|2 packs||Active Dry Yeast|
|2 cups||Warm Water|
|1||Egg; room temperature|
|6 cups||(Up To 7) Flour; sifted|
|½ teaspoon||Ground Cardamom|
|¼ cup||Soft Butter Or Shortening|
|Thin Confectioners' Sugar Icing|
Sprinkle yeast on warm water; stir to dissolve. Blend in egg, 3 cups flour, cardomom, sugar and salt. Beat with mixer at medium speed about 2 minutes until batter is smooth. Add butter and enough remaining flour, a little at a time, first with spoon and then with hand, to make a fairly soft dough that leaves the sides of the bowl. Turn onto lightly floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place in greased bowl and turn dough over to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place til doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down dough, turn over, cover and let rest 10 minutes.
Turn out onto board; divide in half. Cut each half into 3 equal parts. Roll each part under hand to make a strip 11 to 12 inches long. Braid 3 strips, starting from the center and braiding to each end, pinching ends to seal.
Place in greased loaf pan. Repeat with remaining three strips. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) 40 to 50 minutes, covering with sheet of foil during last 15 minutes to prevent browning too much. Remove from pans and place on wire cooling racks. After loaves are slightly cooked, brush with confectioners' icing. Makes 2 loaves Finnish Bread Variation - Round loaves Turn risen dough onto board; divide into 2 parts. Shape into 2 loaves and place in 2 greased 9" round layer cake pans. Make 3 or 4 slashes on tops of loaves with very sharp knife. Cover, let rise until doubled; bake and cool like Finnish coffee bread. Omit icing. Makes 2 round loaves.
NOTES : May be made in regular bread loaf pans too. Makes awesome toast! Posted to recipelu-digest Volume 01 Number 350 by James and Susan Kirkland <kirkland@...> on Dec 08, 1997
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