Saturday, May 07, 2005

Sugar-Frosted Cardamom Braid

Sugar-Frosted Cardamom Braid (Adapted from CL)

1 1/3 cups milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
3 to 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 large egg
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon large crystal sugar

In a medium saucepan, stir together milk, sugar, butter, zest, cardamom and salt. Heat over low until sugar dissolves and a thermometer registers about 115°, stirring often - about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, 1 cup all-purpose flour and yeast. Pour in the milk mixture and the egg - beat just until blended on low, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually add 2 cups all-purpose flour - beat on low speed until mixture begins to form a balll.

Scoop the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands - the dough should feel a little tacky. Place the dough in a large bowl lightly coated with nonstick spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down and cover again - let rest for 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375

Evenly divide the dough into 3 portions - shape each piece of dough into a 20" long rope. Pinch ends together at one end to seal. Braid ropes on a lightly floured surface - pinch loose ends at the end of the braid to seal. Place the dough on a large baking sheet coated with nonstick spray. Cover and let rise until doubled in size.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg white and water. Gently brush mixture over the loaf. Scatter the top evenly with the large crystal sugar. Bake until golden and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

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