Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Finnish Cardamom Braid

Here's the bread that I'll be baking tomorrow (I'll add a photo when I get a chance). Recipe is from Taste Of Home magazine, and I've tweaked it just a tiny bit.

Finnish Cardamom Braids

2 pkgs.(1/4 oz each) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water(110-115 deg)
2 cups warm milk(110-115 deg.)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cardamom
2 eggs
1 Tablespoons Vital Wheat Gluten
7 to 8 cups all puirpose flour

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, sugar, butter, salt, cardamom, eggs, Vital Wheat Gluten, and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, divide in half. Divide each half into thirds. Shape each piece into a 13-in. rope. Place 3 ropes on a greased or parchment paper covered baking sheet. Braid ropes, pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

After loaves have risen, before baking, I paint them with mixture of:
1 beaten egg
2 Tablespoons milk

Sprinkle librally with granulated sugar.
Bake at 350 deg. for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Yield: 2 loaves.

Note: if possible, after braiding loaves, place on parchment covered baking sheets. When pre-heating oven, put two baking stones in for 20 minutes to heat through. Slide loaves on parchment off of baking sheets on to baking stones and bake as directed. This adds to the great texture of the bread.

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