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Author Notes: In search of the breads once baked in my grandmother's kitchen, I've been experimenting with several diffferent breads. I found some old notes for a Finnish braided bread scented with cardamom, I added a few extra egg yolks and dried currants to form this variation. Cardamom is a common spice for Finns and greater Scandinavia. —midnitechef
Makes 3 small loaves
For the bread
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 1/3 cups whole milk
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 2 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 5 cups bread flour
- 2/3 cup dried currants
For the icing
- 2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small bowl combine the yeast and water, let stand for 10 minutes until frothy.
- Meanwhile, warm the milk over low heat until it is steaming. Remove from the heat and add the butter, sugar and salt and stir until dissolved.
- Pour the milk mixture into a large bowl and beat in the eggs, yolks, 1 1/2 cups of the flour, cardamom and finally the yeast. Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Stir in the flour gradually, beating well to incorporate the flour. Add the currants after the first addition of flour. Knead for 8 minutes then coat with oil to rise for an hour or until doubled in bulk.
- Punch down the dough to release the gases and divide into three equal parts. Start with the first third of the dough, lightly roll into a rope then cut into three. Braid the three pieces and place on a baking sheet. Repeat to the other two lumps of dough. Let the braided loaves rest and rise for 45 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and bake for 30 minutes.
- Mix the icing sugar and vanilla until well combined to form a sweet sauce. Drizzle over cooled loaves.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Holiday Confection
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Picnic Dish
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Cardamom