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Bread machine Swedish Christmas bread recipe

Bread machine Swedish Christmas bread recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Bread
  • White bread

Enjoy a loaf of this plaited Swedish bread for Christmas. It's decorated with sugar and looks festive. My great-grandmother's recipe was a bit hard to make, but thanks to the bread maker this version takes much less effort!

61 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 250ml milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 30g softened butter
  • 375g plain flour
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 (7g) sachet dried active baking yeast
  • 3 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 egg whites, slightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons pearl sugar, or other decorative sugar

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:25min ›Ready in:40min

  1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.
  2. When the dough cycle has finished, divide into three equal portions. Roll each piece into a rope 30 to 35cm long. Lay the three ropes side by side, then plait together. Tuck the ends underneath, and place onto a greased baking tray, cover loosely with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in bulk.
  3. Preheat oven to 190 C / Gas 5.
  4. Brush the plait with beaten egg white and sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(62)

Reviews in English (52)

Fabulous recipe very easy to make and ideal to take too parties-07 Aug 2016

by Tami

Thank you so much for a smaller (1 loaf instead of 3) and quick version of my great-great-aunt's "Vetebrod" (umlout omitted, as I don't know how to type it )! To keep the temperature consistant for the dough to rise, I've found that if you turn on the oven to 400 degrees for 1 minute, then turn it off and put the bread in immediately (covered with a clean, lint free cloth) and allow it to sit for 1 hour. It keeps the temp more consistant in my draftly kitchen. I think the crust was a little tougher than normal this way (but still good) and I had to add a little flour during the knead cycle to keep it from sticking to the sides of the bread machine. If you can't find pearl sugar, regular granulated works well. A quick heads up for anyone who has not purchased Cardamom before - it's expensive and can be difficult to find. Only one local store here (it's a small town) carries it ground (Spice Islands) at $11.99 for a jar. Keep in mind that ground loses it's potency once opened, so keep the jar TIGHTLY closed for it's next use. Thanks again for the recipe!!-03 Dec 2006

by Christine Heideman

this bread is absolutely wonderful!! I added a bit of cinnamon with the cardamon & used brown sugar instead of pearl. it was AMAZING!!-13 Sep 2006

  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups butter (melted)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cardamom (freshly ground from about 25 cardamom pods)
  • 4 1/2 tsp. dry active yeast
  • 9 cups flour (all-purpose or bread flour)
  • 1 egg (plus 2 tbsp. water, lightly beaten together into an egg wash)
  • Pearl sugar (or crushed sugar cubes)
  • Chopped or slivered almonds

Prepare your basic cardamom bread dough using the first 7 ingredients listed above (this takes about 1 1/2 hours).

After punching down dough following its first rise, remove from bowl and knead lightly on a floured counter until smooth and shiny. Divide dough into two halves.

Divide each half of the dough into three equal portions. Roll each portion into a long, thin “snake” (about 18 inches long). Braid three of the “snakes” together, folding and pinching outer edges under to form a loaf shape. Repeat for the second set of three dough “snakes.” (Alternative: Do not divide dough into 2 halves, but separate entire mass into three equal portions. Roll the three portions into “snakes,” braid together, then join and pinch ends together to form a single braided bread wreath).

Place the two braided loaves (or the single braided wreath) on a greased baking sheet, cover with a towel, and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 F.

When loaves (or wreath) have doubled, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar and/or almonds. Place in the middle of a preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until done.


Can I freeze kanellängd?

Yes, kanellängd freezes very well after baking. Place it in a zip-top freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to a month.

Can it be made ahead?

Yes, you can make kanellängd ahead of time.

Make the dough the day before, and let it rise in the fridge overnight. Shape the loaf the next day, let it rise, and bake as normal. The rising will take longer, though, because it will be cold from the fridge.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 slices day-old white bread, crumbled
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • ⅔ pound ground beef
  • ⅓ pound finely ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (Optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger (Optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, or as needed
  • 2 cups beef broth, or as needed
  • ½ (8 ounce) container sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Place the bread crumbs into a small bowl, and mix in the cream. Allow to stand until crumbs absorb the cream, about 10 minutes. While the bread is soaking, melt 1 teaspoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat, and cook and stir the onion until it turns light brown, about 10 minutes. Place onion into a mixing bowl mix with the ground beef, ground pork, egg, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. Lightly mix in the bread crumbs and cream.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Pinch off about 1 1/2 tablespoon of the meat mixture per meatball, and form into balls. Place the meatballs into the skillet, and cook just until the outsides are brown, about 5 minutes, turning the meatballs often. Insides of the meatballs will still be pink. Place browned meatballs into a baking dish, pour in chicken broth, and cover with foil.

