Beatrice Ojakangas

Recipes from the Scandinavian Chef

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Location: Duluth, Minnesota, United States


Scandinavian Cardamom Braid (Refrigerator Method)

Scandinavian Cardamom Braid (Refrigerator Method)

A sweet plaited cardamom flavored bread is a classic in all of Scandinavia and is always found both on the breakfast and the coffee “tables”. It is rich with eggs and butter giving it a tender crumb and a thin, golden crust. I bake this bread often, but have simplified the method to save time and effort, and to eliminate tedious kneading, I chill the dough after mixing. The chilled dough is easy to handle, making it simple to shape into braids. For the best flavor I recommend using freshly crushed cardamom seeds. Ground cardamom, regardless of the brand loses so much flavor you can hardly taste it in the finished bread.

2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup warm water, 105*F. to 115*F.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon freshly crushed cardamom seeds
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand about 5 minutes or until the yeast foams. Whisk in the butter, dry milk, cardamom, sugar, eggs, and salt.

Stir in flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough is very stiff, but still moist (depending on the time of year and humidity, the amount of flour you will need will vary.)

Cover and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.

Divide chilled dough into 2 parts. Divide each of the parts into 3 parts. Shape each part into a rope about 30 inches long. Braid three ropes at a time together to make 2 loaves. Place the two loaves on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover and let rise until puffy, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (325 degrees F. for convection oven). Brush loaves with a mixture of egg and milk and sprinkle with sliced almonds or pearl sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.

Tips for Preparing ahead:

The nature of this bread makes it a natural for “mixing up ahead of time”, as it needs to be stirred up and chilled at least for two hours. Once baked, the bread can be


Anonymous Shaun said...

Dear Beatrice - I am really glad to have found your blog. Tomorow I am actually planning on making the Cardamom Cream Cake from your great Scaninavian Feasts, which is incredibly comforting and exciting to read. I was researching the connection between cardamom (an Indian spice, as I understood) and Scandinavian bakery when I came across your blog. Your writing is a joy to read, wonderfully descriptive and heart-swelling texts before going to bed after a hard day of grappling political theory...ugh.

3:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I and my extended family have been making a similar Coffee Braid recipe for MANY years.... recently the recipe has been failing us... and this one turned out WONDERFULLY.... the largest loaves I have ever made.... very nice.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for simplifying the cardamom braid I have known as pulla since childhood. (Both of my grandmothers were Finnish immigrants who baked it weekly.) In childhood I learned to bake it by assisting my mother (as official cardamom pod huller and seed grinder). But rising time and shaping have made it a rare treat in recent years. Will pass this recipe on to my cousins who also bake pulla the old fashioned way. Kiitos!

11:38 PM  
Anonymous MC said...

Hi, Beatrice,
I own your Great Whole Grain Breads book which I love and I am so happy to have discovered your blog. I'd love to make the Cardamom Braid but, in your experience, do you think it might be possible to make a lighter version of it (with 1 egg instead of 3 and maybe almond oil or almond butter instead of butter)?. My husband has to watch his cholesterol, so unfortunately I cannot make it as it is.

3:50 PM  

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