The kringel is a celebration loaf from Estonia, Northern Europe. I love the technique for forming the loaf. Essentially, you roll up a cinnamon roll dough, slice the dough tube in half lengthways instead of into slices, and weave the two strands into a ring. This creates a lovely shape as it bakes and each layer rises. —Poires au Chocolat
Put the milk and butter for the dough into a small pan and heat over medium until the butter has melted, then turn up and bring to the boil and scald. Pour into a bowl and pop into the fridge to cool, which may take some time.
Crush the cardamon pods with the side of a knife and remove the seeds, then finely grind the seeds.
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cardamon in a mixer bowl and stir. Add the yeast and stir to combine. Beat the egg lightly in a bowl. Then, once the milk in the refrigerator has cooled to body temperature, add it to the bowl along with the egg. Stir until you have a shaggy dough.
Put the bowl on a stand mixer and knead with the dough hook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the dough comes away from the sides and passes the windowpane test. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise for roughly 45 to 75 minutes, until the dough has doubled in size. (You can also leave it in the fridge overnight.)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 16 x 12-inch (30 x 40-centimeter) rectangle. Beat the soft butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt together with a spoon. Spread the mixture all over the dough.
Roll the dough up from the long side, then use a serrated knife to split it in half lengthways. Transfer to a sheet of baking parchment.
Weave the two strands together with the cut side up. Bring the ends together, then weave together to make a ring and press the two loose ends together.
Cover with cling film and leave to rise for about 30 minutes until puffy -- if you press it with a finger, it should make a dent. (You can also place into the fridge overnight to rise slowly -- take out to warm up ten minutes before baking.)
While it rises, preheat the oven to 350° F (180 °C). Use the parchment to shift the ring onto a tray.
Put into the oven and bake for ten minutes, then reduce the temperature to 320° F (160° C). Bake for 30 to 40 minutes more until the ring has risen, turned a deep brown, and sounds hollow when knocked.
Remove to a wire rack to cool. The kringle is best eaten the day it is baked, but it toasts and freezes well if you happen to resist consuming the whole thing in one sitting.