Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Swedish Coffee Bread

Has your husband ever pulled the "my mom used to make" line on you. Always encouraging right? Well, usually, my husband is rewarded with a scowl when he says this, but not this time. I really enjoy making this bread. Granted, his mom stills makes it better than me, but I think that is because she grounds whole cardamoms and I used the already ground ones. That's my story and I'm stickin to it!
Meanwhile, I would like to share his family tradition with you.

You will need:

2 cups milk (heated hot)
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar + 1 Tbls
1 teaspoon salt
2 yeast packs or 2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 cup water
25 cardamom pods, crushed (I use ground cardamom)
2 eggs, beaten
8-10 cups flour

Heat milk, than add 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter cardamom and salt. Take off heat to cool. If I need it to cool quickly I put it in the fridge for a while. Just don't add the eggs while it's hot, for obvious reasons. I, of course, learned the hard way... hot liquid cooks eggs... who knew

Dissolve the yeast in warm water and add 1 Tablespoon of sugar. You should start to see it bubble. Make sure the water is just warm, not cold, not hot. Trust me.

Put the cooled milk mixture in your standing mixer with the dough hook attachment. Add the eggs and yeast mix. Gradually add 5 cups of flour.

*Imporant Step* After the 5 cups of flour is combined, let the dough sit for 15 minutes. That's right, set the timer and walk away. Drink a cup of coffee, eat a cookie... just walk away.

After you have let it sit, add 2 more cups of flour and mix.

You are going to knead in the rest of the flour so grab your mixer and a floured surface.

Put the dough on the board and start kneading in the remainder flour another cup or two.
Oh yeah, and you might want to take off you rings. As you see, I forgot to, I was picking dough out of that thing for days.

Once you have kneaded the dough to your liking,it should be elastic and smooth, place in a greased glass bowl and cover with a damp towel. Again, walk away and let it rise. Watched dough never rises...
so I've heard.

The dough should double in size. When it does, pound it down with your fist.

Then put back on floured surface and roll form into a loaf shape.

Cut into six somewhat even pieces.

Roll those six pieces into balls adding and taking until they are as even as you need them to be.

Take one ball of dough and roll it out.

Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut into three slices not cutting through the top, as shown above.

For those of you who never learned how to braid, here you go. Fold the right end over the middle.

Then fold the left end over that one.

Then the middle section over that left end.

Continue this until you can go no more and pinch the ends shut.

Place the dough on cookie sheets and cover with towel to rise some more. Umm... yeah... walk away again.
This is an all day process... I know.

After it has sufficiently risen, place in a 375 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.
They should be a nice golden brown.

Now is the time to melt that 1/4 cup of leftover butter. 
While the loaves are still hot, brush the butter over the bread.

Sprinkle with a bit of sugar. or alot. whatever your heart desires.

Let cool on wire racks. Well at least cool enough so that you won't burn your tongue.

It is Swedish "Coffee" bread after all, so brew some up and enjoy!

On a side note: I have substituted cinnamon for the cardamom and received rave reviews. 

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

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