Menu Banner

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vetebröd (Swedish Cardamom Bread)

My Swedish grandmother was a great cook. One thing she always served was vetebröd, which our family always called bulle. Vetebröd is a traditional sweet Swedish sweet yeast bread that is often flavored with a very unique ingredient – cardamom. Every time I smell this cardamom bread I think of my grandma. This is definitely one of my strongest “memory foods.” Bulle means “bun” and my grandmother generally made buns, but my mom and I like to do the braided loaf version of this bread at the holidays.

Photo of sliced vetebrod, Swedish cardamom sweet yeast bread

While this isn’t a traditional Christmas food, I only ever get around to making it at Christmastime. Cate LOVES it and calls it the “yummy bread.”

So, on to the recipe! I took some step-by-step photos for you, shown below. Swedish sweet breads like vetebröd can be baked in many different shapes. The recipe I have calls for simple buns, but braiding the bread is how my mom and I like to bake it. Because I love you all soooo much, I decided to share our family’s special way of braiding the loaf. It’s a great little trick.

Photos of bread dough being prepped to be made into a braided loaf

Step-by-step pictures for creating a beautiful braided loaf of bread

Finished step-by-step photo for creating a braided loaf of bread

What braided bread should look like coming out of the oven

Finished product - final photo of braided loaf of Swedish sweet yeast bread

Vetebröd | Braided Swedish Cardamom Bread
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 2 cakes compressed yeast OR 2 packets active dry yeast OR 4½ tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 cups sifted flour
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 20 cardamom pods (or 3 tsp ground cardamom, which is what I use)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup finely blanched almonds
  1. Scald milk and cool to luke warm. Crumble yeast in bowl: add ½ cup of the luke warm milk and stir until yeast is dissolved. Add remaining milk and ¼ c sugar. Beat in 3 C flour and continue beating until smooth. Cover and set aside to rise until double in bulk, ¾ - 1 hour. (I make this recipe in my stand mixer.)
  2. Add remaining sugar, cooled melted butter and salt. If using cardamom pods, break open pods and remove the tiny seeds, then crush the seeds thoroughly. Add cardamom (the freshly-ground stuff or the 3 teaspoons ground cardamom) and 4½ C flour to yeast mixture. Place remaining ½ C flour on board or pastry cloth for kneading.
  3. Turn out dough and knead until smooth and elastic. Note: I put all 5 cups of flour in step 2 and then let my Kitchen-Aid do the kneading with the dough hook attachment.
  4. Place kneaded dough in greased bowl. Cover with cloth and let rise until double in bulk, ¾ - 1 hour.
  5. Cut into even size pieces and roll into balls. Place on un-greased cookie sheet. Brush with egg and sprinkle with ¼ c sugar (Swedish pearl sugar is the best) and almonds (if using). Let rise until double in bulk, 30-40 mins. Bake in moderately hot oven, 400ºF for 12-15 minutes. If you want to make the braided loaf, keep reading the directions below. When cooking it as a loaf, bake the bread at 350º F for 20-30 minutes, until the top of the bread is very browned.
  7. Once the dough is ready to cut into pieces in step 4, you can instead roll out the dough to make a braid. This recipe will make four 12" braided loaves. Divide the dough into fours and form into a round, even ball. Smoosh the ball down into a rectangular-type shape (as best you can). Roll out to a large rectangle 12" long and as wide as you can get it, rolling the dough pretty thin (maybe ¼" or so). The thinner the dough at this stage the more evenly the bread will cook.
  8. Score two lines to divide the rectangle into thirds (the lines should be 12", the length of the loaf...does that make sense? See photos above). These score lines are guides and should not be very deep. Cut lines perpendicular to your score lines starting at the score line cutting out to the edge (see pictures). Make cuts appx. 1 inch apart. The cuts should be made down both sides, should line up and be even in number. (Am I making sense? Thank goodness for pictures!).
  9. Begin your braid at one end. Fold the pieces across to the opposite score line and angled down to the next level of cut pieces. I sort of smoosh the piece down so it stays in place. Once you've braided all the pieces, tuck the last two pieces under each other (pictured) so you have a nice finished end. (Please note - I probably should have rolled my dough thinner than pictured above...although the bread still came out great!)
  10. When I used to make this, I would just divide the dough in two and make two braids (what you see in the pictures) - but that made for a thicker braid and the outside would cook before the inside. I have since started dividing it into four braids, which is easier to roll out thin and cooks more evenly. Follow instructions in Step 4 above for prepping to bake (including rising again). You can cook two braids per cookie sheet - the sheets are 12" wide, so the braid fits cross-wise. If you do have thicker braids that seem to be cooking too quickly on the outside, about halfway through the total bake time cover the loaf with foil. This keeps the outside from getting to dark and it cooks beautifully.


