With my friend Susan's bridal shower being tomorrow and the wedding next month, I'm trying to be the more financially responsible version of myself. Quite truthfully a large chunk of my allowance money goes to...you guessed it. Food. It's quite embarrassing to admit, I must say. And sweet, doughy pastries that make up the 15% of my not-so-healthy-eating portion, might I add.
I am absolutely ecstatic for her wedding and in disbelief that it's so quickly coming to an end. This also means that I need to keep a tight seal on that wallet of mine, and my thoughts out of the gutter (pastry gutter to be exact) if I want to fit in the dress like the last time I tried it on. It's a long, elegant navy dress that hugs all the right parts (thankfully). So in light of honoring my sweet, doughy cravings without last minute alterations, I'm baking my own bread more often.
Bread making can seem like a dauntingly tedious task to some folks, but sometimes all that hard work pays off because there's something invaluable in knowing what actually goes into your food. While I am all for getting my sweet fix in an instant at the Torrance Bakery, I am equally approving of the laborious, yet forgotten approaches in life. Mixing, kneading, waiting, flouring, then kneading, and waiting some more, are so extremely satisfying to this old soul. "Pfffttt you,an old soul?" You might say. And I hear ya. But perhaps it's the notion that bread making uncannily resembles life in terms of waiting, changing, growing, regressing, and growing some more.
I earnestly hope and pray for Susan so that her marriage will be a blessed one filled with growing, reconciling, and ultimately loving at all costs. Just like I make bread at all costs. It doesn't always matter how frazzled I am because if I can stay up a few more hours just to see the dough rise and ponder about God's goodness, I'm one happy lady. :)
This bread doesn't require much work apart from my usual bread recipes. I do recommend, however, to always have powdered milk on hand if you want a fluffy and (super) tall rise. You can definitely use almond meal instead of hazelnut flour but I think the fragrant cardamom complements the rich, smoky taste of hazelnut just perfectly. Dried cherries aren't a must, but you certainly should add a dried fruit element to get this sweet and tangy combination.
It should be noted that I rolled the dough too loosely due to limited space so try to use a large surface area to work the dough. Rolling it from the outside in towards yourself should be enough to get the swirls of paste evenly layered, and as the photos suggest I rolled it in way too many directions so it looks a bit messy. But hey, it was unbelievably good.
This bread recipe is perfect for the family and healthy enough for breakfast or as dessert with condensed milk drizzled on top. I was also pretty surprised when out of curiosity I googled bread with cardamom filling--just last night. Turns out that there's actually a very similar bread originating from Finland. I guess there's always something to learn in the world of cooking!
Yeast Bread with a Sweet Hazelnut & Cardamom Paste
Makes one large loaf
Ingredients for dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3 tbsp powdered milk
1 cup warm water
1 pack dry active yeast
2 large eggs
3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt (or regular)
1 scrambled egg yolk for brushing
coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)
Ingredients for paste filling
1 1/4 cups hazelnut flour
1 cup confectioner sugar
5 tbsp butter, softened
2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup dried cherries (or other fruit)
Use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment if you have one to speed up the process. Start by dissolving powdered milk in warm water and follow by adding yeast. Let it proof for about 10 minutes. In the mixing bowl, mix together the flours and then add the milk+yeast mixture. Add eggs, butter, sugar, and knead with the dough hook at medium speed until you see the dough roughly coming together. Throw in the salt and knead at high speed until it's stretchy and soft, and if it's too sticky add a tbsp flour. Transfer to a lightly buttered large bowl and cover with a damp towel, placing it in a spot with no wind draft. Let it rise for about 35-40 minutes and turn oven to 375 F (191 C).
Meanwhile mix all the cardamom filling ingredients minus the dried cherries. Mix it until it becomes like a paste.
Roll out the dough on a large, floured surface (up to about 1/2 inch thick). Gently spread the paste on top and sprinkle with dried cherries. Grab the end that is opposite of you and somewhat tightly roll it in towards yourself. Place inside a loaf pan and make sure all ends are inside the pan. Brush with egg yolk and sprinkle coarse sugar on top. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden. After cooling down completely, store in airtight container.