A recipe that I found in one of my favorite magazines, Saveur. This recipe is simple and the flavors and aroma when baking is perfection. I have adopted this recipe (no changes) as one of my own and I am happy to share it with all of you. —cucina di mammina
2 braided sweet breads
For the dough:
1 1/3 cups
lactose-free or whole milk; warmed to approx. 115 degrees fahrenheit
whole organic eggs, slightly beaten
6 1/2 cups
all purpose unbleached flour
unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes, at room temperature
for the glaze:
organic coarse sugar (sprinkle liberally on top after glaze is brushed on)
Optional: Add some strong brewed coffee to the glaze for additional flavor boost
Measure out the sugar, dry yeast, 3 tsp. of the ground cardamom and the warmed milk. Blend slowly and let sit until yeast starts to foam.
Add in the slightly beaten eggs and mix well with mixer.
Slowly begin adding the flour and mix well; add in the salt and more flour until all is mixed and combined.
A few chunks at a time, begin adding in the softened butter and mix until blended in completely; do this with all the butter slowly blending until the butter has disappeared into the dough.
Once the butter is all mixed in and blended well; remove the formed dough from the mixer bowl and place in a large deep oiled bowl and cover with top with wrap.
Allow to rest and rise for one hour or so.
After completing the one hour rise; remove the wrap and punch down the dough and cover bowl with wrap and let rest and rise for approx. 30 minutes or so.
Line two baking trays with parchment paper or use a silpat liner. Place the prepared dough on a work board and cut the dough into two equal segments.
Cover one segment and cut this segment into three equal size pieces.
Very lightly flour the surface of the work board and begin to roll out the first of the three sections into a 1? thick or so rope about 16? or so in length.
Roll out the other two segments in this same manner.
Lay the three ropes down on the board vertically and overlap and connect the tops.
Now begin to “braid” the dough using the three segments overlapping and wrapping as you go.
Pinch the bottom of the ropes together at the end and set on top of the baking sheet.
Repeat this process to create the second braid with the remaining dough.
Place on prepared baking sheet. Mix together your glaze ingredients (brewed coffee optional)
Brush the tops of both braids with the mixture and sprinkle both liberally with the coarse sugar.
Bake one loaf at a time for approximately 20 to 25 minutes in a 375 degree oven;
Remove from oven and let cool slightly; serve warm immediately or freeze in well sealed plastic bags to serve later. This recipe makes a lovely hostess gift for the spring season and Easter holiday to come.