It’s traditional to bake the bread topped with pearl sugar and/or almonds, but our family likes to make a vanilla glaze to drizzle over the top.

Braided loaf of Swedish sweet yeast bread drizzled with vanilla glaze

Slice of braided Swedish sweet yeast bread

Vanilla Glaze
  • 1¼ cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract (depending on the flavor you like or are in the mood for)
  • Milk or half-and-half or light cream
  • Salt (a couple pinches)
  1. Put powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Add vanilla/almond extract and salt, then pour in a bit of the milk (or cream or half-and-half), probably 2 teaspoons or so, just a quick swig. Whisk well. A little bit of fluid goes a long way, but add more one teaspoon at a time if needed to get the frosting to a drizzling consistency.
  2. I double this recipe to cover four 12″ loaves.


I’m not sharing this recipe because it’s an easy one. I’m sharing it because I love it and is special to me. It takes some time, but it is not difficult and so delicious. Eating this soft, yummy bread straight out of the oven is the best. But to replicate the effect the following day, I just zap my bulle in the microwave for 10-15 seconds…mmmmmmmmmm….

Click here to see how I make this bread into buns, which is another delicious way to enjoy them!

This link and this link will will take you to recipes for Swedish cinnamon buns (a little different than this recipe, but I’m sure still tasty). Both of these recipes illustrate how to make the dough into pretty buns. This is a great way to cook vetebröd, my grandma usually made these types of buns.

Also, after visiting Sweden in 2018, my mom, sister-in-law and I figured out a new way to make cardamom buns. Click here to see the recipe and instructions.



  1. omg! looks so good. love the photos!
    Happy New Year!

  2. 2

    i love baking bread, and i love cardamom. sold.

  3. Oh, my. I love cardamom, and I thought I’d had it in just about everything it can go in (and a few it shouldn’t…). But I’ve never had it in bread. This looks wonderful. THANK YOU!

  4. OMG, that’s fantastic. When I first came across your picture of the dough woven together, I never realized it was so easy with the picture illustrations on this page. Nice work.

  5. 5

    I’m sure farmor is smiling.

  6. 6

    Oh,not that looks so delicious. I recently bought some cardamom. When I put it on my spice shelf I wondered to myself what made me purchase it, I can’t think of any recipes I have that call for it. So, now, thanks to your post, I can add “Yummy Bread” to my recipe collection and have a use for that spice.

  7. 7

    woops – gosh I need to get better at proofreading. That “not” up there should read “now.” Good grief, maybe I’m not skilled enough to make that gorgeous braided loaf….

  8. I love vetebröd! And yours is soooo beautiful. I’m seriously impressed.

  9. 9

    Wow…this really looks fantastic!! Can you tell me if you use AP flour or bread flour for the recipe? Thank you for sharing!!!

  10. love all your comments…so happy to share a very good use of cardamom with you all. (and my dad made me tear up…good job, dad)

    good question, margaret. I just used good old all-purpose and it came out fine. might be interesting to try with bread flour sometime when I”m feeling bored…but AP works great!

  11. 11

    This looks AMAZING!!! And how wonderfully special!!! Thank you for sharing. I LOVE LOVE LOVE cardamom and anything with it in it… is my favorite! I can’t even imagine the scent that fills the air when baking this. I’ll be trying this perhaps this weekend.

    Oh – what kind of milk should I use? I think I have a 1 or 2%. Must it be whole milk?

    Thank you!!! XOX

  12. I think I used 1%…I think you’ll be fine with whatever you’ve got! good luck!

  13. 13
    Sarah G

    You make it look so easy. I love cardamom so will have to try this.

  14. It’s sooooo beautiful. Almost, almost too good to eat!

  15. 15

    Put butter and cinnamon inside the bun and I can almost smell my childhood in Sweden.

  16. I’m with Cate, yummy indeed, and beautiful to boot!

  17. Wow that’s beautiful! I bet it smells wonderful too.

    Curious to know if vetebröd refers to vertebrae in Swedish. It does sorta look like the spine.

  18. 18

    Br̦d means bread Рvete means wheat Рall about ingredients not the shape. In fact norlanders braid the dough into a ring as well as making individual buns.

    We have a theory why they would have used the word wheat to describe the bread (not whole wheat by the way) – if you are interested let me know….

  19. 19

    I’d love to know why all Scandinavians call this “wheat” bread! Finns call it pulla, but the others call it variations of vetebrod: hvetebrod, hvedebrod, hveitibraud.

