Cardamom Bread: Your New Favorite Bread Machine Recipe

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Sneak Preview: This crazy-good Cardamom Bread (aka Swedish Cardamom Bread or Pulla Bread) is a rich and sweet yeast bread mixed in a bread machine and then shaped into a braid by hand. After a final rise, bake it in your oven for a delicate and delicious crust. It’s a winner!

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

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Secret ingredients have a magical attraction for me. 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 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.

Happy Bakers Speak Up

“What a perfect bread! It is delicious in every way. The cardamom adds such a unique, warm flavor. It may look complicated, but it isn’t, so I urge you to give it a try and be amazed!” NANCY N.


What Does Cardamom Bread Taste Like?

It is a soft bread (all-purpose flour is your first clue) with a sweetness that goes great with a cup of tea or coffee. The crust is glazed with milk to add color and serves to glue down the sugar sprinkled over the top.

Serve this instead of cinnamon rolls for a special occasion, holiday, or company. It may be unexpected, but your family and friends will love the subtle cardamom seasoning even if they can’t identify it. Of course, the braid makes a spectacular presentation.

Slice thickly and serve with lemon or orange curd, your favorite jelly, or room-temperature butter.


What Is Cardamom Powder?

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

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. I suggest buying a small amount where spices are sold in bulk.

This is an excellent idea if you live in a metroplex area with stores like Central Market, Whole Foods, or Winco.

If you live in a less populated area, you may not have that luxury.  In which case, trust me, 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 Banana Whole Wheat Bread recipe that also calls for cardamom. It is one of my all-time favorites.

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

What can I substitute for cardamom?

You might be tempted to substitute cinnamon. Of course, 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. Then, more than likely, they will come back for another slice. It is THAT good!




Ingredients and Substitutions

  • FLOUR: I always keep unbleached flour in the house, which 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. Investing in digital scales and using them will improve your baking if you make a lot of bread. Promise!
  • YEAST: Anytime you use 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 in the same amount and in the same way as instant yeast. It is often slower to activate, but it will happen.
  • MILK: I prefer whole milk. Substitute low-fat or fat-free milk, but your bread won’t be as rich. By the way, there is no need to heat the milk. The friction of the blades will heat your ingredients in a hurry.
  • CARDAMOM: It’s the distinctive ingredient in this recipe. You could leave it out or substitute cinnamon, but I don’t recommend it.
  • SUGAR TOPPING: I use regular granulated sugar. Many people use sanding sugar (larger particles) on top. Suit yourself.

How To Shape the Dough into a Braid

removing dough from the bread machine pan after the DOUGH cyclePin
Transfer dough to a floured surface at the end of the DOUGH cycle.
Portioning the dough.Pin
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.
rolling each ball into a ropePin
Roll each ball into a fat rope about 15-16 inches long.
starting the braidPin
Cross ropes and start braiding.
continuing the braid.Pin
Finishing the braid.Pin
Readjust braided ropes as necessary to make them reasonably uniform. Tuck the ends under.
Allowing the braid to proof.Pin
Transfer to a prepared baking sheet (covered with a silicone baking mat, parchment paper, or well-greased.) Cover with a tea towel and allow the braid to rise until about 1-1/2 the original size.
Using a milk wash and sprinkling with sugar.Pin
Before baking, brush the puffy braid with milk to produce a golden brown finish, then sprinkle with granulated sugar.
baked loaf cooling on a rack.Pin
Bake in a 375˚F (190˚C) oven for 25-30 minutes. The 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.

Remove the bread to a wire rack to cool before slicing.


FAQs About Cardamom Bread

If I don’t want to braid this loaf, what else can I do?

If braiding intimidates you or you don’t want to mess with it, place the three balls side-by-side into a 9 x 5-inch bread pan. Let it rise, glaze it with milk, sprinkle it with sugar, and bake as directed.

Can I bake this bread in a bread machine?

If you prefer to 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 beautiful braided shape, the lovely texture, or a thin and tender crust. But hopefully, it will taste just as good.

