I had been thinking about cardamom bread for the past several days when I saw Nicole's post for the cardamom bread, Nisu at Arctic Garden Studio (click here). Her beautiful loaves were the inspiration for me to finally bake the cardamom braided bread I'd been thinking of. I wish I could remember where this recipe came from, but I have been making this bread for many years now, and I think all the different versions for this bread make a lovely loaf.
In microwave in a Pyrex measuring cup heat:
1 1/3 c. milk
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. butter -cut in pieces
Do not overheat (115 degrees). Stir to dissolve sugar and melt butter.
Place in bread bowl or stand mixer bowl:
4 1/2 c. bread flour
1 T. yeast
1 t. ground cardamom
1/2 t. salt
In a small bowl beat:
1/4 - 1/2 t. lemon extract
Add lukewarm milk mixture and egg to flour mix. Beat with dough hook or spoon until it comes together. Continue kneading, adding 1 T. at a time of flour or water as needed, 5-10 minutes to make a smooth dough. Cover bowl with cling wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size. Punch down and divide into three equal balls. Rest 5 minutes. Roll each ball into a long rope (about 20 inches). On lightly greased sheet, braid ropes together, pinching ends and tucking under loaf ends to secure. Let rise until doubled. Mix 1 egg white + 1 T. water and gently brush onto loaf. Sprinkle with 1 T. coarse raw sugar and bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Slices of this cardamom braid with Pear Vanilla Jam for breakfast this morning was a good breakfast for those I love, and definitely food for my own soul. Ruth Reichl's reminder of why food matters (click here), reinforces my own belief of why baking bread is so important to me right now -it is a big yes in a world filled with no.