  20. 20

    It looks so delicious! I’m making it RIGHT now! Thank you!

  21. 21

    Looks beautiful – and I love the step-by-step photos!
    Happy New Year!!

  22. 22

    I appreciate this great post you did, Jane. My grandparents were from Sweden. My grandmother and I used to bake everytime we were together. I have such warm memories of braiding, or knotting the dough, baking it, and finally eating it! It’s so amazing how childhood memories can warm your heart.
    I was of working with yeast (have done it before and got bread that could break a window) but I will give this a try and I’m sure all parts of making this wonderful bread will bring me back to some of the best times in my childhood.
    Thank you so much and Happy New Year!

  23. 23

    I appreciate this great post you did, Jane. My grandparents were from Sweden. My grandmother and I used to bake everytime we were together. I have such warm memories of braiding, or knotting the dough, baking it, and finally eating it! The smell of this bread baking is amazing.
    I was afraid of working with yeast (have done it before and got bread that could break a window) but I will give this a try and I’m sure all parts of making this wonderful bread will bring me back to some of the best times in my childhood.
    Thank you so much and Happy New Year!

  24. 24

    This looks great! My Grandparents were Swedish and I have never had this. I am going to make it though. I love learning new things that I can pass on to my children. This Christmas we made our rice pudding, Swedish rye bread, dup i grytan (“dip in the pot”: juice from the meat used to dip the bread in and home made)and Korv Swedish sausage made with potatoes, pork and beef. I would love to add this Bread to our Christmas next year! Thanks so much for sharing.

  25. 25

    My mom is Swedish, and she used to make a few of the desserts for us. This Christmas she made one again (finally), and while it wasn’t this recipe, it was delicious! It was more of an almond dessert that she hasn’t made in years. I might have to try your recipe – thanks for sharing 🙂

  26. 26
    Jane Maynard

    I love all the swedes coming out of the woodwork! 🙂

  27. Made this the day after I saw your recipe. SIMPLY DELICIOUS! Thanks for sharing.

    So could I use cinnamon in place of the cardamom? I only bought a small amt of cardamom and I’m out for the week. What do you think?

  28. 28
    Jane Maynard

    you could definitely use cinnamon…it’s still yummy, just a totally different flavor. but I’m certain it will still be delish! so glad that the recipe worked for you – yea!

  29. 29

    I need to make this. My grandma made similar breads (she was born in the former Yugoslavia, so not Swedish here), and I wish daily that I had more time to devote to baking. They stir up such wonderful memories. This one looks divine!

  30. Scrumptious! I totally needed that braiding lesson. Mine always looks like a third grader’s hairdo.

  31. 31

    Thank you for the recipe with beauuutiful photos of the vetebrad bread. I kept coming back to the photos and finally broke down and made it two weeks ago during the rains. I took a photo of the loaves I baked (I am not a baker) because they turned out so pretty; I was very pleased with myself and owe it all to the photos). The consistency of my bread didn’t look as layered/flakey as yours. Mine was heavy (but delicious) Could I have over mixed in the Kitchen Aid? The people I shared it with asked for the recipe; to me that is the ultimate complement.
    Thank you for sharing-yum!

  32. 32

    Hi Laura and Jane. Here are some possible reasons for heavy bread. The first may be that it was under proofed. I’ve found that the time given in a recipe is really only a guideline, and every environment is unique. To tell if your dough is proofed, push your finger into the side of the dough about 1/2 an inch. It should spring back out at least half way. (BTW, you can over proof as well.) And yes, you can over knead dough, but that takes a long while! You should be able to “windowpane” the dough, which is to gently stretch a small piece thin enough to where it’s almost transparent without ripping. Your going for a balance of chew, the elasticity the dough has before breaking, and tenderness. If you can’t stretch the dough out very far without it fighting you, you may have gone to far. A long “rest” in the fridge may “relax” this issue.

    Hope that helps…

    I love cardamon bread!!!

  33. 34

    Thank you, Faye. I will try it again!

  34. 35

    the pictures were so helpful! ty you for the braiding tip. my loaves came out delish!
    thanx again

  35. 36
    Jane Maynard

    that’s what I like to hear – glad they came out! 🙂

  36. 37

    I have made the braid by making three “snakes” and braiding them together, but this way is far superior. Brushing the loaves with an egg beaten with a little water makes a nice shiny crust that holds the almonds and sugar on nicely. I serve this with “cardamom butter” which I make by taking unsalted butter, adding powdered sugar, a table spoon of brandy and ground cardamon. It should be soft enough to spread easily.

