Daisy's Cardamom Bread

Daisy is a woman I interviewed for my thesis. For years she was part of an elite group of bakers that helped run the American Swedish Institute kitchen for a variety of bake sales and events. The original recipe makes 10 loaves. I've made a few changes to allow a 2-3 loaf batch so this recipe isn't exact to her specifications, but it still makes very nice luscious bread. Be sure to use cardamom pods that you crush yourself (use a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder reserved for spices).
Note: yesterday I accidently added twice the butter to this recipe. The bread, although when baked did not have its usual height, was rich and delicate. Some mistakes become a bonus!

Cardamom Bread
1 cup whole milk, warmed
1 egg plus 1/2 yolk (save white for brushing on dough)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons crushed cardamom
1 vanilla pod (my addition, completely optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast in several tablespoons warm water with 1 teaspoon sugar (rise until foamy)
3 - 4 cups flour
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
pearl sugar, almonds (optional)

Melt butter in warm milk (add vanilla pod seeds if desired).
Whip egg, yolk, sugar, salt and cardamom. 
Pour milk/butter and yeast mixtures into egg mixture; blend in flour; knead. 
Cover and let rise in greased bowl until double.

    First rise

Shape into 3 small or 2 large rounds.  Place in greased pan, cover and let rise until double.

    Second rise

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat egg white with a bit of water; brush on loaf tops.  Sprinkle with pearl sugar (and almonds if desired).  Bake 25 minutes.  Cool. 

    Daisy's Cardamom Bread


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