Tag Archives: Cardamom

Guest Post ‘Cardamom Bread (aka Bohemian Braided Bread)’

16 Jan

Today I am bringing you a Guest Post from my friend Kim.¬† Kim’s cooking is inspired by her grandma and mine by my mum. Our fondness is to cook for our families some exquisite meals. She is extremely talented. Not only she writes & cooks for A Little Lunch, but also she’s a musician and has a passion for photography.

I am glad she’s become a part of the Exquisite Niche family!

Hope you enjoy her post!! ūüôā

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I was so excited when Gursahiba invited me to join her on Exquisite Niche, this being my first guest post and all.  Thank you for having me here!  We both share a passion for cooking and baking, as well as the desire to create joyful ambience in our homes.  We also have a mutual fondness for cardamom.

In consulting with my friend about what type of recipe to post,¬†she suggested “something from my roots.” ¬†My grandmother’s¬†fragrant¬†Cardamom Bread¬†immediately came to mind with¬†it’s subtly infused spices and intricately woven exterior.¬†¬†Nothing says “home” like¬†a family recipe.

Besides being¬†treasures,¬†family recipes¬†connect us with the past while becoming¬†part of who we are today.¬† One whiff of a favorite dish¬†and you’re¬†transported¬†to another place and time,¬†while memories from¬†those special occasions¬†mingle¬†at our present-day¬†tables.¬† Simply amazing!

I grew up in Minnesota¬†where the winters are long and cold,¬†but the¬†warmth of¬†Grandma’s¬†kitchen¬†made me forget¬†about snow —¬†especially when she¬†was baking.¬†¬†After moving¬†to Oklahoma, I haven’t had to contend with snow¬†(much!), but¬†I¬†still love¬†baking during the winter and Grandma’s recipes¬†contain¬†built-in coziness.

In fact, I named my blog after something she¬†said often,¬†beckoning us to¬†the table for¬†“a little lunch.

The flavors in this recipe¬†came from “the old country” (Czechoslovakia), to southern Minnesota where she¬†eventually settled.¬† Now they’ve followed me to¬†another place and time.¬†¬†Isn’t it nice to know¬†“home” is as close as your kitchen?

Cardamom Bread (aka Bohemian Braided Bread)

1/2 c. warm water

2 packets of dry yeast

2 eggs

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. butter, softened (plus a little extra to butter the bowl)

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. freshly grated lemon rind

1/4 t. ground cardamom

1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg*

1/2 c. milk, scalded and cooled

4 1/2 to 5 c. all purpose flour

1/2 c. raisins (reserve to add during the final kneading)

Glaze:

1 c. confectioners’ sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 to 2 Tbsp. milk or cream

Garnish: 

Blanched almonds

Maraschino (or candied) cherries

Begin by combining the yeast and warm water; set aside for 5 minutes until foamy.  Lightly grease a large glass bowl with butter; set aside.

In another large bowl, beat the eggs.  Add the sugar, butter, salt, lemon rind, and spices; beat again.  Stir in milk and yeast mixture.  Stir in 1 cup of flour.  Add another cup of flour; stir until combined.

Gradually add¬†enough of the remaining flour¬†to make a slightly sticky dough.¬† (I used 4 1/2 cups¬†total — or, as Grandma¬†used to tell¬†me, “Never be afraid of a sticky dough!”)

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 15 to 20 minutes, or until smooth.  Form into a ball and place top-side-down in the buttered bowl; then turn it buttered side up.

Cover the bowl with a clean cotton towel (I still use one of the embroidered dish towels Grandma gave me years ago); set in a warm place to rise until doubled.

After dough has doubled in volume, punch down and let rest for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle reserved raisins over dough; knead in until evenly distributed.

Divide¬†dough into four equal parts.¬† Using your hands, roll three¬†portions into¬†14″ long ropes.¬†¬†Gently transfer¬†ropes¬†to a¬†lightly greased baking tin;¬†form them¬†into a large braid and¬†pinch ends together well.

Divide¬†remaining¬†dough¬†into 3 equal parts.¬† Using your hands, roll each¬†part into¬†12″ long ropes.¬† Form¬†a second, smaller¬†braid;¬†lay it over the top (center) of the large braid, pinching ends into the larger braid to anchor them.¬† Cover and let rise until double.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to a cooling rack.  Meanwhile, combine glaze ingredients.  Drizzle over warm loaf.  Garnish with almonds and cherries.  Enjoy!

(*Note:¬† The original recipe¬†called for¬†mace.¬† Since mace is made from the dried outer shell of nutmeg,¬†I’ve found that freshly grated nutmeg¬†works nicely.)

Thanks once again,¬†Gursahiba, for hostessing this guest post —¬†I’ve enjoyed my time¬†in your kitchen!

Enjoying the warmth of¬†“home” cooking,

~ Kim

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