Swedish Coffee Bread
Bread
3/4 c dried blueberries or dried cranberries
4 to 4.5 c plus 1/2 T almond flour (Trader Joes)
1 1/4-oz pkg dry yeast
1/4 c warm water
1 c milk
1/4 c butter, softened
3/4 t salt
1/2 c sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 t ground cardamom
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
2 T crystal sugar (do not substitute regular sugar)
Heat oven to 375. Grease a baking sheet and set aside.

Place berries in small bowl and add 1/2 T flour. Stir to coat and set aside. Stir yeast into warm water to dissolve. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Scald milk in small saucepan on low heat or by heating in microwave 2 minutes. Place scalded milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add butter, salt and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and butter has melted. Let mixture cool to room temperature, then stir in yeast.

Add egg and beat until smooth. Add 2 c flour, cardamom, berries and slowly mix in. Add 2 more c flour and mix on medium speed until you have a soft dough, about 1 minute.

Scrape dough onto a floured work surface. Knead for 5-7 minutes, adding up to 1/2 c of additional flour as needed until the dough is no longer sticky but smooth.

Place dough in large greased bowl, cover and place in a warm place until the dough has doubled, about 1 to 1.5 hours.

When the dough has doubled, place it on a floured surface, punch it down and divide it into 3 equal pieces. Roll out each piece into a 12- to 14-inch rope with the ends slightly tapered. Place the three strips side by side and pinch the top ends together to seal, then tuck the ends under. Braid the strands together, then seal the bottom pieces together by pressing together, then tuck under.

Place the braided loaf on the greased sheet and brush with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with crystal sugar and let rest for 10 minutes.

Bake bread until it is golden and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, 30 to 35 minutes. (If it starts to brown too quickly, cover loosely with foil, but remove the foil for the last few minutes of baking.) Let cool completely before slicing. It will keep up to three days or may be frozen.
 
Nadine Melberg
Make with cranberries for a Christmas bread.
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