Friday, December 23, 2016

Finnish Nissua!

This week past, I had an encounter with a secret Santa......My daughter and I were enjoying breakfast at the Columbiana Diner, along with several other patrons. On his way out the door, one fellow stopped to wish everyone else in the restaurant a Merry Christmas......shortly after his departure, the waitress asked for everyone's attention. She proceeded to announce that the man who had just left had paid everyone's bill!!!    What a surprising blessing to begin the day with! And what a truly merry display of the spirit of Christmas!! Everyone in the restaurant applauded and, in looking at the faces around me, I could see that all of our hearts were spoken to by this unexpected act of kindness. I could also see that we were all inspired to imitate this man, whether it would be in large or small ways. It wasn't about what we was the beautiful display of generosity and selflessness that awed us all. This Christmas, I wish you eyes to see the generosity and selflessness that was poured out to us that first Christmas so many years ago!! 

This beautiful Finnish Christmas bread (Nissua) is very simple -
super-soft in texture but not fussy......a lovely addition to any holiday celebration! I imagine it that any leftovers would make amazing toast, too.......I didn't have any leftovers, so I didn't get to try it toasted! Again, Merry, merry Christmas! 

Finnish Nissua!

½ Cup warm water
1 Tbsp./Packet Red Star Platinum Yeast
1 Cup milk
¼ Cup butter
½ Cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 large egg
½ tsp. cardamom
3 ¾ Cup unbleached bread flour

½ Cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp. vanilla
1-3 tsp. milk

Place warm water and yeast in EZ DOH bucket and stir to dissolve yeast. Heat milk, butter, sugar and salt together in a saucepan on low, until butter is melted. Let cool until just warm to the touch. Pour into EZ DOH bucket with yeast mixture. Stir in egg, ¾ Cup flour and cardamom. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Add remaining flour and EZ DOH-it for 2-3 minutes until the dough is smooth and soft and all ingredients are incorporated. Remove dough from bucket, spray bucket with cooking spray, “smooth” dough and replace in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.

At this point, the dough can be removed from the bucket and divided into 2 equal portions for two medium-sized loaves.  Divide each piece into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece out to about 12”, or long enough to braid. Connect the ropes at the top by pressing together and then tucking under the dough. Continue to braid the dough, then press together at the base and tuck under. Place the two braided loaves on a greased baking sheet, cover and let rise until almost doubled. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and brush with butter to soften crust. Cool on a wire rack. Mix drizzle ingredients and drizzle over the cooled loaf. Add sprinkles, if desired. 


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