Yesterday was a busy day, but also the perfect day to make some bread since there’s so much “rest” time in the process. Plus, I love the smell of a bread-baking kitchen, especially in the winter.
I didn’t change a thing on the Finnish Coffee Braid recipe below. It was perfect as-is. There is a very distinct orange & cardamom flavor to this dense bread, which I would not suggest fiddling with. It makes two braids and you can put them both in the oven simultaneously with no problem. Freeze, gift, or share the extra one and you’re all set. People will be impressed with the attractiveness of the bread, so you could even use it as part of a centerpiece.
Finnish Coffee Braid
source: Desert Candy
2 1/4 t (1 package) active dry yeast
3 T warm water
1 c milk
6 T butter, cut into pieces
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cardamom
grated peel of one orange
about 5 c all-purpose flour
for glaze: 1 egg yolk + 1 T milk
- Place yeast and water in the bottom of a large bowl and let set
- Place milk and butter in a saucepan (or microwave safe bowl) and heat until butter has melted and milk is hot but does not boil. Cool to lukewarm.
- Add eggs and milk/butter mixture to the yeast. Add sugar, salt, cardamom, and orange zest, stirring to combine. Gradually add the flour to make a stiff dough.
- Turn dough out to a well-floured surface and knead until smooth.
- Place dough ball in an oiled blow, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
- Punch down and divide into two portions, then divide each portion into thirds. Form each third into a rope about 18-24 inches long. Braid ropes, pinching together at ends, and form into rings.
- Place each ring onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for another 1 – 1 1/1 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush each loaf with beaten egg/milk mixture, and bake for 35 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks.