Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Val's Braided Cardamom Egg Bread

Braided Cardamom Egg Bread

Holiday feasting time is here!  I imagine there will be lots of baking in your house...

Remember when preparing a feast that special care must be given in the selection of bread.

Why?  Well, if you are preparing a heavy meal - turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, pilaf (yes, we must have that every holiday in my house) - then you want to have a light bread.  One of the easiest light breads to make is egg bread.  It is airy, yet flavorful.

Here is one of my favorite recipes.  It it a braided egg bread with cardamom; it smells earthy and sweet - the way the holidays should smell!

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom

For the glaze:  one egg beaten with one tbsp of water
For the finishing touch: sliced almonds


Using your electric mixer with a paddle attachment or your bread machine, combine the ingredients – keeping in mind your machine’s instructions.

When kneading is done, let the dough rise for about 45 min. or until it has doubled in size.  (If you prefer hand kneading, see my note on hand kneading in my Best Ever Polenta Pumpkin Seed Bread Recipe.)

Before rising

While the dough is rising line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

After rising

Making the braid:

Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Divide the dough into three equal portions and shape into three 12-inch long ropes.  Place the ropes on the baking sheet.

Your ropes are ready for braiding!

Begin braiding from the center. Once you have braided one side, turn the sheet around and braid the other.

Just 1/2 more to do...

Now it is starting to look good!  Cover the dough loosely with some plastic wrap and let it rise until it has almost doubled in size.  (This could take as much as 45 min.)

Twenty minutes before baking, set your oven rack to the middle and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (a little less than 180 degrees C).

Ready to apply the egg glaze

Beat the egg and water together with a fork, and apply the mixture to the surface of the loaf.  Then sprinkle the almonds over it.

With the almonds on, we are ready to bake!

Bake the braided loaf for 35 to 40 minutes, until it has turned a deep golden brown.  Immediately remove from the baking sheet to the cooling rack.  Let cool before slicing.


Enjoy the holidays with your family and friends, Everyone!

There is so much to be thankful for...

Best wishes, and come back soon.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Waiting for my soul to catch up

A good friend once told me that after a long trip she has to stay still and wait for her soul to catch up.  I think I understand.  After traveling for a week, I have that floating feeling.  This is a good time to reflect.

I am thinking of autumn today.  Autumn is about endings - the end of long days, of sunny afternoons in the park or on the water's edge, of the garden's blooms...

Yet endings can be beautiful.  Recently I took walk in the park to witness the colors of autumn - greens transformed in rich yellow-golds and flaming russet-oranges.  A lovely ending...