1 pkg. Active dry yeast
4 Hard cooked Eggs, colored (optional)
¼ Cup Water, tepid (80° to 90 ° F)
2 ½ Tbsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Cardamom
½ Stick (2 oz.) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
½ Cup Whole Milk
½ Tbsp. Honey
1 ¼ tsp. Salt
2 Eggs, large
2 Tbsp. Blood Orange Olive Oil
3 ¼ Cups (approximately) All-purpose or Bread Flour
Vanilla Bean Sugar
Directions: In medium bowl, whisk together yeast, water and a pinch of the sugar (save the rest for a little later) and cardamom. Let rest for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Cut the butter into small pieces and toss into a small saucepan with the milk; heat until the milk is warm to the touch and the butter has melted. Pour the butter mixture into a large bowl and add the remaining sugar, honey, and salt, stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar and salt. Let cool to no warmer than 70° F.
Add yeast mixture to milk mixture, along with eggs, and stir with a wooden spoon to mix. Stir vigorously and add flour ½ Cup at a time. Once the dough clings together and forms a shaggy dough, turn dough onto a floured board and knead, adding flour if necessary. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature for an hour or so or place in the refrigerator overnight.
Remove dough from bowl and without kneading, cut the dough into four even pieces. Take each piece and cut it into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a 6-7 inch rope. Braid all 3 ropes together and bend both ends of the braided ropes to connect at the ends, forming a circle. Place on a papered sheet pan. Brush dough with egg wash and place hard cooked egg in the middle of the braid. Repeat with remaining braids.
Set aside until dough doubles in size, Re-egg wash gently and sprinkle with Vanilla Bean Sugar and non-pareils if using. Bake bread in a pre-heated 375 degree oven until golden brown.