Orange Cardamom Bread
Makes 1 large loaf, or 2 regular size loaves
5 1/4 cups white bread flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons, rounded, instant yeast (my favorite is SAF Instant Yeast)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 3/4 cups warm water (120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons finely shredded orange zest
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and cardamom together in the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add the water, orange juice, oil, and orange zest and mix for 1 minute at medium-high speed, then check the consistency of the dough. The dough should be quite sticky. If it is too dry, add a couple tablespoons more water.
3. Mix for 5 minutes at medium speed. (Do not add any additional flour after the dough has finished mixing.)
4. Spray a smooth kneading surface with cooking spray and turn the dough out on to the surface. Divide the dough into three equal portions. Knead each portion briefly until it has a smooth even consistency (this will only take several turns of the dough to accomplish), and then roll the pieces out into three strands of the same length and braid them together. Place the braid on a greased baking sheet, cover with a large dish towel, and let rise for 25 minutes.
5. Bake the braid in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool before slicing.