Latvian Christmas yellow bread
- 400ml/15fl oz full fat milk
- 675g/1¼lb plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 75g/3oz unsalted butter
- 75g/3oz caster sugar
- 80g/3¼oz sultanas
- 2 sachets of dried yeast
- 5g/¼oz saffron, ground
- 2 medium eggs
- fine zest of ½ lemon
- 50g/2oz nibbed or chopped almonds
- beaten egg yolks to glaze
- cardamom, freshly ground
- icing sugar to dredge
Bring milk and butter to room temperature.
Dissolve the yeast in half of the milk with 5g/1 tsp of the weighed sugar, leave in a warm place to foam (should take about 15 minutes).
Beat in the remaining ingredients except the flour and the almonds.
Mix in the flour till you have a smooth and elastic dough. Cover well with plastic film and place in fridge overnight.
Remove from the fridge and divide the dough into three. Knock back, on a lightly floured board, and roll into even lengths, a few feet long.
Plait the dough and pinch the ends to seal. Form into a ring and place on baking parchment on a tray, cover lightly with plastic film and prove till double in size.
Brush with the beaten yolk (let down with a little milk), then scatter over the almonds and a good pinch of the ground cardamom.
Place in the oven which has been preheated to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and bake for about 30 minutes till golden. When the base is tapped and sounds hollow, the loaf is done.
Remove from the oven and dredge generously with the icing sugar.