Bake in the preheated oven until the meatballs are tender, about 40 minutes. Remove meatballs to a serving dish.

To make brown gravy, pour pan drippings into a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the flour into the pan drippings until smooth, and gradually whisk in enough beef broth to total about 2 1/2 cups of liquid. Bring the gravy to a simmer, whisking constantly until thick, about 5 minutes. Just before serving, whisk in the sour cream. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve the gravy with the meatballs.

Gloria Johnson’s “Finnish bread with a Swedish touch”

Gloria Johnson is known for her cardamom bread, but it was only about 10 years ago that she made her first loaf. For 55 years, Gloria and her husband Arnold raised strawberries and ran a pick-your-own strawberry farm in Oulu, Wisconsin. Arnold started the farm 65 years ago for extra income after his family sold their dairy cows. They kept it running year in and year out, right up until deciding to retire. Gloria jokes that she has been around for “only 55, not 65” of those years. Each summer they hired local kids to work at the farm: managing crowds, weeding the fields, and helping to keep everything in order. Many in Oulu fondly mention that working at the Johnsons’ strawberry farm was their first job, and are quick to say that it was also the job that taught them the value of hard work.

The Johnsons hosted an employees party at the close of every season, inviting the families and neighbors of those who had worked for them. One year, a neighbor brought a loaf of cardamom bread, using a recipe featured in the Duluth News Tribune by the acclaimed Finnish American cookbook author Beatrice Ojakangas. While many in the area consider cardamom bread to be a Finnish delicacy, often using its Finnish name pulla, people make variations of cardamom-flavored yeast coffeebread throughout the Nordic countries–and the Upper Midwest. Along with pulla, cardamom bread is know by many names, particularly throughout Finnish America, including “nisu” and “biscuit.”

Not only was their neighbor’s cardamom bread delicious, it was also a bread machine recipe. For Gloria, that was the kicker to try it and over the years she has made a couple of modifications. One of the first was incorporating some whole wheat flour because it “gives more nutrition,” as she says with a smile. Another was sprinkling raw sugar on top rather than the regular, granulated kind so that it wouldn’t melt in. But the key was adding a second layer of egg wash and raw sugar, both before and after raising the dough, that created the extra crunchy layer on top, a step you can see in the video above that shows how Gloria makes her cardamom bread. Gloria likes to say that her recipe is “Finnish with a Swedish touch” because her own heritage is Swedish and she’s adapting a Finnish recipe.

Gloria orders her cardamom seed in bulk–one pound bags from a wholesaler. She says that fresh ground cardamom tastes much better, so she grinds it herself for each batch. Many recipes call for a teaspoon, but she uses closer to 3 tablespoons. Gloria admits, “I do make a lot of cardamom bread,” and has her baking down to a science, storing pre-mixed bags of flour in her freezer. She estimates that towards Christmas-time she probably bakes it every day. Her favorite time to bake is actually in the middle of the night, timing it so that her family can eat fresh-baked pulla for breakfast.

For Gloria, baking cardamom bread is also about connecting to her community. She doesn’t take too many orders, but often donates loaves to local historical society dinners, as well as to sell at the Oulu Cultural and Heritage Center (OCHC)’s events. She offers classes for adults in the area to learn how to bake pulla and regularly volunteers at the OCHC’s summer school to teach the kids how to bake the local treat. In the same way she spent 55 years teaching the community’s youth the value of work at their strawberry farm, Gloria continues to perform her love of community by sharing her cardamom bread and teaching others her own recipe, with a Swedish touch.

Gloria’s Cardamom Bread

A platter of cardamom bread for sale at The Oulu Cultural and Heritage Center’s 2018 Juhannus festival.

How to Make Swedish Cardamom Braided Bread

  1. Warm and combine the milk, sugar, butter and yeast. This will make the yeast all foamy and perfect.
  2. Pour the wet mixture into the bowl of a stand-up mixer with the hook attachment.
  3. And then add some of the flour, salt, ground cardamom and egg.
  4. Next, add 1 more cup of flour and it’ll all come together.
  5. Transfer the dough to a well oiled bowl and let it rise for 1 hour. As a result, it’ll double in size.
  6. Punch down the dough and knead it for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough into 6-equal pieces.

Fresh Flour Is Important

If your flour is more than three months old on the shelf? Buy fresh flour before making bread.

