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Swedish Cardamon Coffee Bread

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Yield: Makes 4 loaves.

For her baking, Millie prefers to use King Arthur or another unbleached white flour, and she stirs her bread dough in one direction only. "Clockwise seems most natural to me, but the other way would work, too. I think it breaks down the gluten too much if you stir in too many directions, When most of the flour is in, I begin to stir in a circle from top to bottom, turning the bowl as I go." This rich, spicy bread makes a nice gift. Keep extra loaves on hand in the freezer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 2-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 to 9 cups flour
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cardamom, or more to taste (or crush 12 pods)
  • 3 eggs, beaten slightly
  • Sugar and cinnamon

Instructions:

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Heat milk to warm. Add yeast, sugar, and salt to warm milk. Then gradually stir in 4 cups of flour and stir the batter with a spoon using 100 strokes or more, stirring in 1 direction only. Add the cooled melted butter, the cardamom, and the eggs. Stir well. Gradually add the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until 4 more cups have been worked into the dough. If needed, add up to a cup more flour. Knead dough until smooth. Cover with a cloth and let rise to double. Punch down and let rest on floured board about 10 minutes. Divide into 4 pieces. Cut each piece into 3 strips and make a braid. Place each braid in a greased baking pan and let rise until double. Brush tops with slightly beaten egg, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 375 degrees F about 20 minutes. Tap lightly with fingers to see if they are done (they will sound hollow).
Updated Thursday, December 6th, 2007
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