Orange Cardamom Braid is a delicious sweet bread perfect for holiday mornings or to bake and share with your friends and neighbors.
This is a sponsored post in partnership with Red Star Yeast. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Is there anything better than the smell of fresh baked bread? I really don’t think there is. I love making homemade breads for the holidays and this Orange Cardamom Braid is a delicious treat that everyone is sure to love.
I made two braided loaves of this Orange Cardamom bread and they turned out so pretty. It was my first attempt at a braided bread and it was actually much easier than I thought it would be. I am sharing step- by- step instructions and you certainly don’t have to be a pro to give this one a try.
Orange Cardamom Braid
Bread baking can be quite intimidating but I promise if I can do it, you can do it! Impress your friends, family and neighbors with a beautiful Orange Cardamom Braid for the holidays this year.
Successful bread baking starts with quality ingredients. I depend on Red Star Platinum Yeast for all of my yeast doughs. It has dough enhancers just like the bakeries use and my bread turns out every time. I also recommend making sure your yeast has not expired. I have sabotaged myself more than once by using out of date yeast!
You will quickly get a feel for dough and become more comfortable with it. I like to knead my bread by hand but a good stand mixer works too. I generally only use my mixer when I have a really large batch or if it’s a really stiff dough. Kneading dough is my favorite stress reliever. Try it, it works!
I am much more comfortable baking yeast rolls than loaves. My Peach Pie Cinnamon Rolls and Cream Cheese Filled Brioche Sweet Rolls are always holiday favorites. I decided to go outside my comfort zone with this sweet bread and make it into a braided loaf for the holidays.
I have to admit this recipe took me a couple of tries and some teamwork from my husband but it was totally worth the effort. I see beautiful loaves on the Red Star Yeast facebook page and it instantly has me wanting to get in the kitchen to bake.
I added room temperature milk, melted butter, a bit of sugar and a couple of eggs to my big mixing bowl. I added the Red Star Yeast Platinum and give it a good stir with my dough whisk. If you don’t have a dough whisk, get one! It’s my favorite for making breads. I set it aside for about 5 minutes until the yeast started to bubble.
Next I add the flour, a bit at a time until the dough comes together. I pour it onto my floured board and knead it by hand for about 3 – 5 minutes or until its not sticky. I cover it and let it rise for a full hour.
I punch it down and roll it out over a bit of flour. If it doesn’t want to roll, just give it a couple of minutes to let the dough relax and try it again. Works like a charm.
Orange zest gives this braid a ton of flavor that is so bright and just perfect for the holidays.
I add the orange zest to the sugar and mix it together with my fingers. You can use a fork but it is really easier to mix it thoroughly with your fingers. I add in some ground cardamom to this mixture and it will be the filling for the braid.
Cardamom is one of the ingredients that gives Chai it’s amazing flavor. I have been wanting to try it out in a sweet roll for a while now and it pairs perfectly with the orange. The flavor is subtle and gives this bread an amazing depth of flavor.
After rolling the dough, I spread it lightly with butter. I sprinkle over the orange zest, sugar and cardamom mixture and press it slightly to spread it evenly and help it adhere to the dough. I roll it up from the long side and pinch the edge to seal. I cut it into 3 strands, through the layers. You can leave one end attached or cut it completely.
I carefully braided the strands together, twisting the layers outward as I braided it. Keep in mind, this doesn’t have to be perfect. Tuck the ends together or leave them loose for a more rustic look.
My braid ended up longer than my baking pan, so I cut it in half and placed them on a lined baking sheet. I recommend using parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet because the sugar will stick to the pan.
I give it a brush with an egg wash and let it rest while the oven preheats.
It comes out of the oven just smelling all kinds of amazing and so gorgeous! Serve it warm or at room temperature. It will keep for up to 3 days but is not likely to last that long. I’m thinking I make another batch just for French toast, because how could that be anything short of incredible?
Of course you could slice this dough into classic sweet rolls and bake that way too. It bakes up really soft and you just can’t go wrong.
If you are serving for a holiday brunch, you can garnish with fresh cranberries and fresh orange slices. Or wrap it up in plastic wrap and tie it up with a pretty ribbon for your friends and family for a delicious homemade holiday gift.
The weeks leading up to the holidays are beyond hectic. I love make ahead breads like this Orange Cardamon Braid that make Christmas morning really simple. I love to drink my coffee, nibble on something sweet and watch the kids opening their presents. The day is very relaxing and enjoyable.
I hope you will give this Orange Cardamom a try and let me know what you are baking for the holidays!
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