A must on the Finnish coffee table! So light and delicious, the cardamom flavored slices are traditionally served unbuttered.
Yield: 3 braided loaves
- 20 cardamom pods (1 tsp crushed) OR 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 6½ to 7 cups bread flour
- 4½ tsp (2 packages) Red Star Active Dry Yeast
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1½ cups milk
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 3 TBSP sliced almonds OR pearl sugar
- Crack open cardamom pods; grind or pound seeds. In large mixer bowl, combine 2½ cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and cardamom; mix well. In saucepan, heat milk, water and butter until warm (120-130°F; butter does not need to melt). Add to flour mixture. Add 2 eggs. Blend at low speed until moistened; beat 3 minutes at medium speed. By hand, gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on floured surface until smooth and elastic, 5 to 8 minutes. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and turn to grease top. Cover; let rise until dough tests ripe.
- Punch down dough. Divide into 3 parts. Divide each third into 3 pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll each piece to a 16-inch rope. On greased cookie sheet, loosely braid 3 ropes from center to ends. Pinch ends and tuck under to seal. Cover; let rise in warm place until indentation remains after lightly touching. Gently brush braids with egg; sprinkle with almonds or pearl sugar. Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheets; cool.
- You can substitute Instant (fast-rising) yeast for Active Dry Yeast. Traditional methods- replace 1:1. Expect your dough to rise faster; always let your dough rise until ‘ripe’. Bread Machines- use ½ tsp Instant yeast (or ¾ tsp Active Dry yeast) per cup of flour in your recipe. Visit our Lessons in Yeast & Baking for more information.
- Recipe featured at Food Wanderings.