A unique bread with a sweet flavor that makes a wonderful holiday
gift! It takes about 4 hours to make, so allow yourself plenty of
2 cups milk
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 eggs, beaten
9 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons white sugar
Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from
heat. Let cool until lukewarm.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the lukewarm milk,
sugar, salt, cardamom, 4 eggs, and enough flour to make a batter
(approximately 2 cups). Beat until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Add about 3 cups of the flour and beat well; the dough should be
smooth and glossy in appearance. Add the melted butter or margarine,
and stir well. Beat again until the dough looks glossy. Stir in the
remaining flour until the dough is stiff.
Turn out of bowl onto a floured surface, cover with an inverted
mixing bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead the dough until
smooth and satiny. Place in a lightly greased mixing bowl, and turn
the dough to grease the top. Cover with a clean dishtowel. Let rise
in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down, and
let rise again until almost doubled.
Turn out again on to a floured surface, and divide into 3 parts.
Divide each third into 3 again. Roll each piece into a 12 to 16 inch
strip. Braid 3 strips into a loaf. You should get 3 large braided
loaves. Lift the braids onto greased baking sheets. Let rise for 20
Brush each loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Check occasionally because
the bottom burns easily.