Finnish Braid


5 to 5-1/2 cups flour
2 packages dry yeast (2 scant tablespoons)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 tablespoon orange peel
1/3 cup orange juice
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk


In large bowl, mix 2 cups flout, yeast, and cardamom. In a saucepan, heat milk, butter, sugar, and salt to 120 degrees – 130 degrees F. Add to the dry mixture. Add eggs, peel, and juice. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds. Beat for 3 minutes at high speed. By hand, stir in 2 more cups flour. Turn onto a floured board and knead until smooth, adding more flour when necessary. Place dough in a greased bowl, and let rise, covered, until doubled. Punch down and divide in half. Divide each half into thirds; shape into six balls. Cover and let rise for 10 minutes. Roll each ball into a 16-inch rope. Braid three ropes together loosely and place on greased baking sheet, tucking ends under. Repeat with other braid. Cover and let rise until doubled. Brush with mixture of egg yolk and milk. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes. (Cover loosely with foil if loaves are browning too fast.)


Makes 2 braided loaves.


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