Thursday, December 20, 2012

Finnish Coffee Bread

I've been asked for my recipe for Finnish Coffee bread and I thought I'd post it here since it's too long for a tweet or even a FB post. It's a recipe I found in the paper years ago. I used to make 3 loaves at a time and braid them but often had trouble getting them to bake evenly. Now I cut the recipe in half and use a bread machine.

Warning: Doesn't work to add fresh cranberries! My worst disaster with Finnish Coffee bread was the one time I tried doing that.

Ingredients:

2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105-115F)
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
1 cup sugar
1tsp salt
1tsp ground cardamom
4 eggs beaten
8 cups all purpose flour (approx.)
1/2 cup melted butter

Sprinkle yeast on the warm water and let stand a few minutes then stir to blend. Stir in milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, eggs and 2 cups flour. Beat smooth. Add 3 more cups of flour and beat until smooth. Stir in melted butter. Now add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough which can be handled. Cover. Let rest 15 minutes. Turn out on floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, turn greased side up. Cover with a damp towel. Let rise in warm place until double in bulk--about 1 hour. Punch down. Cover. Let rise again until almost doubled (about half an hour). Turn out on lightly floured board. Divide into 3 equal parts to make three loaves. After shaping breads, let rise about 20 minutes until puffy but not doubled, then bake at 375 for 20 or25 minutes until lightly browned.

Note that for me, it always took longer to rise--probably because my house was cooler than for the times they mention.

For bread machine:

The shape isn't as pretty but it bakes evenly all the way through and tastes heavenly!

My machine makes 2 lb loaves and I'm still tinkering to get exactly the right mixture. Sometimes it rises so high the top doesn't bake all the way through but here's my best so far....

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup warm milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom (I like the flavor so I didn't reduce the amount)
2 small eggs or 1 jumbo egg
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp butter (a little less than 1/4 cup)

I add the ingredients in the order recommended by my bread machine.

When my kids were growing up I tried to always have Finnish coffee bread for us for breakfast on Christmas morning.

Whatever holidays you do or don't celebrate, I hope that this time of year reminds you of love and hope and the power of finding moments of joy in the midst of even the greatest challenges. Eating Finnish coffee bread for me is always one of those moments.

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