This recipe is my version of a similar Finnish bread found in Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads.
aabbcc's Finnish Easter Bread
*3/4 cup cream, soy or dairy
*I cup unbleached bread flour
*2 teaspoons dry active yeast dissolved in
*1/4 cup warm water
Combine sponge ingredients in a large bowl. Beat until smooth. Cover and let sit for about an hour, or until the mixture is bubbly and risen.
Meanwhile, combine in a small saucepan:
*1/2 cup milk, soy or dairy
*6 cardamom pods, crushed [I use the flat side of my chef's knife]
*1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
*2 teaspoons grated orange rind
*1/4 cup sugar
*1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce or butter
*3/4 teaspoon salt
Bring the milk mixture to a simmer and then remove from heat and let steep while the sponge is rising.
When the sponge is ready, stir down. Remove the cardamom pods from the cooled milk, and add the milk to the sponge along with:
*I cup rye flour
*1/2 cup almond meal
*1/2 cup golden raisins
Stir well. Now add in about 1/2 cup increments:
*Approx. 2 cups unbleached bread flour - you might need a bit more or a bit less.
Knead the dough for at least five minutes. I add the above flour while kneading. This way, I can guage just how much I need and won't add too much. This dough is very soft and lovely [and smells incredible!].
Place the kneaded dough in a clean bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm spot for about 1-1 1/2 hours.
Punch down. Shape into a smooth oval loaf and place in a well-greased bread tin. Cover again and let sit for 45 minutes to an hour.
Bake in a preheated 350F oven for approx. 1 hour. When it is completely baked, it will fall easily from the tin and will sound hollow when rapped on the bottom. Let cool on a rack before slicing.
Makes 1 very large loaf.