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Swedish Braided Bread

This image courtesy of Kathryn Barnard

This soft, slightly sweet bread will fill your home with a warming cardamom aroma. The bread is a joy to make and even more so to taste. Braided breads are also so much fun to form. Children love to engage in baking and cooking, and helping braid dough is a delight for their senses. I often set a bit of dough aside so that my daughter can shape and form her own little braid to bake. Note that forming the loaf works out most smoothly if you shape and braid the dough directly on the sheet pan. An icing to top the bread is extra decadent should you wish for a sweeter, more festive bread experience (but it is certainly not a necessity): Drizzle the hot baked braid with a simple glaze made of sifted powdered evaporated cane juice whisked with a smidgen of hot water and a drop or two of vanilla extract.

Cooking Methodbaking

CostModerate

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionFamily Get-together

Dietary Considerationegg-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Mealbreakfast, brunch, snack, tea

Taste and Texturechewy, spiced

Type of Dishbread

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • ¾ cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup garbanzo bean flour
  • ½ cup millet flour
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • ¼ cup sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) instant active dry yeast
  • 1cup room temperature filtered water
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons Sucanat

Instructions

  1. Soak the chia seeds in the 12 cup water for at least 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tapioca flour, brown rice flour, garbanzo bean flour, millet flour, almond meal, sorghum flour, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, and xanthan gum.

  3. In a separate large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), dissolve the yeast in the room temperature water. Add the canola oil and Sucanat. Just as the yeast begins to foam and feed on the Sucanat, about 3 minutes, add the combined dry ingredients and the chia seeds with their soaking liquid. Combine well to the point that you have a lovely, pliable bread dough. If you are using a stand mixer, insert the paddle attachment and pulse on low speed. If you prefer to use your arm and a wooden spoon, by all means enjoy this slightly slower but very effective way of mixing your bread dough!

  4. On a work surface generously dusted with brown rice flour, turn out the dough and gently divide into 3 equal pieces. Begin rolling out each piece on the prepared work surface, then transfer ropes-in-progress onto baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper and dusted with brown rice flour. Keep rolling until finished length of each rope measures 12 inches.

  5. To braid the ropes together, approach the dough as you would hair. With 3 ropes next to each other on the sheet pan, hold the 2 outer sections, with the left rope in your left hand and the right rope in your right hand; the center rope will be resting on the sheet pan. Lift the left rope over the center rope and set it down so it is between the right rope and the center rope. Then pick up the old center section with your left hand and pull it to the left, creating more space between the ropes for the next move. Now, bring the right section over the center. Repeat the process, alternating sides, until the entire length of bread is braided. Press the ends of the strands together and tuck each end slightly under the loaf. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, until golden brown and crusty.

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