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Parting thoughts: This is one of my favorite bread recipes on this website. You will love it. If you have leftovers, I recommend slicing this loaf (after a day or two old) and making sweet melba toasts with cinnamon and sugar. They are irresistible and make a great gift.


Recipe Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.


bread machine swedish cardamom braidPin
Yield: 12 slices

Cardamom Bread Recipe (aka Swedish Cardamom Bread) for a Bread Machine

Cardamom Bread is a sweet yeast bread recipe designed for mixing and kneading in a bread machine. Cardamom is the ingredient that makes this recipe stand apart from the others.

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Video

Prep time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 3 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • ¾ cup (170 g) milk cool
  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon table or sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 large (50 g) egg
  • ¼ cup (57 g) butter chopped
  • 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast

Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  • Add 3/4 cup (170 g) milk, 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon (½ teaspoon) table or sea salt, 3/4 teaspoon (¾ teaspoon) cardamom, 1 large (50 g) egg, 1/4 cup (57 g) butter, 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose unbleached flour, and 2 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast to the bread machine pan in the order given. Select the DOUGH cycle.
  • Open the lid after a minute and check to ensure the paddles are engaged and working correctly. The dough should start to clump.
    If the dough looks like pancake batter or is dry and crumbly, you may have inadvertently mismeasured an ingredient, or perhaps there is a mistake in the recipe. Add flour, one tablespoon at a time if the dough is too wet. Add liquid if the dough is too dry (wait a couple of minutes between each addition).
  • Recheck your dough again after 15-18 minutes. The dough should stick to the sides, then pull away cleanly. See the video to watch this in action. Note how shiny and elastic the dough is.
    If you aren’t sure if your dough looks right, read more about this surprising secret that will help you make fabulous bread every time.
  • When the DOUGH cycle is completed, the dough should be smooth, elastic, and risen to double the original size. Remove the dough from the pan to a lightly floured surface.
  • Divide into 3 balls and let the dough relax for about 10 minutes.
  • Roll each ball into a long rope approximately 14 inches long. Braid these shapes, pinching ends under, securely. Place the braid on a prepared cookie sheet
  • If this method doesn’t work for you, divide the dough into two or three balls. Use your fingers to pull the dough to the bottom and pinch to seal. Place the balls smooth side up next to each other into a 9 x 5-inch bread pan.
  • Set aside to rise again until the braid is not quite double the original size.
  • Brush the 2 tablespoons milk over the braid and carefully sprinkle with a light coating of sugar.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 375˚F (190˚C) for 20 to 25 minutes. Cover with foil for the last 10 minutes, if necessary, to prevent over-browning. Move from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack.

Notes

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. Then, using a dough hook, turn the speed to 2 or 3. 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. Knead with your hands until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Kneading 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 the dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • Please note: If you only have active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon more than called for in the recipe. It no longer needs to be dissolved first, but you can if you prefer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 144mg | Potassium: 83mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 163IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg

All images and text ©️ Paula Rhodes for Salad in a Jar.com

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57 Comments

  1. Carol jensen says:

    I just made your recipe for cardamom bread for Christmas and it was yummy. I’ve made your recipe for cinamon rolls and they are scrumptious too but I find mine take a really long time to raise. I’ve been careful following your recipe and the yeast I’ve been using is fresh but the rolls still took 6 hours to raise in my oven using the proofing function. Should I increase the amount of yeast. suggestions??

    1. Hi Carol,

      That seems odd to me.

      What do you mean by “fresh” yeast? Are you using cake yeast? Or do you just mean yeast that’s not out-of-date?

      The answer to slow rising dough is rarely more yeast (unless you are using cake yeast, which this recipe is not designed for). Do you have a quick-read digital thermometer? I hope so. It would be helpful if you took the temperature of the dough and the temperature of the oven on the proofing function. Both should be between 75-78˚F.

      Have you made any substitutions or modifications? More or less salt? sugar? flour? Is your flour within date?

      One really good thing about slow-rising dough is that it usually makes for more flavor.