    Thank you so much. There is still a lot an old lady cna learn about her favorite recipes!

    • Jane Maynard

      katherine, so glad I could share something new with you about one of your old stand-by recipes! 🙂

      and I am TOTALLY going to try making that cardamom butter – so glad you shared that!!!

  37. 38

    Excellent….my husband is from Sweden and his mother is an avid baker and cook. I want to make this as a surprise…hope I can do it justice!!!

    • Jane Maynard

      I’m sure you will! that will be a great surprise! 🙂

      I love it with the glaze, but rock sugar on top I think is a bit more traditional…if you’re looking to impress the swedes. 😉 but seriously, the glaze is SO GOOD. 😉

      good luck!

      (I’m actually making this TODAY myself!)

  38. 39
    alyssa nelson

    thank you so much for posting some background information about this bread. my family has strong swedish roots and always made this bread. generations ago, however, they strongly pushed speaking only english in the house and, i think, a lot of the oral histories of their foods (among other things) were lost. recently, i found the EXACT same recipe you have posted, deep in my mother’s recipe drawer. i made it yesterday. my italian wife is now a convert, and pronounced it “better than cookies”. i will have to try the way you braided the bread. it looks lovely. and…the rock sugar on top is SO good. thank you!!!

    • Jane Maynard

      that is crazy you found the exact same recipe – how cool is that?! 🙂 and I’m glad we could convert an Italian over to our side! 🙂

      you’re welcome! thank you for your great comment!

  39. 40

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I’m making it today, and hope that it will become part of our Christmas tradition.

    This bread came to me each Easter from our dear neighbor growing up. It brings back memories of her visit to drop it off, and of me sneaking little pieces of it from the kitchen whenever the opportunity presented itself! 🙂

  40. 41

    Jane, Been making this same recipe for year (since the 60’s atleast) but never could figure out why it still did not look like my great grandmothers (born in Sweden) until I saw how you cut it up to weave instead of braiding. Thankyou for solving my family mystery.

    • Jane Maynard

      oooo fun! I helped solve a mystery! 🙂 you’re welcome – glad you can braid away now!

  41. 42

    Maybe I missed it, but did you ever say what to do with the slightly beaten egg, 1/4 c. sugar and chopped almonds? Also, does this recipe not call for any eggs?

    • Jane Maynard

      hi cheryl! it’s in step 4, if you’re making the buns. it’s funny you ask because EVERY TIME I make this recipe I wonder “what about the egg, sugar and almonds” and then go through and read the recipe again and there it is! anyway, you can use it or not – it’s up to you!

      I generally do brush the braids and/or buns with egg before baking so they golden up a bit more. I usually don’t top with sugar and almonds.

      and, the bread itself does not have any eggs in the dough.

      hope that’s helpful!

  42. 43

    I’ve made my grandmothers recipe for what she called “Swedish coffee cake” for years, and have misplaced the recipe. I had it stored on a computer that crashed, and the Hard copy, is probably in a box in my attic…This sounds almost exactly like her recipe. I’ve always braided by dividing dough into 3 smaller, equal size balls and roll/stretching (gently so as not to tear the dough) into 3 long ropes which I would braid. I think I may try your method. I’ve topped with a glaze, sometimes with chopped nuts added, my mom liked to brush the dough with a milk mixture before baking and sprinkle the top with cinamon and sugar. I prefer the icing or glaze…and almonds slivered are wonderful. Also have done with fillings such as an almond paste…all good. I love cardamon and thought of it as a swedich spice all my life, not realizing it’s versatility until Imet someone from India who added it to tea, and many Indian foods are prepared with the spice also.

  43. 44

    Oh, and by the way, thank you

  44. 45

    I can not wait to try this. I have Grandma Olson recipe but it never seems to come out very good. So excited to share this with my family – my husband is also swedish and his mom use to make this bread.
    Looking forward to sharing this with my 2 little swedish girs.
    BIG THANK YOU!! looks great!

  45. 46
    Svenska Flicka

    This IS Christmas morning to me……lightly toasted cardamon bread and lucia buns. Our local Swedish bakery has gone out of business and this recipe will be a godsend to my family this season and thereafter! Thank you!

  46. 47

    Do you let the dough rise after braiding and before baking? Thanks!

    • Jane Maynard

      yes! it’s confusing, that is outlined in step 4, but it doesn’t specifically say that when I describe the braid. I’ll go in and make a note, but, yes, let rise to about double in size after you make the braid and before baking! 🙂

    • Janice

      Thanks, Jane. I had actually posted my question while I was making the bread. I ended up baking it without letting it rise after braiding, but it still came out beautiful and delicious. I plan to make it again on New Year’s Eve, with the additional rise time, and I’m sure it will come out even better. Thanks so much for the recipe, and happy holidays!

