Braid Bread

I finally got to the grocery store, which is the perfect way to start the new year.  My December performance schedule had me scrounging around for eats and consuming too much sugar.  This is not at all in line with having the energy I need and want, to do the work I need and want.

I baked far less this past holiday season than in years past; this year I chose to make Swedish Cardamom Bread because it seemed to be a safe bet when considering everyone’s dietary needs.

In one loaf I folded raisins, and the other, chocolate chips.  I used whole wheat pastry flour for the first batch.  Above is the second batch — I had only about 3 cups of WW pastry flour and didn’t want to add white.  So I ground up about 2 + cups of oats and added that to the flour, which resulted in a wonderfully nubbly texture.  I think if I use oats again, I will let them sit in the liquid mixture a little longer before incorporating them into the dry mix.

I have not worked with cardamom before, and read that it quickly loses its intensity once ground.  I did purchase ground cardamom from the bulk spice section at Whole Foods and am happy to report the whole kitchen adopted this scent for a few days.  I must have got a fresh batch.

I wrapped these up in brown paper and burgundy or brown yarn, and presented them with locally made apple butter and jam and several packets of Good Earth Original tea — a powerful blend.  Preparing this type of gift was actually fun, and made me realize how long it has been since I created a braid of anything.  So simple and satisfying.

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