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Latvian Saffron Bread (Klingery)





2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
Grated rind of one lemon
1 tsp. salt
4 saffron fibres
1/4 tsp. cardamom (ground)
1/2 cup flour
2 env. dried yeast (2 Tbsp.)
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1 lb. butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 egg yolk
9-1/2 cup sifted flour
2-1/2 cup raisins
1 egg white
1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds
Powdered sugar


Heat milk to boiling point, remove from heat, add sugar, lemon rind and salt. Stir until sugar dissolves and milk cools a little. Soak saffron in 1 tablespoon of the warm milk for 5 minutes and then strain into the rest of the warm milk. Add 1/2 cup of flour and cardamom and beat until well mixed.

DISSOLVE yeast in warm water and stir in sugar. When yeast becomes active, add it to milk mixture and stir well.

Cream butter in a large bowl and gradually beat in sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time, keeping the mixture fluffy, then beat in egg yolk.

Add milk and yeast mixture to butter mixture and combine. Gradually add flour,(reserving 2 tbsp.,) add raisins and mix well. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour on dough and cover bowl with plastic wrap or waxed paper, sealing as tightly as possible.

Refrigerate dough for 6-12 hours.

Remove bowl from refrigerator and turn dough out on to a floured board. Wrap 1/3 of the dough in foil and freeze for future use. Knead remaining dough until pliable.

Shape by hand into a long roll and twist this into a figure 8 or pretzel shape. Lay bread on center of a large greased baking pan.

Whisk egg white until foamy, paint upper surface of loaf with egg white and sprinkle with almonds. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 1 to 1 1/2 ours at room temperature or until dough has nearly doubled.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Put loaf on center rack of oven allowing plenty of room for bread to rise. Bake for 35 to 50 minutes. Test that dough is cooked by inserting a skewer, making sure it comes out clean. Crust should be golden brown. Before serving, dust with powdered sugar. Serve as an accompaniment with dessert or butter slices and serve as a sweet bread.

Author's Comments

Traditionally this almond-covered raisin bread is served on birthdays but it may be served on any day that provides an excuse. The amounts given for the dough will yield enough to make one large loaf and two smaller ones; it freezes very well for future use.

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