Julia, my sister, is going to give our Grammie and Aunt Mattie homemade bread for Christmas this year. Last night we decided to do a run-through to see how it would come out. I found a recipe for a Cardamom braid in Cooking Light, so I modified it (a lot) and came up with my very own. It’s quite simple to make and came out better than any bread I have made in the past.
Spiced Holiday Bread Braid Recipe
- 1 1/3 cups almond milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Lemon rind from one lemon plus a dash of lemon juice
- 1.5 teaspoons spices – allspice/pumpkin pie spice/cinnamon
- Dash of salt
- 4.5 cups whole wheat flour (separated), plus extra for kneading
- 2.5 teaspoons yeast
- 1 egg white
- Cooking spray
- 1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Mix together the first 6 ingredients (milk, sugar, butter, lemon, spices, salt) in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. The temperature should be about 120 – 130 F.
- Combine 2.5 cups of the flour with the yeast. Then add the milk mixture from the saucepan and mix together. Gradually add the remaining two cups of flour. (You can do this in a mixer – mine was not very cooperative. I think it would be better to try by hand.)
- Once you have a ball of dough, knead for about 10 minutes over a floured surface. Continue to add flour as the dough absorbs it; the dough should remain slightly sticky.
- Spray the inside of a bowl with cooking spray, then place the ball of dough inside. Cover and keep in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough has about doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough and let it rest for a few minutes.
- Preheat the over to 375F.
- Divide the dough into 3 equal parts and roll them into ropes – if you want a long, thin, braid try for about 20 inches; if you want it fatter, try for 15 inches. Pinch together the ropes and then braid them. When you have finished the braid, pinch the other end together.
- Place the braid on a sprayed cookie sheet; cover and let it sit for another 25 minutes.
- Paint the braid with the egg white and water mixture, then sprinkle the additional sugar over the top. Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Remove and let it cool.
We had it with butter and that fresh fruit dip I keep raving about.
I really like using almond milk – it’s light and naturally sweet. I’m not a huge regular milk fan anyway (though I do like whole milk and heavy cream).
More posts to come – I expect to make A LOT of cookies over the next day or so.