Sunday, December 23, 2012

Scandinavian Christmas: Day 11

Welcome to Day 11 of Scandinavian Christmas! Today we will be hearing from my Dad! My Dad and Mom live in Michigan and this Christmas Ryan and I get to spend a few days at home with them. Every year, my Dad bakes numerous loaves of Swedish breads - it wouldn't be Christmas without them! He always told me when I was little that, "If you can read, you can cook," which is kind of ironic because he doesn't do much cooking. My Dad and Mom both are responsible for instilling my love of all things Scandinavian, and I am so glad he is going to share his great recipe for cardamom bread with you all today!

Swedish Cardamom Bread 

Hi everyone, I'm Kathryn's Dad, Mark.  I'm 50% Swedish, and started a tradition of making Swedish rye bread and cardamom bread at Christmas time. These recipes have been passed on from my grandmother, to my mother, and to me. When Kathryn and her sisters were little, they always liked to "help" knead the dough. Many good times were had while baking this recipe together. I hope you all enjoy the cardamom bread.

2 cups milk
1 stick butter
1 tsp salt
8 cups flour
1 cup + 2 Tbs sugar
2 eggs + 2 yolks
1 Tbs ground cardamom, ground fresh
2 Tbs yeast + 1/4 cup warm water
cinnamon sugar for dusting

First, scald the milk, butter, sugar, and salt.  Cool to lukewarm.

Beat the eggs with cardamom.

Dissolve yeast + 1/4 cup lukewarm water and sprinkle with sugar to activate yeast.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Add eggs/cardamom and yeast to the milk mixture. 

Stir in 6 cups of flour and beat until smooth. Turn out on floured board.

Gently knead in remaining 2 cups of flour.  Place in greased bowl.

Cover with a towel and let rise until double.

After doubled, turn out on a floured board and roll out.  Divide dough into 3 parts.

Cut each section into 3 or 4 ropes and braid together.

I usually do a 4-strand braid.

Once braided, brush tops with milk and dust with cinnamon sugar.

Place each loaf side by side in a greased lasagna pan.  Let rise again until doubled.  Reapply cinnamon sugar dusting.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 25 minutes.  Makes 3 large loaves.

God Jul!

Thanks, Dad! Come back tomorrow for Day 12 of the series!


  1. You have had so many great things in this series of posts. This one is near and dear to my heart, as I will be making my Grandma's version of this recipe tomorrow. Hers is studded with citron and raisins, but the rest of the recipe is about the same as this one. (Her recipe can be found at: Grandma was 1/2 Swedish and 1/2 Norwegian, so we call it Jule Kaga at our house, and it just is not Christmas without it!

    God Jul!


  2. What a perfect addition to Scandinavian Christmas! Thank you, Mark, for sharing your recipe and instructions. I usually make mine as buns - but now I just HAVE to try a braid! So pretty and festive.

    Enjoy every minute of your family time together. God Jul to all.

  3. I am of Finnish descent and this is similar to pulla - minus the cinnamon. We put white sugar and sliced almonds on top after it's brushed with some beaten egg.

  4. how fun to have a post from your dad !

  5. Lovely photo of you and your father. I have sampled this bread before, it is delicious, thank you for sharing this recipe. God Jul!

  6. I hate to admit it, but I used to make excuses to go to your house around Christmastime in the hope that I would get a nice warm slice of this bread!