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
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
1. Bring milk and butter to room temperature.
2. 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).
3. Beat in the remaining ingredients except the flour and the almonds.
4. Mix in the flour till you have a smooth and elastic dough. Cover well with plastic film and place in fridge overnight.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Brush with the beaten yolk (let down with a little milk), then scatter over the almonds and a good pinch of the ground cardamom.
8. 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.
9. Remove from the oven and dredge generously with the icing sugar.