and yesterday I baked this bread because it’s the first of advent today. For me, the first of advent means that it’s finally okay to start christmas baking! I actually started a while ago with gf gingerbread cutout cookies and gf swedish saffron buns.

This gluten free christmas bread is inspired by a traditional Swedish bread called “wort bread” which we usually eat during christmas and easter. It’s similar to the British “malt loaf”. My version doesn’t contain any wort though because it’s really hard to find in the stores. I’ve used scandinavian dark syrup in this recipe but you can substitute it for light molasses. It’s so annoying that there are different liquid sweeteners in different countries….

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“Wort bread” is one of my favorite things about christmas. When I told my sister I’d made faux “wort bread” (without wort…) it looked like she would start drooling, almost like our dog Hälge. Let’s just say that we love this bread. It can be made both with and without raisins but I love the one with raisins so I added 1 cup to the recipe. You could use less or just leave them out if you prefer.

The recipe calls for instant yeast but I’ve also added instructions on how to use fresh or active dry yeast in the baker’s notes.

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  • The dark Scandinavian syrup can be substituted for light molasses.
  • You can leave out the raisins if you want to.
  • If using fresh yeast: Add 20 g fresh yeast to the milk and don’t heat it. Repeat the other steps and allow to rise for 2 hours instead.
  • If using active dry yeast: Heat the milk and add 3 tsp of active dry yeast. Allow to froth for about 5 to 10 minutes. Then add the syrup, psyllium husk and spices and whisk everything together until a thick gel forms. Then follow the recipe.


Gluten Free Christmas Raisin Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf


  • 300 g buckwheat flour
  • 50 g corn starch
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 500 g full fat milk
  • 100 g Scandinavian dark syrup (or light molasses)
  • 35 g psyllium husk
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp ground bitter orange peel
  • 3 tsp bread spices (a mix of anise, fennel and cumin)


  1. In a large bowl combine the buckwheat flour, corn starch, salt, instant yeast and raisins and make a well in the middle.
  2. Place the milk, dark syrup, psyllium husk and spices in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Use a whisk to mix everything together until it reaches 40°C/105°F. Take off the heat and keep whisking until a thick gel forms.
  3. Pour the gel into the well of the large bowl and mix everything together with a hand held electric mixer with dough hooks until the flour is fully incorporated. This will take a couple of minutes.
  4. Flatten the top of the dough with a rubber spatula and cover the bowl with a clean tea towel.
  5. Allow to rise in a warm and non-drafty space for 1h 45min.
  6. Preheat oven to 175°C/350°F.
  7. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured(use buckwheat flour) work surface and shape into a round loaf.
  8. Place the loaf on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle some buckwheat flour on the top of the bread.
  9. Bake in the middle of the oven for 50 min. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Josefine {The Smoothie Lover}
    Posted at 19:48h, 30 November Reply

    I can’ believe it is already the first advent. That also means it is okay to start christmas baking to me too.
    I’ve never heard of wort bread before but looking at this recipe it sounds wonderful. Maybe I should explore some sweedish christmas goodies this year and make this 😉 Looks wonderful!

    • Thea
      Posted at 21:41h, 30 November Reply

      You should definitely bake some Swedish christmas classics! I’m planning on posting a recipe for gf saffron buns. 🙂

  • Renee Kemps
    Posted at 10:24h, 01 December Reply

    Whoa, your bread looks amazing! And why haven’t I found your blog before? It’s gorgeous!
    We’ve got wort bread in Holland too, but your version sounds delightful. I love the combination of buckwheat and those lovely spices!

    • Thea
      Posted at 13:35h, 01 December Reply

      Thank you Renee! Hope you’ll try the recipe! 🙂

  • Cheryl
    Posted at 17:30h, 01 December Reply

    I can’t believe how intensely gorgeous this is, and I’m over here slobbering like your pup, too, knowing it’s gluten-free! I have to try it.

    • Thea
      Posted at 19:28h, 01 December Reply

      Thank you Cheryl! Hope you’ll make it 🙂

  • cavoletto
    Posted at 03:25h, 03 December Reply

    I really think I’m going to give this a try: This bread looks fabulous! And so does this blog btw 🙂

    • Thea
      Posted at 12:45h, 03 December Reply

      Thank you Sigrid!! 🙂

  • Dulcie @ Foodie Fiasco
    Posted at 04:24h, 04 December Reply

    Mmm, raisin bread is one of my favorites and this beautiful bread looks like a festive way to get my fix! It’s strange that certain shelf ingredients can’t be found in bigger cities across the globe, but it’s also part of what makes the world so wonderfully diverse so I’m not complaining:-) However, it’d be nice if the US could finally get on board with the metric system…geesh. Off topic! Anyways, you have a gorgeous blog Thea! Thanks for sharing your own spin on a local tradition!

    • Thea
      Posted at 19:54h, 04 December Reply

      Thank you Dulcie! You can buy a scale that shows both grams and oz in the US. Makes baking so much more precise!:)

  • Stephanie
    Posted at 16:49h, 17 December Reply

    This looks really tasty, I can’t wait to try out the recipe. I’m not gluten intolerant but find that if I eat too much regular bread I don’t feel so good, so it’s great to see gluten free recipes like this one. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thea
      Posted at 19:20h, 17 December Reply

      Thanks Stephanie! It’s pretty similar for me, I can eat gluten now and then but not too often. That’s why I only bake gluten free 🙂

  • Chloe
    Posted at 23:46h, 04 December Reply

    Hi Thea, how can we use the sourdough starter in this recipe? instead of yeast?

    • Thea Tillberg
      Posted at 00:19h, 05 December Reply

      Since I haven’t tried making this bread with a sourdough starter before I can’t garantee that the result will turn out good. If you want to give it a try anyway you can replace the yeast with a few tablespoons of sourdough starter, use cold instead of hot milk and let the bread rise for at least the double amount of time. However I would recommend using yeast in this recipe. 🙂

  • Margot
    Posted at 22:36h, 07 January Reply

    For gluten free guidance, the process used in baking Magique gluten free sourdough could probably easily be incorporated here.

  • Colleen Kerr
    Posted at 23:58h, 21 December Reply

    I’d love to make this for Christmas breakfast! Regarding the “bread spices” you list cumin as one of the ingredients – is this a translation error? Cumin would give the bread a distinct “curry” flavour. I know that what we call caraway in English is often used in European breads. Do you mean caraway? Thanks!

  • Colleen Kerr
    Posted at 22:59h, 29 December Reply

    I wanted to let you know I made this for Christmas breakfast for me & my sister (both gf girls). Our enthusiastic enjoyment of it (lots of “mmmms” and “oh my god” provoked the other 5 people at the table to try it and they loved it too. This is the most delicious Christmas/raisin bread I have ever eaten and it was very easy to make. I ended up leaving out the cumin because I was uncertain anout the flavour, but upped the anise and fennel seeds to the total seed amount.
    I’m glad you use buckwheat a lot, it’s one of my favorites. Thank you!

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