  2. 5 stars
    I am so glad I stumbled upon your site. I have been looking to use my bread machine for the preparation of the dough and then baking it in the oven. I don’t have a food processor or mixer and am physically unable to do knead dough, etc. so your recipes are just what I want.

    I love cardamon so tried this recipe first. It is just gorgeous, either plain, with butter and/or jam, toasted or not. Perfect. I did baked it in a 9 x 5 loaf pan at 350F until the bread reached 190F.

    I am also glad to see your recipes using weights. More accurate, less washing up 🙂

    The only change I made is that I grounded up my cardamon from seed in a mortar & pestle. There is no comparison for intensity of taste and smell. I admit it is a very tedious job but, in a way, very soothly. I have the seed on hand for the Indian recipes I make and they keep forever.

    Now I am going to help myself to another slice.

    1. Hi Hannah,

      I’m glad you found my site, too. Sounds like we are like-minded about bread machines.

      Thank you for taking the time to write about your method of grinding cardamom. I would love to taste your bread with the fresh cardamom. I have no doubt that it is much better. If only I could reach through my computer screen and grab a slice of your bread for myself. 😊

  3. 5 stars
    How to make without bread machine:

    -Warm the milk in microwave for 1min and let cool down for ~5-10min. Add instant yeast and proof for 2-3min.
    -While yeast is proofing, whisk egg + sugar in a bowl. Add 1/2 flour + salt and spices to the egg mixture. Add the yeast milk and stir. Add second half of flour and stir with wooden spoon.
    -Switch to your hands or bread hook and knead dough until smoother in texture for ~5min.
    -Transfer dough to oiled bowl (I used coconut oil) and toos once to coat dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let double in size, about 1.5 hours.
    -After risen, press to deflate, and cut into 3 even pieces. Form into balls and set aside for another 10-30min.
    -Roll out and braid from there. I used an egg wash instead of milk, and used 1tsp of cardamom instead of 3/4 tsp. Hope this helps! Was delicious!

    1. Hi Shaye,
      Thank you for sharing your method and for the 5-star review.

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you Paula for another amazing recipe! It turned out beautiful and delicious! My German husband said it reminded him of home.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Lynne. This bread is one of my favorites, too.

  5. 4 stars
    My families been making this for generations, but I never attempted it myself.
    Adding substitution options, tips for buying, and the machine-less method cements this as the recipe I’m going to use for my attempt.
    Any tips for making the milk wash thicker so less runs off?
    My grandmothers always had a fairly thick glaze on the top.

    1. Hi Jay,

      I wonder if your grandmother used milk + an egg or at least an egg yolk. Can you remember the slightest eggy flavor to the crust?

  6. Nancy Nash says:

    What a perfect bread! It is delicious in every way. The cardamom adds such a unique, warm flavor. It may look complicated, but it isn’t, so I urge you to give it a try and be amazed!

    1. Hi Nancy,

      Thank you for coming back to share your thoughts. I couldn’t agree more.

  7. 5 stars
    thank you for this recipe ❤️ it brought me many family memories of the Finnish Nissu from Hancock Michigan.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to write. Good food memories are the best!

  8. I’ve been making this bread for years. Once in awhile the loaf will have large stretch marks across the top where it has widened during baking. Any idea what would cause this?

  9. 5 stars
    Excellent easy recipe. Can ALWAYS use more Cardamom!.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Dee. I couldn’t agree more about cardamom. It’s absolutely magical in this bread.

  10. 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.

    1. @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.

  11. 5 stars
    I made this, doubled the amount of spice, and it’s fantastic. I forgot it in the bread machine so it probably overproved, but it came out just lovely anyway. I would definitely double the spice if I made this bread again–it’s a perfect amount of seasoning.

  12. 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!

    1. 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.

  13. 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?

    1. 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.

  14. Marilyn Nelson says:

    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.

    1. 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.

  15. 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!

    1. 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.

