This recipe is so easy - even I can do it! I never really make bread, something about working with yeast.. Freaks me out a bit. But this recipe is so easy that I can overcome the fear of yeast. It's perfect for a snowy day activity, or in the case today .. A rainy day - I like anything that has the oven on a bit to keep our house cozy!
2/3 cup butter
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cardamom
6 1/4 cups flour
Melt butter add milk and heat to 115 degrees. Put yeast in the bottom of a large bowl and add a little of the milk mixture and stir until dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients, but only 3 1/4 cups of the flour. Knead the dough until its shiny and elastic. Knead in the remaining flour by hand (save some if the flour for later). Knead until dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl. Sprinkle with flour and cover with a cloth and let rise for 30-40 minutes.
Knead the dough again on a lightly floured surface until it's smith and elastic. Cut into three equal parts, then divide each piece into three pieces and roll/knead into smooth even ropes and braid them. Place the braid with enough room to double in size on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and covered with cloth and let rise until it's doubled in size (about 40 minutes).
Brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle with almonds and pearl sugar and bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.