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Finnish Cardamom Braids Recipe

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
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. + rising Bake: 25 min. + cooling YIELD:32 servings

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  • 1. 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.
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. 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).

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 slice) equals 158 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 23 mg cholesterol, 152 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.