Today, I present to you one of my favorite loaves of bread of all time. Long before I joined the TWD group, I made this bread as a newly married and completely inexperienced baker. It was one of the first yeast breads I ever made and I was drawn to it simply because it contained a spice with which I had recently become completely enamored: cardamom!
The first time I made this bread, I decided to majorly "up" the cardamom in the original recipe. Instead of the teaspoon called for, I dumped in a couple heaping tablespoons. I was not exaggerating when I said I loved the stuff...and I wanted this bread to sing the praises of everything cardamom. When I proudly presented a thick slice to my husband that night, he nearly gagged on the amount of spice in the bread. I dismissed his criticism as the ignorant words of a uncultured cardamom-hater. Then I took a bite. As much as I love cardamom, even I had to admit that it was a bit overwhelming. I learned my lesson and have only used the recommended amount ever since. And it is perfect.
This recipe is as easy and simple as can be. The dough rises beautifully, braids perfectly, and fills your house with a wonderful, exotic aroma. The finished bread has a beautiful crumb that is light, soft, and tender. It's subtle sweetness and gentle spiciness make it delicious enough to be eaten alone. However, a healthy dose of salted butter wouldn't be a bad addition.
To find the recipe, please visit the blog belonging to Erin, our host for this week. Or you can just buy the book Baking with Julia for yourself. Every recipe has been pretty fantastic - the book will make a great addition to any cookbook library and a great last-minute Christmas gift for the baker in your life!