RECIPE: Braided Finnish cardamom bread
Why yes, I’m feeling better. Thank you. And this beautiful fall sure helps.
Hooray leaves. My father used to package up fall leaves and mail them to me in college. And to Africa. Love them. And I’ve been known to leap and fall into large piles of leaves if the occasion arrives.
Is it weird that I take lots of photos of my feet? I kind of think my feet are my best asset.
Anyhow: So remember when I was just at the beach and I said we did a lot of cooking?
(Ahh that amazing view.) Well, baking bread was on the agenda, too.
I love making bread and I found this recipe in the ‘spice breads’ section of an old cookbook of Ken’s. As you know, I’m a fan of mixing spices into baked goods, like those coriander cookies. Or that lavender tart.
I picked up ground cardamom seed in the bulk food section. It’s fragrant and related to ginger, so of course I like it. True to form, I can never just follow a recipe like it’s written.
Why, even if I’ve never made something, do I always think I know best? That I can always make something better than an accomplished, published recipe? Good grief. (But I TOTALLY can.)
My revisions: I used half wheat flour and added more cardamom.
And I deviated more, deciding to make it like challah instead of baking it in loaf pans like they told me to.
I’d never tried braided bread. FUN. It sure did rise well, sitting in the sun. Two massive loaves. Whoa. (YES: I gave one away and didn’t devour it all. Pity, that.)
More feet! Lucky you. Although it (the bread, not the feet) called for a sugar glaze, I opted for a simple egg glaze. Beautiful, right?
Rating: Totally 5 of 5 glasses of wine. It has a light texture and rich flavor. A perfect accompaniment to any meal. Think about it for Thanksgiving! Or just as it’s own meal — hot with butter.
|Braided Finnish cardamom bread|
- 6-7 C of flour. I used half half unbleached white and half whole wheat
- 2 packages of quick yeast
- 2 C warm water
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/3 C sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 C butter, softened
- 1 egg
- Glaze: whisk together 1 egg and some milk
- PREP, 15 min. In large bowl, mix 3 C of the flour and all yeast. Add water, cardamom, sugar, salt and butter. Blend well. Add egg. Beat 100 strokes with a wooden spoon. Add remaining flour slowly. Work in with hands if necessary.
- KNEAD, 8 min. Dough should be soft, but not sticky. Add flour if so. Turn from bowl into lightly floured surface and knead for 8 minutes.
- RISE, 1 hour. Place dough in a buttered bowl. Flip dough, so it, too, is lightly covered with butter on all sides. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for the dough to rise until it has doubled in size.
- PREP, 10 min. Punch down the dough. Let it rest, covered in plastic wrap, for 10 minutes.
- SHAPE, 15 min. Divide the dough in half. For each half, divide into three equal parts for braid. On floured surface, roll out each piece to a 12 inch long rope. Place ropes on greased baking sheet and braid from the middle to one end. Braid second end. Tuck ends under the loaf. Repeat for second portion of dough. Cover with wax paper or lightly with plastic wrap.
- RISE, 45 min. Place in a warm place until the bread has doubled in size.
- PREP, 5 min. Mix the glaze and brush lightly on top of the bread. It will create a nice glossy, brown finish. (No pun intended.)
- BAKE, 25-30 min. In preheated oven to 400 degrees. The recipe says bake for 45 minutes. But both times I’ve made this, it’s been done around 25 minutes … and you don’t want dry bread! So: bake until golden brown.
- COOL, 10 min. Let cool on wire racks before serving. Or, like me, eat it immediately with butter.
- (Makes two loaves.)