This recipe, from the Goodale Farms edition of the Loaves & Fishes Farm Series Cookbooks, features everything we love about holiday baking: delicious spices, long-held family history, and a finished product that makes an excellent, edible gift.
“My family has been making Swedish Braid for generations,” says Licia Kassim Householder, Loaves & Fishes’ executive pastry chef and co-author of Loaves & Fishes’ Farm Series Cookbooks. “It’s a really cardamom-heavy yeast bread. It originated with my great-great-grandmother and was passed down to my grandpa, then to my aunt, and now me. Just add green and red sprinkles, wrap them, put a bow on them, and distribute them to family and friends.”
Not even Santa could do better than that.
Makes 2 loaves
- 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 ounces (1 stick) salted butter, melted, plus more for brushing
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 3 cups bread flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
- ¼ cup coarse sugar, such as sanding sugar
- Combine yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Warm milk and butter together and cool to lukewarm. Pour over yeast and sugar and let proof for 5 minutes, until foamy.
- Add in egg and stir until combined. Add in flour, salt, and cardamom and knead together on a lightly floured surface until the dough is tacky but doesn’t stick to your hands. Cover with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free area until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Once dough has doubled in size, divide evenly in half. Divide each half into thirds and form a traditional braid to make two braided loaves. Tuck in the ends and place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush both loaves entirely with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Let rise again, uncovered, until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until puffy and golden brown. Serve warm with butter.