Cardamom Bread by KC Quaretti

Swedish Cardamom Bread has been a Christmas tradition in my family for generations. My grandmother always had plenty on hand for us to have with a cup of coffee; yes coffee! Looking back, the coffee was mostly milk and sugar, but at the time I felt so grown up to be having coffee and cardamom bread for Christmas morning! After my grandmother (mormor in Swedish) passed on I found her hand written recipe between the pages of an old cook book and decided to try making it for Christmas morning. It wasn’t quite like hers and then I remembered she had been making this bread for so long she eyeballed many of the ingredients. After a couple of tries, it turned out just right! Today I still make Mormor’s Swedish Cardamom Bread for my family every Christmas and you can bet that when I have grandchildren, I’ll be serving it to them along with a cup of coffee! Thank you Mormor for all of those wonderful Christmas mornings and for giving me such beautiful loving memories! I miss you!

Ingredients for the Bread:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2-pkg quick rising yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water with a pinch of sugar (My Grandmother used the regular yeast but I prefer the rapid rise to save a bit of time)
  • About 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom

Ingredients for the Filling:

  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 cup golden raisins (optional)
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Ingredients for the Egg glaze:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tbsp cream

Ingredients for the Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp water


1. Heat milk on medium heat to scalding. (Do not boil) Stir in the butter and sugar until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour into a mixing bowl and cool to luke warm. Mix in egg and then yeast mixture.

2. Blend in salt and cardamom. Add 2 cups of the flour. Then gradually add more flour until a soft dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

3. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead dough for 7 to 10 minutes until smooth. I do this step in food processor with dough hook for 10 minutes. The dough should remain soft, so do not add too much flour.

4. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 45 minutes to an hour; the dough should have doubled in size. At this point you can make simple braided bread. Punch down the dough, divide in half, and then divide each half into 3 equal parts. Roll the dough pieces into ropes, braid them, and tuck the ends under. This is the way my daughter Marina likes it best!