A braided Christmas tradition from Scandinavia.
I grew up with this from my Danish ancestors...imagine my delight to learn that my husband had grown up with an almost identical recipe--from his Finnish ancestors! While our recipes are the same, our methods of eating are different: the Danes frost it and put on maraschino cherries (as pictured) and then tear off chunks from the braid, while the Finns slice it, toast it, and eat it with butter. We all eat it strictly at Christmas--my family saves it for Christmas morning, but my husband's family enjoys it throughout the holiday season.
makes 2 large (or 6-8 small) loaves
8 cups flour
2 cups scalded milk
2 Tbs yeast
1/2 cup warm water (for the yeast to grow in)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup melted butter
1 tsp cardamom (powdered form, not the whole pods!)
Dissolve yeast in water and set aside. Mix milk, butter, sugar, egg, salt, cardamom, and a little of the flour and beat until smooth. Add yeast and mix again. Add the rest of the flour and beat well. Knead for about 10 minutes. Cover dough and let it rise until double. Place on a floured board and knead until smooth. Divide into 6 even-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a 'snake' and braid together into 2 loaves, tucking the ends under.
Put loves on a large greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until double again. Bake at 375* until golden brown--about 20 minutes for large loaves (less for smaller loaves).
If you are new to bread making, check out my bread making tips!