Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What's Baking? February: Bread

This month's What's Baking? theme is bread! Heather of Hezzi D's Books and Cooks will have the round up, check out what everyone made!

I always try to choose a new, challenging recipe for What's Baking?. I like to learn new things! But this month, finding time to bake a loaf of bread was challenge enough. I decided on a recipe that I love and haven't made in a while, and one that I wanted to share with others. So hopefully I can inspire someone to challenge themselves with this recipe! (don't worry, it's pretty straightforward!) I also chose this recipe because my grandma loves it, so I made it to send to her (fortunately, it makes 2 loaves so one for her, one for me!).

Cardamom Braid
makes 2 loaves
recipe from the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook

4.5-5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup milk, warm
1T active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1t ground cardamom
1t salt
6T softened butter

In your mixing bowl, combine the warm milk, yeast and 1 cup of flour. Whisk together and let the yeast wake up for about 20 minutes. Add the sugar, eggs, cardamom, salt and butter, Stir til mostly combined. Add in the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough holds together but is still a little sticky. Knead for 10-15 minutes, then place in a loosely covered bowl and let rise for about 2 hours, til doubled.

After the dough has risen, punch it down and divide in half. Divide each half in thirds, and roll out the dough into long snakes. Braid 3 together: smoosh the ends of the snakes together and then braid them, smooshing the ends together when you finish. Repeat for the 2nd set of 3 to make 2 braided loaves. Cover the two loaves with a clean dish towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes. Set the oven to 350F and let the bread continue to rise as the oven heats. Brush with an egg or milk wash, sprinkle with sanding or pearl sugar (optional) and bake for 30 minutes.

That's it! This bread is delicious, it has a nice light texture and is just sweet enough. It's my favorite for toast in the morning!

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