Every Finn I know often serves Nissua, a sweet bread with cardamom. I believe my mom's recipe beats all others, hands down! Her bread is soft and fluffy while others can be dry . No matter how many Nissua braids she makes for a popular annual craft fair, they're all gone by noon!—Anne Heinonen, Howell, Michigan
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 2 cups warm milk (110° to 115°)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 eggs
- 7 to 8 cups all-purpose flour
- In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, sugar, butter, salt, cardamom, eggs and 3 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Divide each half into thirds. Shape each piece into a 13-in. rope. Place three ropes on a greased baking sheet. Braid ropes; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Repeat. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).
Originally published as Finnish Cardamom Braids in Taste of Home October/November 2000, p49
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