One of the things on my to-do list at some point this week was get a loaf of bread made. However, I was looking for one that would be a bit sweeter than recipes we have done in the past... I had just enough time today, so I wound up making this spectacular Sugar-Frosted Cardamom Braid.
In the dough, I used a mixture of white whole wheat and all-purpose flour - though you will be perfectly fine if you only use all-purpose. I just like sneaking in whole-grains where ever I can if it won't interfere with the texture. As the liquid in this recipe is milk, the dough was so soft and a pleasure to knead. There are two stand-out flavors in this bread - a bright lemon flavor from a couple tablespoons of lemon zest and a unique, warm and very aromatic flavor from ground cardamom. Rather than baking this in pans, this dough is divided into three portions and then intertwined together in a braiding fashion to create a stunning loaf of bread. After its final rise, the dough is dressed with a light coating of an egg wash and then a scattering of large, coarse crystal sugar for crunch and sparkle. The braid started out at about 15 inches long, but when I went to pull it out from the oven, I couldn't believe how much it grew - it was just over 21 inches fulled baked!
We waited as long as we possibly could before we sliced into this intensely fragrant loaf, maybe 40 minutes or so... we just couldn't wait anymore! The baked loaf was so soft, light and tender without being overly sweet. There was just enough cardamom flavor in each slice so you know it is in there, but not so much that is overpowers the delicate lemon. We have already sampled it plain, toasted and toasted with a bit of jam... we can't even decide how we like it best! I have a feeling this will certainly be made again, especially around the fall holidays! You could even gussy it up with colored sugar around Christmas time for an even more festive appearance.
Sugar-Frosted Cardamom Braid