Braided Cardamom Bread

Braided cardamom bread has been known to convert those unfamiliar with cardamom to a professed love of Scandinavia’s most ubiquitous spice.

Serves: 16Hands-on: 30 minutesTotal: 4 hours 5 minutesDifficulty: Medium


Serves: 16

Ingredients

  • 1 package active dry yeast (2¼ tsp.)
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1¼ cups whole milk, divided
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1½ tsp. ground cardamom
  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. pearl sugar

Directions

  • Stir the yeast into the warm water and let proof for 15 minutes, until it becomes foamy.
  • In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup milk until just before it boils.
  • Add scalded milk to the bowl of a stand mixer with the butter, sugar, salt, egg, and cardamom. Stir in the yeast mixture and 2 cups of the flour. Equip the mixer with its paddle blade, turn to low, and gradually increase the speed to medium as the flour incorporates into the liquid. Beat until smooth.
  • Replace the mixer paddle with the dough hook, and add the remaining 2½ cups of flour until dough is slightly stiff and pulls away from the side of the bowl (you may not need all of the flour). Increase speed to medium-high to high and knead dough until it is smooth and glossy.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead 2–3 times.
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl and roll it over once, with greased side up. Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm spot to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down.
  • Divide the dough into 2 equal halves, and then divide these halves into 3 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 15"-long rope. Lay 3 of ropes next to each other and loosely braid. Tuck ends under and pinch to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place on greased baking sheet, cover with the tea towel, and allow to rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Brush the braids with ¼ cup milk, sprinkle with the pearl sugar, and bake for 15–20 minutes, or until deeply golden.