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Crazy-Good Swedish Cardamom Bread: A Bread Machine Recipe (+Video)

Preview: Swedish Cardamom Bread for a bread machine is a braided, sweet, and rich yeast bread, spiced with cardamom. It’s a winner!

Secret ingredients have a magical attraction for me. I guess I want to be part of the inner circle that knows what it takes to make a recipe memorable and irresistibly tasty.

This recipe for Bread Machine Swedish Cardamom Bread (also known as Pulla Bread) is a sweet and rich yeast bread with a magic ingredient: cardamom!

You may not have that spice in your kitchen now, but after you try this bread, you’ll never be without it again.

What is cardamom powder?

It is a wonderful spice originating from a green cardamom pod. The powder has a sweet, pungent flavor and aroma that’s difficult to describe. It looks like a pale-colored cinnamon powder but the taste is different and a bit exotic.

Swedish Cardamom Braid with sugary topping-- bread on cookie sheet

There are other types of cardamom, but the powder is what you most commonly see in the spice aisle at your local supermarket.

Where do I buy cardamom?

If you’re like me, you don’t want to pay $4-5+ for a spice to use in only one recipe–especially an experiment.  My suggestion is to buy a small amount where spices are sold in bulk. 

This is a great idea if you live in a metroplex area where stores like Central Market, Whole Foods, or Winco are located.

If you live in a less populated area you may not have that luxury.  In which case, you’ll have to trust me that cardamom is worth the money.  (Check Amazon if you can’t find it at the grocery store.)

You’ll find other uses for cardamom if you are a baker. Check out my recipe for Banana Whole Wheat Bread that also calls for cardamom. It is one of my all-time favorites.

cardamom braid with sugar on top--sliced to show even texture

What can I substitute for cardamom?

You might be tempted to substitute cinnamon.  And you could.  And it will probably be delicious.

But I promise, if you try the cardamom, people will rave.  They will ask you about that mysterious flavor.  More than likely, they will come back for another slice. It is THAT good!



weighing flour for bread dough
Weighing your flour is the way to go if you have a digital scale.
  • Flour: I always keep unbleached flour in the house so that’s what I use. Bleached all-purpose flour will work, too.
    Speaking of flour: I recommend you weigh it, if possible. It is so much better than any dipping method. If you make a lot of bread, investing in digital scales and using them will improve your baking. Promise!
  • Yeast: Anytime you are using a bread machine, instant yeast or bread machine yeast makes it easy. But if you only have active dry yeast in the house, you can use it instead. No need to dissolve it these days. Use it the same amount and same way as instant yeast. Be aware that it is often slower to activate, but it will happen.
  • Milk: Whole milk is preferred. Substitute 2% or fat-free milk, but your bread won’t be quite as rich.
  • Cardamom: It’s the distinctive ingredient in this recipe. You could leave it out or substitute cinnamon.
  • Sugar topping: I normally use regular granulated sugar. Many people use sanding sugar (larger particles) on top. Suit yourself.

How to shape the dough in to a braid:

At the end of the DOUGH cycle, transfer dough to a floured surface.
Knead by hand to make one smooth ball. Divide the dough into thirds and make each portion into a smooth ball. Cover balls with a tea towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Roll each ball into a fat rope about 15-16 inches long.
Cross ropes and start braiding.
Readjust braided ropes as necessary to make it fairly uniform. Turn the ends under.
Transfer to a prepared cookie sheet (covered with a silicone baking mat, parchment paper, or well-greased.) Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until about 1-1/2 the original size.
Just before baking, brush risen braid with milk, then sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Bake in a 375˚F oven for 25-30 minutes. Internal temperature should reach 190˚F. (My favorite quick-read thermometer–paid link) If necessary, cover the loaf halfway through baking with a sheet of foil to keep your braid from over-browning.

You can see in the picture that I didn’t get the ends covered very well with the foil.


Alternate shaping ideas

If the braiding intimidates you or just doesn’t work for you, take the three balls and place them side-by-side into a 9 x 5-inch bread pan. Let it rise, glaze with milk, sprinkle with sugar, and bake as directed.

If you would prefer to actually bake this bread in the bread machine, set the machine for a regular bread cycle that mixes, kneads and bakes. You won’t get the nice braided shape, and the texture won’t be as nice. But hopefully, it will taste just as good.

What bread recipe would you like to try next?


Did you try this recipe and enjoy it? Consider helping other readers (and me) by returning to this post. Leave a rating on the recipe card itself underneath the picture. No comment required.

If you have a question or tip to share, please leave it in the regular comments after the recipe so I can answer back. Or email me: paula at saladinajar.com.

