Paasiaisleipa (Finnish Easter Bread)
Breads Baking Recipes Ingrients & Directions SERVINGS SOURCE: GOURMET MAGAZINE, AP Finnish housewives turn out wholesome breads as agilely as they weave vibrant rya rugs. Their holiday loaf is traditionally baked in a milk pail:
It symbolizes the abundance of dairy foods and the birth offspring calves. Chewy with filberts and raisins, the bread appear slice an overgrown mushroom when turned out of its pan. First-of-the-season strawberries, sweet butter, and cheeses such as Camembert, Brie, and Gruyere are ideal accompaniments.
In a small bowl proof 2 envelopes active dry yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water with 1 teaspoon sugar for 10 minutes. In a large bowl combine 1 1/2sticks or 3/4 cup butter, softened and cut into bits, 3/4 cup sugar,2 teaspoons each of grated lemon and orange rind, and 1 teaspoon each of salt and ground cardamom.
Stir 2 cups scalded milk into the butter mixture and let the mixture cool until it is lukewarm. Stir in the yeast mixture and 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten. Gradually beat in 4cups flour, or enough to make a soft dough, and beat the dough for 5minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneading about 3 cups flour for 10 minutes, or until the dough is smoot hand satiny.
Form the dough into a ball, put it into a buttered bowl, turning it to coat it with the butter, and let it rise in a warm place, covered, for 1 1/2 hours, or until it is double in bulk. Punch down the dough, press in 3/4 cup each of raisins and chopped filberts or almonds, and lightly knead the dough to just incorporate them.
Form the dough into a ball and put it into a buttered round 4-quartbaking dish. Butter the top lightly and let the dough rise in a warm place, covered, for 45 minutes, or until it is double in bulk. Bake the bread in a preheated moderately slow oven (325-F.) for 1 hour, or until it is browned and sounds hollow when it is tapped.
Let the bread cool in the dish on a rack and turn it out. In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted, 1 1/2 teaspoons milk, and 1 or 2 drops of almond extract, or to taste, and spread the glaze over the bread, letting it drizzle down the sides. Cut the bread into quarters and then into crosswise slices.Yields1 loaf