Traditional Finnish Coffee Bread

INGREDIENTS

    • 1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast ( original recipe specifies one package but I use 2)
    • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
    • 2 cups milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 8 -12 cardamom pods, seeded and crushed, depending on how strong a cardamom flavor you like ( I use 10-12)
    • 5 eggs, beaten, divided ( 1 egg is used for glaze)
    • 8 -10 cups flour
    • 1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine, melted
    • 1/4 cup sugar, for glazing braids ( or less)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, 4 eggs, and 2 cups of flour.
  3. Stir until dough is smooth.
  4. Add 3 cups of flour and stir well.
  5. Stir in melted butter or margarine.
  6. Stir in 2-3 cups more flour or until you have a stiff dough.
  7. Turn dough out onto a floured breadboard and cover with an inverted bowl.
  8. Let rest for 15 minutes.
  9. Knead dough until smooth and satiny (8-10 minutes).
  10. Place dough in a large lightly greased bowl, turning to grease top.
  11. Cover with plastic wrap and/or towel.
  12. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled (1-2 hours).
  13. Punch dough down.
  14. Let dough rise again until almost double (30 minutes- 1 hour).
  15. Turn out onto floured board.
  16. Divide dough into thirds, working with only one third at a time.
  17. Divide (one- third of dough) into three parts.
  18. With your hands roll each part into one 18″strand.
  19. Braid the three strands together to form one braid, tucking ends under.
  20. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet.
  21. Let rise 20-30 minutes until puffy.
  22. Repeat with the other two parts thirds of original dough.
  23. You will have three braids when finished.
  24. Brush braids with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
  25. Bake in 400°F oven for 20-30 minutes or until braids are light brown.
 
Recipe provided by food.com – This recipe is a Traveland employee Christmas favorite