Thank you for visiting!
Paula


Yield: 1 braided loaf

Bread Machine Swedish Cardamom Bread Recipe

bread machine swedish cardamom braid

Cardamom Yeast Bread for the bread machine is a sweet and rich yeast bread, spiced with cardamom. Instructions for mixing and kneading in a bread machine, then shaping and baking in a conventional oven.

Prep Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups flour (360 gr), all-purpose, unbleached
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to the bread machine pan in order given. Select the DOUGH cycle.
  2. When the cycle is completed, the dough should be smooth, elastic and risen to double the original size. Remove from pan to a lightly floured surface.
  3. Divide into 3 balls and let relax for about 10 minutes.
  4. Roll each ball into a long rope approximately 14 inches long. Braid these shapes, pinching ends under, securely. Place braid on a prepared cookie sheet
  5. If this method doesn't work for you, divide the dough into two balls. Smooth them and place side by side in 9 x 5 bread pan.
  6. Set aside to rise again until the braid is not quite double the original size.
  7. Brush milk over the braid and carefully sprinkle with a light coating of sugar.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 375˚F for 20 to 25 minutes. Cover with foil the last 10 minutes, if necessary, to prevent over-browning. Move from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack.

Notes

Alternate Mixing Instructions:

Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand: 

  • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer, add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on low to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Using a dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3 and continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • If making by hand, combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead with your hands until dough becomes smooth and elastic, a process that will likely take 10-20 minutes depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • Please note: You can substitute active dry yeast for instant or bread machine yeast. There is no longer any need to dissolve it. Be aware that it may be a little slower acting than instant yeast, but it'll get there.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 135Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 100mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 3g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Pamela

Saturday 16th of January 2021

Hello - I just found this recipe and can't wait to try it. Is it possible to leave in the breqd mqchine to bake? I realize it won't look as nice.

Pam

Thursday 28th of January 2021

@Paula, I just got around to actually baking in the bread machine and it turned out great. Crust wasn’t too thick but it did have a nice crunch to it. I couldn’t figure out how to upload my pic here.

Paula

Saturday 16th of January 2021

Hi Pamela,

Yes, you can bake it in your machine if you don't mind the thick crust that comes with it. Be sure you peek under the lid during the kneading cycle to check the dough. Doing this will give you a better chance of success. I have not actually tested it this way myself. Let me know how it works for you.

Lisa

Saturday 5th of December 2020

Incredible bread. The dough was a dream to work with. I mean it was so lovely to work with I thought I'd done something wrong! If you don't eat it the same day you make it, just warm the slices up slightly in the microwave. The bottom of my bread was almost burnt so I think I'll try baking it at 350 next round. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

Paula

Sunday 6th of December 2020

Oh yes, it is a beautiful dough--especially when kneaded with a bread machine. About the bottom of the bread, you might try moving it up to a higher level in the oven. Also, a heavier cookie sheet might help (not sure what you're using now.) Sometimes using a silicone baking sheet over your cookie sheet can help prevent the bread from becoming too brown.

Have you calibrated your oven in a while? Ovens can vary a lot, especially as they age. Decreasing the temperature may be the perfect solution if it's baking too hot.

Pat

Saturday 5th of December 2020

This recipe is wonderful! I was trying to find a cardamom bread to make for my dad, to bring back some of his childhood memories, I think this is it. I was wondering if I could use bread flour in this recipe?

Paula

Sunday 6th of December 2020

Hi Pat,

Hope your dad likes this bread. You can use bread flour, your braid just won't be quite as tender--slightly chewier, but will most likely rise a little higher.

Marilyn Nelson

Monday 23rd of November 2020

How long should the roll be and you said a 385 degree oven on top and 375 in the recipe. Which one should I use. Excited about trying this. Thank you so much.

Paula

Monday 23rd of November 2020

Hi Marilyn,

Thanks for writing. 385 was a typo. The temp should be 375˚F. So glad you noticed and took the time to write. 15-16 inches is about right. I'll also add that to the directions. Can't wait to hear how it turns out for you.

Huck

Tuesday 6th of October 2020

Nice job on the bread and receipe. I grew up on this! FYI It's Finnish not Swedish. Estonians, Swedes and Finns all make this. Try adding Saffron to it. You can take out the raisins. Also you can sprinkle the tops with Pearl Sugar (Ikea sells it)before baking. Or sprinkle poppy seeds. Enjoy!

Paula

Wednesday 7th of October 2020

Hi Huck,

Glad you liked the bread. Most times when somebody grows up on a recipe, they are impossible to please. Your additions sound fabulous.

I have been making this bread for over 40 years and have always called it "Swedish" because that's what the cookbook I adapted it from called it. It's too late to change it now (Google is a slow learner) so I guess we're stuck with it. But good to know.

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