Sometimes in Vancouver it rains. Some might say that most of the time it rains but I’m feeling optimistic so I’m going to say sometimes.
Sometimes in Canada it gets bloody freezing. That doesn’t happen much in Vancity, but it has this deep humid chill that gets into your bones. It’s a wet cold that creeps into your shoes, and blows down your neck, and sneaks behind your ears.
Sometimes around here you wake up and think “I can’t possibly go outside, it is to cold, what can do to justify just not leaving the house.”
Sometimes, you need to stop feeling guilty and just make Finnish Cardamon Bread.
You need to have your whole house smell like rising bread, and you need to feel that comforting squish of yeasted dough between your fingers, and you need to sprinkle cardamon on it, which seems at first a wee bit crazy, but very quickly becomes the best idea you’ve had all day.
Sometimes you just need to let it rain, you need to make a strong cup of tea, and you need to eat Finnish cardamon bread.
And you need to be happy.
Finnish Cardamon Bread
Adapted from Pure Vegetarian By Lakshmi
2 cups Lukewarm water
1 1/2 tsp Dry Yeast
1 cup Sugar
1 tbsp Cardamon, ground
5-6 cups AP Flour
1 cup Butter
Brown sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling
In a small bowl mix together the water, yeast and a pinch of the sugar.
Let this get foamy on the top- that’s how you know your yeast is still alive. If after about 5 minutes you see no movement start over. Make sure the water is about the temperature of your hand- much hotter and you’ll kill it, much colder, and you’ll make it dormant.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, OR in a food processor with the dough attachment, OR in a bowl with some serious arm muscles, put the remaining sugar, salt, cardamon and flour and mix in the yeast mixture.
Continue kneading the dough until it all comes together, and when you stretch a small piece of it, it gets thin enough to see light through.
Shape it into a ball, put back in the bowl and cover it. Wait until the dough has doubled in size, about an hour- an hour and a half.
Prepare a pan by covering it with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about a foot and a half by 3/4 of a foot.
Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon on top- use as much or as little as you want, I used about a cup and a half of sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon.
Roll the dough a long the long end so that you have a long thin roll.
You can either cut them into rounds and place them on a pan, or you can cut slices almost all the way through, on a diagaonal. Then flip every other slice to the other side side so that going left right left right and you can see all the pretty slices.
This is easier to do on the pan then on a board and then have to move it.
Cover the dough with a tea towel and wait until it has doubled in size again, another hour or so.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Bake your bread until it is golden brown.
Wait at least 15 minutes before getting into them! (Bread that is still hot is hard to digest!)