Cardamom + Brown Butter Swirl Loaf


 Prep Time : 30 + 20 Minutes | Cook Time : 50 Minutes | Total Time : 4 Hours | Difficulty : Moderate

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Hello my lovelies! If you were looking for New Year smoothie bowls or things with kale in them, move along. That’s not how we roll. It’s been a bit grey here this week. Distinctly un-summery until today. Something warm and spiced and comforting was in order. No reason why it can’t be elegant too. This bread falls squarely into the category of ‘looks really fancy and impressive but isn’t that hard to make’. Can you roll things out with a rolling pin? Of course you can. Can you roll it up like a sausage? No problems. Do you remember how to plait? Hell yeah. Then you can make this loaf. This fluffy, buttery, golden, spiced loaf. It takes a bit of time for sure. But when the smell fills the house as it bakes, you’ll know it was worth it.

Up first is the filling. In a small saucepan melt the butter. Bring it to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes until it foams and starts to darken slightly. Add the spices and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

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Warm the milk to just above blood temperature. When you stick you finger in, it will feel warm but not hot. Sprinkle over the yeast and leave until it starts to fluff. It will take about 10 minutes.

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While that’s happening, measure out the flours, salt and sugar. Mix them together.

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When the yeast is ready tip it all into the dry ingredients.

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Mix to a dough and knead until elastic. In a mixer this will take about 5 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes by hand. Add half the butter and continue to mix. For instructions on incorporating the butter by hand refer to this post. It will go all lumpy and sticky before it starts to come together.

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Add the rest of the butter and mix/knead until a smooth glossy dough forms.

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Pop the dough into a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Leave in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

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Tip the dough out onto the bench and divide into three pieces.

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Roll each piece into a rectangle about 20cm by 30cm – the size of a sheet of A4 paper.

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Retrieve your filling mixture. If it’s set too much to spread microwave it for 20-30 seconds until its soft. Spread 1/3 of mixture onto each rectangle of dough, leaving a 1 inch border on one of the long sides.

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Roll each piece into a tight sausage. Split each sausage in half, leaving an un-cut bit at the top holding it together.

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Open the ‘legs’ out and twist them around each other to make three ropes.

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Join the ropes at the top – pin them together with a skewer to help hold them together.

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Braid the ropes together in a simple three-strand plait.

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Tuck the ends under and place the loaf into a large loaf pan.

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Leave the loaf in a warm place until doubled in size again. While the loaf is rising heat the oven to 190C (375F). When the loaf is risen you can brush it with a little beaten egg if you like. It will brown a lot more.

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Place the loaf pan on a rimmed baking sheet or swiss roll pan to bake. There will be a little leakage of melted butter over the top of the loaf pan. Nobody wants to be frantically wiping up melted butter from the bottom of their oven while trying to bake a loaf. Or so I hear… Bake for 45-50 minutes. Keep a piece of tinfoil nearby to cover the top if it is browning quickly. Resist the urge to take it out too soon as it can fall.

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Leave the loaf to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely. Leave to cool before slicing if you can. It’s bloody good warm though.

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If there is any left in a couple of days then try toasting slices of it to give it a warm crunchy makeover.

Cardamom + Brown Butter Swirl Loaf


Prep Time : 30 + 20 mins | Cook Time : 50 mins | Total Time : 4 hours | Difficulty : Moderate | Makes : 1 large loaf

Fluffy brioche dough marbled with brown butter and spice. 

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 7 tablespoons (100 grams) butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) caster/superfine sugar

For the dough:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups (350 ml) whole milk
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons active dried yeast
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (250 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (250 grams) bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 7 tablespoons (100 grams) soft butter, diced

– If using metric cups, reduce volume measures by 1 tablespoon for every cup of dry or liquid ingredients – 

Equipment:

  • Standing mixer (kneading and mixing can be done by hand)
  • Large (1 kg/2 pound) loaf pan
  • Rolling pin
  • Small saucepan

Directions:

In a small saucepan melt the butter. Bring it to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes until it foams and starts to darken slightly. Add the spices and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

Warm the milk to just above blood temperature. When you stick you finger in, it will feel warm but not hot. Sprinkle over the yeast and leave until it starts to fluff. It will take about 10 minutes.

While that’s happening, measure out the flours, salt and sugar. Mix them together. When the yeast is ready tip it all into the dry ingredients.

Mix to a dough and knead until elastic. In a mixer this will take about 5 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes by hand.

Add half the butter and continue to mix. For instructions on incorporating the butter by hand refer to this post. It will go all lumpy and sticky before it starts to come together. Add the rest of the butter and mix/knead until a smooth glossy dough forms.

Pop the dough into a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Leave in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Tip the dough out onto the bench and divide into three pieces. Roll each piece into a rectangle about 20cm by 30cm – the size of a sheet of A4 paper.

Retrieve your filling mixture. If it’s set too much to spread microwave it for 20-30 seconds until its soft. Spread 1/3 of mixture onto each rectangle of dough, leaving a 1 inch border on one of the long sides.

Roll each piece into a tight sausage. Split each sausage in half, leaving an un-cut bit at the top holding it together. Open the ‘legs’ out and twist them around each other to make three ropes.

Join the ropes at the top – pin them together with a skewer to help hold them together. Braid the ropes together in a simple three-strand plait. Tuck the ends under and place the loaf into a large loaf pan.

Leave the loaf in a warm place until doubled in size again. While the loaf is rising heat the oven to 190C (375F). When the loaf is risen you can brush it with a little beaten egg if you like. It will brown a lot more.

Place the loaf pan on a rimmed baking sheet or swiss roll pan to bake. There will be a little leakage of melted butter over the top of the loaf pan. Nobody wants to be frantically wiping up melted butter from the bottom of their oven while trying to bake a loaf. Or so I hear… Bake for 45-50 minutes. Keep a piece of tinfoil nearby to cover the top if it is browning quickly. Resist the urge to take it out too soon as it can fall.

Leave the loaf to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

Leave to cool before slicing if you can. It’s bloody good warm though.

Cook’s Notes:

  • Mix up the spices to your taste, add a little ginger or five-spice for a flavour twist
  • Brushing this loaf with beaten egg will give this loaf a lovely dark finish, just keep an eye on browning and cover with foil partway through cooking if necessary
  • If you want to go overboard you can drizzle this loaf with a glaze made with 1/4 cup of icing sugar and a little lemon juice

 – This loaf will keep at room temperature, wrapped airtight for 3 days. As time goes by try toasting slices for a warm treat – 

© 2016 The Winsome Baker. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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