It’s a much simplified version of a loaf I’ve made for years, from a cookbook I can hardly believe I own: Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland, by Beth Dooley and Lucia Watson. I bought it many years ago for its homey, comforting, slow food recipes, but there’s hardly a one I can make now without major modifications. (It’s divided into sections with names like “Henhouse and Dairy,” “Barnyard and Smokehouse,” and “Deep Lakes and Swift Streams.”) One of my favorite recipes was for Finnish Cardamom Coffee Bread. It’s really delicious, but also loaded with eggs and honey and kneading it was a serious upper body workout. And I only got one loaf out of the deal.
This recipe, on the other hand, doesn’t require that you train for two weeks prior to making it. It has all of the flavors of the original – and of which I’m completely enamored: cardamom, coffee and maple. And, you get two loaves out of it. If you can braid or twirl or loop (and of course you can!), you can create some very impressive baked goods. Store the dough in your refrigerator for up to five days – fresh bread for the week. Super toasted for your breakfast or wonderful at sandwiching PB&J.
You’ll need cardamom pods for this recipe.
- 2 cups non-dairy milk, plus more for brushing top of loaves
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 Tbsp. instant yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. green cardamom pods, crushed with mortar and pestle (remove husks after crushing)
- 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. coffee beans, ground, divided
- 1 cup golden raisins, optional
- 2 tbsp. Demerara sugar, for sprinkling on top of loaves
- Have a large, food-safe plastic container with lid ready. You may wish to lightly spritz it with cooking oil to make removing the dough easier later.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour in the almond milk, applesauce and maple syrup.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, yeast, salt, crushed cardamom seeds, ground cardamom and 2 tablespoons of the ground coffee (reserve the remainder for sprinkling on top of the loaves). Carefully pour this mixture into the wet ingredients in the bowl of the stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, begin to mix the dough. Start out slowly so you don't spray yourself with flour.
- Once the dough starts coming together, switch to the dough hook. If the mixture is very sticky and wet, add a little additional flour. You want a sticky dough - but not so sticky that it's attached to the side and bottom of the bowl. Mix for a few minutes to thoroughly moisten the flours. Add the raisins, if using, and mix for another minute or two to evenly incorporate them.
- Scrape the dough into the prepared container and lightly cover (don't press down lid to seal yet). Let container sit at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until it has risen to about double its original size. Seal the container and transfer it to the refrigerator overnight.
- When ready to bake a loaf, preheat the oven to 375-degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide dough in half, returning one half to the refrigerator for later use.
- Divide the dough half into 3 equal pieces. On a floured surface, gently roll pieces into 18-inch long ropes. Place the ropes side by side, about 2-inches apart, on the prepared baking sheet. Pinch one end together and tuck under to neaten. Loosely braid dough and again, pinch the end and tuck under. Cover braid with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for about 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons sugar with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of the ground coffee. Brush top of loaf with non-dairy milk and sprinkle with half of the sugar-coffee mixture. Reserve the rest for when you bake the second loaf.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool before slicing and serving.