SWEDISH COFFEE BREAD
1 cup milk, scalded and cooled
1 yeast cake
3 tablespoons butter (we increased to 1/4 cup)
2/3 cup sugar
1 T-spn (teaspoon )
6 or 7 cardamon seeds, pounded to powder
about 4 cups flour
Make sponge with milk, yeast and 1-1/2 cups flour. Let rise. Then add butter, eggs well beaten, salt, cardamon, sugar and rest of flour. Knead well. Let rise; then make, by braiding the dough, into buns or coffee bread. Let rise again. Then brush over with a little of the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350
Save a little of the beaten egg for the top and add afew drops of water to egg that you brush top with.
Source: letter from Miriam Duguid dated 13 Nov 52
24 Dec 2013: For years, we've not scalded the milk, thinking that this was a hold-over from when milk was not pasterized; today, while researching other braid recipes on the Internet, I found reference to why one might still want to do this. http://www.thekitchn.com/scalding-milk-is-it-really-nec-112360
If you don't have the cardamom seed, you can use a heaping teaspoon of ground cardamom.
For Xmas, you can dump in a pound of candied fruit to the mix. I found that 3-1/2 cups of flour made for a sticky dough, but later when working with the braid, it went well.
You can save out some of the egg, or not. I simply took another egg, added two tablespoons of water and beat well for brushing on top.
Let the dough rise until double, punch down, let it rest for a bit and then divide into thirds. If your dough is real sticky, you might want to lightly dust your working surface. Work each third into a thin log around 14" long. Press the end of all three together (may want to moisten so they stick) and then create your braid, pressing the ends of the strands together at the other end. Tuck the ends under just a bit.
Pre-heat oven to 350˚. Cover the braid with a dish towel and let rise until doubled. Brush top with egg-water mixture and sprinkle with granulated sugar. If you have some slivered almonds that aren't rancid, you can sprinkle some over the top also for a fancier look.
Bake for around 30 minutes. Depending on how your oven is, you might want to rotate midway through so the top is evenly browned.
If you "google" cardomom braid, you'll find many variations on this.