One of my favourite things in the world is the smell of freshly baked bread. And this here is no ordinary bread. Although primarily known for its use in Indian cooking, cardamom is also used in Scandinavian and Finnish sweet breads, such as this one.Â Beautiful warm or cold with butter, this is a treat not to be missed!
This bread keeps well and toasts beautifully and also freezes well.
- 3 cups flour
- 1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 egg, at room temp
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1 egg white, slightly beat with
- 2 tablespoons sugar
1.Â In a mixing bowl, measure 1 cup flour and add the dry ingredients.
2.Â Blend with a wooden spoon. Pour in the hot water and stir with 25 strong strokes, or for 2 minutes with the mixer.
3. Cut the soft butter into several pieces and drop into the dough.
4. Add the egg, cardamom and raisins.
5. Stir in additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, first with the spoon and then by hand, or with the beater and then the dough hook.
6.The dough will form a rough mass and clean the sides of the bowl.
7. Because of the large amount of butter, the dough will not be sticky. It should be firm, but not stiff.
8. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. With a strong push turn fold action, knead till the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes, or knead with the mixer under the dough hook for the same length of time.
9. Return the dough to the bowl; cover with plastic wrap and put aside at room temperature till the dough has doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
10. Punch down the dough and turn it onto a floured surface; knead briefly to work out air bubbles.
11. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Roll each part under your palms into a strand 14 inches long.
12. Beginning in the middle of the strands, braid loosely to one end. Reverse the loaf and again braid from middle to end.
13. Pinch the ends closed and place on a baking sheet.
14. Cover the dough with wax paper and leave till doubled in bulk and puffy to the touch, about 1 hour.
15. Preheat oven to 350Â°F 20 minutes before baking.
16. Before baking, brush the braid with the egg white glaze.
17. Bake till the crust is rich brown, about 45 minutes.
18. A wooden toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean.
19. Remove braid from the oven. Use a metal spatula to lift it off the baking sheet, because the hot loaf will be fragile and might break.
20. Cool on a wire rack.
If you make this recipe, be sure to let me know what you think!
P.S. Much as I wish it was, this isn’t my own recipe. It’s from Bernard Clayton’s Complete Book of Breads