Sunday, March 13, 2011
Spice Rack Challenge March: Cardamom Bread
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 beaten egg (for glaze)
Granulated sugar (or Swedish sugar pearls) for sprinkling
Mix yeast, warm water and 1/2 teaspoon sugar until yeast dissolves. Set aside. Heat milk in a microwave over low heat until small bubbles appear along the edges. Cool to about 120F. Add beaten eggs, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, salt, cardamom and 3 cups flour. Beat well. Add butter; beat well. Add yeast mixture. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups flour in three additions, mixing well after each addition, until dough has a soft to medium consistency. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding as little additional flour as possible. Place dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled, 1 to 2 hours. Punch down dough and let rise again until almost doubled, about 1 hour.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope. Braid 3 ropes together to form a loaf. Repeat with remaining 3 ropes. Place loaves on a greased baking sheet or in greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pans. Cover with a cloth and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375F. Brush loaves with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 25 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped on bottom. Invert from pan and cool on a wire rack.