  16. I made this bread and it came out ridiculously good! The ONLY substitution I did was adding a flax egg instead of an egg. Addition of Cardamom was heavenly! The bread was gone too quickly as do most breads in my house 🙂

    Could you post a recipe for Garlic, Herb Parmesan Italian Bread?

    1. I’ll add that Garlic Bread to my list. Are you talking about bread with these ingredients inside the bread or spread on the sliced bread and toasted?

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  19. Heather A. says:

    Yodee odee yum, we love cardamom! Did you know that it’s also good in coffee? Just brew it with a few pods. cardamom pods, not coffee pods.

    I wonder if I could double or x1.5 this if I have a big enough bread machine. Then I could make one braid to share and impress and one to hoard for my greedy self.

    1. Heather A. says:

      I also meant to say thanks very much for the recipe!

    2. Heather,

      Have not tried cardamom pods in my coffee but sounds fab! I have not seen a machine big enough to make a double batch. You could use a stand mixer or do what I do. As soon as bread is mixed and kneaded, pull dough out of pan and move to a separate container to rise until double while you start the next batch. OR, buy another bread machine and set them up side by side. When you don’t use your machine to bake in, you can get away with a cheaper/older one.

  20. Excellent recipe. Easy to make and gift worthy!
    Thank you for sharing it.

    Carla

  21. Thanks for your recipe for Bread machine. I have used ‘old’ way before but will use the machine tomorrow 12/24/13.

    The differences from my other recipe are:
    cooked at 325, add egg white glaze and sprinkle with raw sugar prior to baking.

    1. Earl,
      Your variation sounds good to me.

  22. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices! I use it in chicken and rice, on yams and baked apples. Thank you for the bread addition. Can’t wait to try it.

  23. Vanderbilt Wife says:

    Wow. I just bit into my first slice and it is DIVINE. My tastebuds are dancing with joy. Thank you for the recipe!

  24. Great Recipe! I found your website yesterday and tried this today. Easy, delicious and different. I’m surprized that cinnamon would be a substute for cardamom…cardamom has a citrus or citrus-peel smell and taste to me. It is very nice in this bread, which I’ll definitely be making again. Thank you.

  25. oh dear. I love cardamom. I must try this. so pretty.

  26. Tia @ ButtercreamBarbie says:

    im trying to experiment more with spices. thx for the tips on cardamom!

  27. I borrowed Der’s bread machine and am trying this recipe right now. Being a novice with the bread machine – will let you know the results.

  28. That is one beautiful loaf of bread!

  29. wow what a lovely blog you have love the bread

  30. This is the standard coffee bread from Finland–Finns use cardamom as often and in much the same way we use cinnamon. Once you try this bread, you’ll be convinced that the Finns are definitely onto something good. My grammie (from Helsinki) taught me how to make this bread when I was a girl and no gathering in my family is complete without it. Add a few pasties and some rye hardtack and you’re in bread heaven. Trust me.

  31. This looks sooo good and all of your breads are so good anyway! I am tempted to get out the bread machine and try it- even though the bread machine is sooo old!

  32. I totally agree about the cardamom. For years we’ve been making my grandmother’s recipe for Swedish Sweet Rolls, which use crushed cardamom seed. They don’t last very long around here.

  33. I really wish I bought that bread machine my friend had at her garage sale for $5.00 a couple of years ago.I passed it up and later found out my daughter Amanda purchased it for a second bread machine. This recipe looks incredible!!! I have never heard of cardamom but you can be sure I will be checking it out. Thanks for your inspiration!

  34. Bread Making says:

    This bread looks absolutely delicious. I’ve only used cardamom in Indian curries and rice dishes and I just love it. My cardamom is in pods which are usually crushed and added to curry, but I guess this recipe just require the seeds?

    1. For this recipe, you’ll want ground cardamom.

  35. I LOVE homemade bread – any type! This is a new one…it’s definitely now on my to-make list. Could I do it without the bread machine?

    1. Megan, this can be made by hand, a mixer or even a food processor if you don’t have a bread machine.

  36. This looks really good! Your bread is always good – and I love making it in the bread machine. That’s the only way I can even think about making bread right now!