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Cardamon Bread

Europe, North: Finnish

This bread has been in my familt for years, I'm not even sure when it first was made by my ancestors. I know that my great-grandma taught it to my grandma, who taught it to my mom, who is teaching it to me. This probably has gone back for generations. My mom remebers that every Christmas, her grandma would have a special day set apart just for making her special breads, which includes cardamon bread. Every Christmas morning, my family eats it for breakfast.

Ingredients

2 cups luke-warm milk
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 T.. salt
1 tsp cardamon seed (or ground cardamon)
6-7 cups flour,
2 packages yeast

Preparation

In small bowl, place 1/4 cup warm water, yeast, and pinch of flour and sugar to soften the yeast. If using cardamon seed, place on cutting board with 2-3 tsp sugar. Roll to fine powder with rolling pin. In mixing bowl, place milk, eggs, sugar, salt, and cardamon. Check to make sure liquid is only luke-warm. Add yeast mixture. Mix in 5 cups flour with wooden spoon (or Kitchen-Aid mixer). When well mixed, gradually add additional flour to soft dough. Gently knead with hand in bowl or with Kitchen-Aid mixer. The secret is : DON'T USE TOO MUCH FLOUR. When dough feels smooth and elastic, place in greased bowl and spray surface with Pam and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in warm area to rise 1-2 hrs until doubled. Punch dough down. Divide into 3 parts. Separate each part into 3 ropes and braid (will make 3 loaves). Place each braid onto greased baking sheet and cover with towel. Raise until doubled. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 min, or until golden-brown. Remove from pan to cool. Brush tops with melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar or frost when cooled. We sprinkle the frosting with cherries and nuts.

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