Prep For Dough
(I do the following the day before): 1)
Weigh, then sift the flour into a small mixing bowl. Add yeast, salt sugar to it, then whisk to combine. Cover and set aside on counter. 2)
Weigh sour cream in prep bowl, cover, set aside in fridge. 3)
Beat the egg and yolk for the dough in a prep bowl, cover and set aside in fridge. 4)
Set leftover egg white in a small bowl in the fridge for later. 5)
Weigh butter in prep bowl and set aside on counter. 6)
Weigh water in prep bowl. Set aside on counter.
Prep For Filling
(I also do the day before): A)
Grind the walnuts and set aside covered in fridge. B)
Soak raisins in hot water for about 5 to 10 minutes, drain, then mince in a meat grinder with 4.5 mm blade (or chop very fine with a knife). Cover and set aside in fridge.
Baking Day Prep: 1)
Remove all the set-aside ingredients from fridge to bring to room temperature. 2)
Remove the 2 eggs for the filling from fridge to come to room temp. 3)
Prepare work surface. When making the bigger 10 x 5 loaf, I drape a clean bed-sheet over my card table and secure it taught in place at each corner leg with cooking twine. Then I sprinkle it lightly with flour......when I made the mini-loafs yesterday, I just used my naked (no cloth) marble pastry slab instead, lightly floured. It actually worked great, and it was just the right size for the job, too (16" x 20").
Dough Ingredient Instructions: A)
Melt the butter and cool to lukewarm. B)
Whisk all the liquid ingredients for the dough together in a bowl (including the melted butter), then pour them into the flour mixture and stir to fully combine with a Danish dough whisk or large spoon. C)
Dough will be too sticky to knead by hand without being tempted to add too much flour, so machine-knead the dough for about 12 minutes or until it pulls away nicely from the bowl. It will be soft and floppy when handled. D)
As best you can, form dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until double (about 1.5 to 2 hours). As dough is rising, prep the filling:
For The Filling
Separate the 2 now room temp. eggs, placing the whites in a small mixing bowl, and placing the yolks in a small prep bowl, covered and set aside on counter. 2)
Beat egg whites with electric mixer until stiff peaks form (should take about 3 minutes or so), set aside; 3)
Whisk the egg yolks and set aside; 4)
Combine the cream, caster sugar, honey and vanilla in a small pot and heat & stir just until smooth and cohesive, then remove from heat and transfer into a large mixing bowl. 5)
Whisk in the cinnamon, cardamom and ground raisins. 6)
Stir in the finely ground walnuts 7)
If/When cooled down enough, add the beaten egg yolks; 8 )
Lastly, fold in the beaten egg whites. The mixture should be thick, but easily spreadable- somewhat like thick, pourable cupcake batter. If it’s too stiff, it may tear the dough, so add more cream to it until it’s just right. Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, back to the dough
If making a 10 x 5 loaf: When dough has doubled, gently deflate it, place it on the floured sheet, and roll out to 21” wide. Then roll it lengthwise with your pin, and also stretch it out with your fingertips placed underneath the middle of the dough, working outwards towards the edges to as long as you are able to lengthwise (without tearing it) in order to end up with a paper-thin thickness. It should be so thin/transparent that you can see the printed words on a page or recipe card through it. If the dough fights back at any time as you are rolling/stretching it, lightly cover with plastic wrap, walk away for about 10 minutes so that it can rest, and then resume. You may have to do this more than once. Just remember to keep the width of the dough at 21”. The length can be as long as you need it to be. B)
When the dough is thin/transparent enough to see printed words through it, it’s time to spread on the filling. Using a spoon, strategically place dollops of the filling all over the surface of dough. This will help you to be able to spread the filling out more easily and evenly. C)
Using a cake/frosting spreader (which I've found to work the best for this task), gently and evenly spread the filling out to within 1/2” of the edges. D)
Now it’s time to roll the dough up. We will be rolling up each of the short 21” ends towards the center of the dough so that the 2 rolled-up coils meet each other halfway. To begin, untie all the twine holding the sheet in place. E)
Starting at one of the 21” ends, lift the sheet up on that side to aid you in rolling up the dough towards the center, pricking the dough intermittently along the length of the coil with a chopstick as you roll (to discourage air pockets). Once you reach the center, stop, then do the same to the other 21” end. F)
Once the 2 coils have met in the middle, pinch either of the open ends of the coils to seal, then fold up each of the coiled ends toward each other at the center so that they slightly overlap each other to form a 10” log. G)
Pinch any open ends sealed, then gently flip the dough over and place into a greased 10” x 5” bread pan to proof, lightly covered, for 1 hour. H)
Preheat the oven to 350F while the bread is proofing.
Once proofed, brush the top of the loaf with the set-aside egg white (beaten) and bake at 350F for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325F, tenting the loaf with foil if need be in order to prevent the top from burning, and cook another 30 minutes. The tops should be nicely brown when done, but not burnt. If the coloring is too light, you can always bake it for a few more minutes un-tented until it has developed a richer color. 2)
When nicely brown, remove pan from the oven and place it on a cooling rack (don’t remove it from the pan yet). 3)
Brush the top of the loaf with butter, and then let the loaf completely cool inside the pan. Whatever you do, do not remove the bread from the pan until it has completely cooled
, because the bread will fall apart under it’s own weight when still warm from the oven (ask me how I know!) 4)
Once completely cool, remove from the pan and enjoy. 5)
The bread freezes nicely and can be frozen for months. Just wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then tightly wrap over that with foil before putting in the freezer.
Instructions of mini-loaves to follow in next post.....