During preparation and done. Can you tell how much warmer our apartment feels after the bread is done?
Swedish Coffee Bread was an on again off again Christmas treat throughout my childhood. Since it is a yeast bread and let's face it - we weren't so good at that - it was always a toss up on Christmas morning between Pillsbury cinnamon rolls from a can and this lovely cardamom bread everyone loves so much.
My cousin and aunt are a stickler for tradition though so usually I can gleam one slice each year from the loaves they bake for my mother and grandmother. I haven't been able to afford the cardamom since I went away to school (yes that was back in 2000) and finally felt financially stable enough to spend 12$ on a few ounces at The Spice House.
Swedish Coffee Bread
You Will Need:
2 Cups Non-Dairy Milk
1/2 Cups Earth Balance or other non-hydrogenated buttery item
1 Cup Evaporated Cane Juice or other vegan sugar
6 Teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer
8 Tablespoons Warm Water
2 Packages Yeast
1/4 Cup Warm Water
8 Cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 to 2-1/2 Teaspoons Ground Cardamom
2-4 Tablespoons Melted Butter
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
In small pan scald milk on stove top and add butter.
In a large mixing bowl whip Ener-G egg replacer and 8 tablespoons water until thick and creamy.
In small bowl proof yeast in 1/4 cup warm water for five minutes.
Once milk mixture has cooled to less than 100 degrees combine with yeast in the large mixing bowl with egg replacer. Add sugar, salt and cardamom. Now gradually mix in flour 2 cups at a time with wooden spoon using your hands once spoon fails. (This might be a good point to start adding flour more cautiously - you might not need all 8 cups.) On a floured surface with floured hands knead dough for approximately 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. At this point the dough should only stick to itself and you won't need any more flour on your hands or surface.
Place dough back in bowl and lightly oil with melted butter or other oil. Place a damp clean dishtowel over bowl and let rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours.
Now for the fun part. Remove towel and give the dough a light punch to the center. Manipulating dough as little as possible take dough out of bowl and put on clean surface. Try and place the deflated dough down in sort of a square shape if possible. Mark 9 separate sections with a knife and with a sharp knife cut dough into nine equal pieces. Braid together 3 pieces and place on greased cookie sheet or in greased bread pan. Continue with other six pieces. If need be gently fold under ends to make the loaves look just so.
Cover formed dough with re-moistened dish towel and let rise for another hour.
About 20 minutes before dough is finished rising preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt
butter in small bowl and add cinnamon. Brush dough with buttery cinnamon mixture and bake for 30 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool.
I accidentally forgot this bread was usually made on a baking sheet rather than in a bread pan. However it still turned out pretty fantastic. It was just an odd square shape like those square watermelons in Japan. This bread baked on a cookie sheet will yield a much more organic loaf.
I also ran out of unbleached flour so used about 3 cups unbleached flour and 5 cups whole wheat flour. This also tastes good.... : )
A good way to tell when the water is warm enough for the yeast is it should feel warm but not hot to your hand. Since your finger is 98 degrees (or should be anyway) and yeast dies at about 100 degrees it should not feel warmer than well, yourself. Thanks to Amos' grandma - the unofficial bread-master of the universe - for this tip.
Also thanks to Sasha for tipping us about the Spice House so my cardamom dreams could come true.