Swedish Cinnamon-Cardamom Bread

Swedish Cardamom Bread

This recipe is the type of recipe that when I make, I think, I should make this everyday. Life would be a lot happier if I had this to look forward to in the morning or afternoon. Or evening. But, as it happens, I don’t make it everyday, and when I do make it, I’m lucky to get one slice, before all the kids, and darling friends of kids, quickly grab as much as they can.

This recipe is similar to a cinnamon roll, but you don’t cut the individual rolls, making the prep time a little bit faster, and the presentation much different. I love how the shaping of it encourages everyone to tear a handful and just eat! This recipe comes from the Jan. 2015 Saveur

Swedish Cinnamon-Cardamom Bread
For the dough
7 T. unsalted butter
1 12 c. whole milk, heated to 115°
2 t. active dry yeast
4 12 c. flour, plus more for dusting
14 c. sugar
1 12 t. cardamom seeds, lightly crushed (or ground cardamom)
14 t. kosher salt

For the filling
12c. granulated sugar
7 T. unsalted butter, softened
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 12t. cardamom seeds, finely crushed (or ground cardamom)
1 egg, beaten
Pearl sugar, for topping

Make the dough:
Melt butter in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium. Remove from heat and stir in milk and yeast; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, cardamom, and salt in a bowl. Stir in yeast mixture until dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. Return dough to bowl and cover with a clean dish towel; let sit in a warm place until dough is doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Make the filling:
Mix granulated sugar, butter, cinnamon, and cardamom in a bowl until smooth.

Assemble the bread:
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 11″ x 17″ rectangle, about 14″ thick. Spread filling over dough, leaving a 12″ border along edges. [I’ve found it works better to divide the dough into two and make two separate loaves. They fit on an baking sheet better. They spread quite a bit in baking!] Working from one long end, roll dough into a tight cylinder; transfer seam side down to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover with dish towel; let sit in a warm place until dough has doubled in size once more, about 45 minutes.

Bake the bread:
Heat oven to 375°. Using kitchen shears and starting 1″ from ends of dough, make crosswise cuts, spaced 1″ apart, three-quarters of the way through dough. Fan dough slices away from the center, alternating left to right. Brush dough with egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar; bake until golden brown, about 22 minutes. Let bread cool completely before serving.

 

Chocolate Coconut Bread

Choc Coconut Bread2I know the title of this recipe sounds so ho-hum, but I think this recipe was given as a heavenly gift to us all. I have had to restrain myself from making it every single night (which is partly because of Katie Couric’s documentary about childhood obesity in America, Fed Up. Very good information. Glad I watched it. Can’t wait till my ten-day sugar fast is over, because I will be making this the first minute I can!) I usually stir this together right before bed and bake it in the morning (the weekend is a perfect time for this, of course), and then eat it all day long. My favorite story about this bread: I gave a loaf to my aunt, and she had a polite amount after dinner, and we left. Later that week, she told me she had woken up at 3:30 a.m. the next morning and thought, “is it irrational to get out of bed at this hour to go have another slice of this bread?” and decided it was. She went back to sleep, and then at 6:30 decided it was acceptable behavior to get out of bed. For bread. I love it. This recipe comes from Jim Lahey’s My Bread (thank you, thank you!).

Chocolate Coconut Bread

2 c. plus 2 T.  (280 grams) bread flour
2 c., loosely packed (100 grams)  large flake unsweetened coconut [I actually prefer the smallest shred possible. It disappears in the bread but gives it great chew.]
1 c. (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate chunks
3/4 t. (4 grams) salt
1/4 t. instant yeast or 1/2 c. sourdough starter
1 1/4 c. (280 grams) room temperature water

  1. [The night before you bake] In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, half of the coconut, the chocolate, salt, and yeast [If you use the smallest shred coconut, you can add it all at once, which I prefer]. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is puffy and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.
  2. When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece.  Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.
  3. Place a tea towel surface and generously dust it with wheat bran or flour. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran, cornmeal or flour. Lightly sprinkle the surface with the remaining ½ cup coconut. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.
  4. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack in the lower third, and place a covered 4 ½ -to 5 ½ -quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.
  5. Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up.  Cover the pot and bake for 40 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 20 to 25 minutes more.
  7. Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.