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Cardamom Bread

A braided Christmas tradition from Scandinavia.
I grew up with this from my Danish ancestors...imagine my delight to learn that my husband had grown up with an almost identical recipe--from his Finnish ancestors! While our recipes are the same, our methods of eating are different: the Danes frost it and put on maraschino cherries (as pictured) and then tear off chunks from the braid, while the Finns slice it, toast it, and eat it with butter. We all eat it strictly at Christmas--my family saves it for Christmas morning, but my husband's family enjoys it throughout the holiday season.
makes 2 large (or 6-8 small) loaves

8 cups flour
2 cups scalded milk
2 Tbs yeast
1/2 cup warm water (for the yeast to grow in)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup melted butter
1 tsp cardamom (powdered form, not the whole pods!)

Dissolve yeast in water and set aside. Mix milk, butter, sugar, egg, salt, cardamom, and a little of the flour and beat until smooth. Add yeast and mix again. Add the rest of the flour and beat well. Knead for about 10 minutes. Cover dough and let it rise until double. Place on a floured board and knead until smooth. Divide into 6 even-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a 'snake' and braid together into 2 loaves, tucking the ends under.
Put loves on a large greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until double again. Bake at 375* until golden brown--about 20 minutes for large loaves (less for smaller loaves).

If you are new to bread making, check out my bread making tips!


Becky N. said...

How funny. I was just talking with some friends about Christmas food/traditions this morning, and one of them mentioned having Cardamom bread for breakfast every year. And then I come here and read this!

My parents went to Finland on their missions... my mom came home with a recipe for "Puula" bread, which is braided like this. It's a sweet bread that I imagine is similar to this... but she closely guards her recipe, rarely gives it out, so I'm not sure what's in it. She would only make it during the holiday seasons. I should get around to asking her for the recipe! It was always one of my favorite things to eat at Christmastime. This version looks wonderfully good, too!

Anonymous said...

This is cool. I married a Finn. His familt eats it year round. I am making it today for my son for Valentines Day.

Britt-Astrid Gabrielsen said...

This recipe is a Beauty! My Scandinavian family love eating this.

Keep up the great work in continuing to add more Scandinavian recipes.
Have been following your site with great curiosity!
Britt-Astrid Melbourne. Australia.

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