If you have no idea how old the flour on the shelf is? Buy fresh flour before making bread.

If you give your flour a sniff and it smells dusty or a little bit "off"? Buy fresh flour before making bread.

Flour gets old, flour gets stale. It's meant to be used not just stored!

Good bread is worth special effort and investment. Your time is worth special effort and investment. Why go to the trouble of making good homemade bread but then use old ingredients?


Step 1

In a small saucepan (or in the microwave), warm the milk, and melt the butter in the warm milk. Add cardamom, vanilla and salt. Mix above ingredients until well blended and pour liquids in bottom of the bread machine pan. (Note: Follow your individual bread machine instructions as to adding ingredients. But do not mix salt with yeast. Salt will negate the action of the yeast.)

Add the flour, make a small dent in flour and place yeast in dent. Set machine on dough setting.

When cycle is finished, remove dough and cut into two pieces. Cut each of the two pieces into three pieces for braids. Braid dough and shape. Let rise until about double.

Brush on Eggbeaters and sprinkle with coarse sugar. (make an egg wash by beating one egg with one teaspoon of water. Brush on, then sprinkle with sugar.)

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until bread has risen and the loaves are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Swedish Tea Ring

In Sweden this tea ring is most often enjoyed at Christmas time. Think cinnamon roll in the shape of a ring. This — and many European pastries — aren't as over-the-top decadent as the typical American sticky buns, cream-filled layer cakes, and gooey fudge brownies. If you're after a classic Swedish tea ring, this is it for a more "Americanized" version, see "tips from our bakers," below.


  • 1 cup (227g) milk
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/2 cups (418g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoon instant yeast, SAF Gold instant yeast preferred
  • 3 tablespoons (39g) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon Instant ClearJel, optional to keep the filling from seeping out during baking
  • 3 tablespoons (43g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (57g) chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup (85g) cinnamon chips


To make the dough: Weigh your flour or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead — by hand, mixer or bread machine — to make a soft, smooth dough. Let rise, covered, for 1 hour.

To make the filling: Stir together the sugar, cinnamon, and ClearJel, then add the melted butter. Combine the walnuts and cinnamon chips separately.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and roll it into a 12" x 18" rectangle.

Spread the filling over the dough. Top with the walnuts and chips.

Starting with one long side, roll the dough into a log and form it into a ring, pinching the edges together to seal. Place the ring on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Using a pair of scissors, cut two-thirds of the way into the edge of the ring at 2" intervals. Turn each cut section onto its side.

Cover and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes, until puffy.

While the bread is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Bake the tea ring for about 25 minutes, until golden tent it with foil after 15 to 20 minutes if it's browning too quickly.

Remove the loaf from the oven, and carefully transfer it to a rack to cool.

Swedish Bread

By Chef Michael Smith &bull 6 years ago

This is the recipe my mother uses every year at Christmas time to make a cardamom scented sweetbread. To this day, every time I smell cardamom I think of my mom. It's a blast from the past, a household tradition, all because of a friendly neighbour from my childhood who shared this recipe with me. I of course gave it to my mom to make for me.

Nowadays she makes it in a bread machine, which handles the mixing, kneading and first rising steps. The dough can then be braided and baked as per the recipe. The traditional braiding step makes a beautiful loaf, but isn't necessary. You can form a traditional loaf by rolling it into a log and placing it in a lightly greased loaf pan before baking.


1 1/2 cups (375 mL) of milk
1/2 cup (60 mL) of butter
4 cups (1 L) of flour
3/4 cup (180 mL) of sugar
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of flaxseed (optional)
2 teaspoons (10 mL) of instant yeast
2 teaspoons (10 mL) of ground cardamom


In a small pot, gently heat the milk and butter over low heat without letting it boil. Once the butter has melted, remove from heat and let it cool for a couple minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, flaxseed (if using), yeast and cardamom. Fit the mixer with a dough hook and stir on low for a few second to evenly combine. Pour in the milk mixture and knead with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a smooth ball and cover with a clean towel. Let stand in a warm spot until it was doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Turn on the convection oven if you have one. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

Deflate the dough and divide into 3 equals pieces. Roll each portion between your palms and the work surface to create a long rope about 16 inches long. Pinch together one end of each rope, then continue to braid the dough similar to braiding hair. When you run out of dough, pinch the loose ends of the dough together. Carefully transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, tucking the ends under. Cover with a clean towel and let rise once more, about 45 minutes.

Remove the towel from the bread. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing. Serve and share.

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