Swedish Cardamom Braid

READY IN: 3hrs 5mins
YIELD: 1 loaf
UNITS: US

INGREDIENTS

Nutrition
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DIRECTIONS

  • In a mixing bowl, measure 1 cup flour and add the dry ingredients.
  • Blend with a wooden spoon. pour in the hot water and stir with 25 strong strokes, or for 2 minutes with the mixer flat beater.
  • Cut the soft butter into several pieces and drop into the batterlike dough.
  • Add the egg, cardamom and raisins.
  • Stir in additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, first with the spoon and then by hand, or with the beater and then the dough hook.
  • The dough will form a rough mass and clean the sides of the bowl.
  • Because of the large amount of butter, the dough will not be sticky. It should be firm, but not stiff.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. With a strong push turn fold action, knead till the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes, or knead with the mixer under the dough hook for the same length of time.
  • Return the dough to the bowl; cover with plastic wrap and put aside at room temperature till the dough has doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  • Punch down the dough and turn it onto a floured surface; knead briefly to work out air bubbles.
  • Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Roll each part under your palms into a strand 14 inches long.
  • Beginning in the middle of the strands, braid loosely to one end. Reverse the loaf and again braid from middle to end.
  • Pinch the ends closed and place on a baking sheet.
  • Cover the dough with wax paper and leave till doubled in bulk and puffy to the touch, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F 20 minutes before baking.
  • Before baking, brush the braid with the egg white glaze.
  • Bake till the crust is rich brown, about 45 minutes.
  • A wooden toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
  • Remove braid from the oven. Use a metal spatula to lift it off the baking sheet, because the hot loaf will be fragile and might break.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • This bread keeps well and toasts beautifully and also freezes well.
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