    • Jane Maynard

      glad it still came out just fine and that you loved it! I can’t wait to make it myself this week 🙂

  47. 48

    I have been making this bread at Christmas for 25 years. I make loaves to give to neighbors on Christmas Eve. I use bread flour, and roll out strands that I braid. It isn’t Christmas without it!

    • Jane Maynard

      I’ve never given it away – we eat it all! what a wonderful gift! I want to be your neighbor! 🙂

  48. 49

    My daughter made this bread in Philadelphia, froze a loaf, and then mailed the frozen loaf
    to me.It arrived perfectly and I shared a few slices with Church Women friends,but it is so
    delicious that I intend to enjoy alot of it thru the Christmas season! I am so proud of her
    that she made the recipe and it looks just like the pictures here! Thanks, Heathermarie!
    Love, Mom

  49. 50

    I ate this coffee bread as a child and I have been making it for many years from an old cookbook from my grandparents church. I too make it at Chriatmas and give loaves to my children and grandchildren to keep up my swedish tradition. I will try your recipe this year as I’ve always had trouble rolling out the dough for a long enough braid and your method looks beautiful. My recipe also called for eggs and I want to see if it will be lighter without them. I can’t wait to smell it baking.

    • Jane Maynard

      I’ll be curious to see how the recipes compare! and I hope this braiding technique makes things easier for you – I love it! have fun baking! 🙂

  50. 51
    Everett Gustav Jacobson Jr.

    Hi Jane,

    Thank you for posting this recipe. Our family (all of the grandparents) came from Sweden in early 1900’s – so there’s a rich heritage of Swedish tradition. My mom is gone; she often baked bulle and braided bread for our family of 12. The distinct smell of cardamon wafting through the house when I arrived home from school was one of those very special experiences — only topped by spreading some butter on one, two or three bulle and savoring the delicious flavor.
    It has been a long time since we have had vetebröd but I’ve been inspired by all of the earlier posts and the excitement generated – your enthusiasm is quite obvious. Today, some vetebröd will find its way into the oven. I hope to do it justice – in appearance, flavor and texture – because the little arbiters (8 of 13 grandkids) will be here on Monday.

    Merry Christmas!!

    • Jane Maynard

      thanks for your great comment – love it! and enjoy the bread, today! I am sure you’ll do it justice. I think I’ll be making mine tomorrow – can’t wait to eat it! 🙂

  51. 52
    Carl Svenhard

    Was sitting here feeling melancholy. Listening to a recording of a fifty year old Christmas dinner of my farmor and Farfar. Bless them .. Could just taste the cardamom .. Found your receipe. And thought why not make this ..thank you and Merry Christmas ..

  52. 53
    Elsa Anders

    Hi! I always had this brod for Christmas, but our version added currents, so it was a little like stolen the German. You absolutely should have the almonds,and cardamon!

  53. 54

    I baked this vetebröd this morning and it’s delicious!!!

    And a very good 2013 🙂

  54. 55
    Everett Gustav Jacobson Jr.

    Hi. Made vetebröd (twice) since earlier post – once with my wife and then again with our 35+ year old daughter last night (as she wanted a baking lesson from dad). Tastes great and looks great. I recall the braids and bulle that my mom made years ago were very smooth on the outer surfaces. It appears that I need to change something with how I am working with the dough to end up with smoother braids. On each one, there were places where the “cells” opened up, exposing a “rough” looking surface. Does that indicate a need to add more flour, use less, knead more or ?? Any ideas. Thanks.

    • Jane Maynard

      my first guess is that you need to knead longer. I think that will probably do the trick!

  55. 56
    Everett Gustav Jacobson Jr.

    Thank you. Will give more kneading a try and see how that goes. Have to give the carbs a break for a little while.;<)

    • Jane Maynard

      do let me know if that helps!

      and, amen to the carbs…good golly the last few weeks have been devilishly delicious! 😉

  56. 57

    The Vetebrod looks delicious. I am wondering if anyone has a recipe for a Swedish pastry/bread called Vinebrod. I have the recipe left by my Aunt Signe but some of the writing is faded and I would love to be sure I have it correct. Thanks!

    • Jane Maynard

      sadly I do not, wendy – hopefully someone else will be able to chime in!

    • Craig V

      Wendy, I just did some searching and running the word through translators, and *think* vinebrot is actually “weinerbrot”, which is Swedish for “danish pastry”. When I searched for vinebrot a few hits landed on Danish kringle recipes, the incredibly flaky pastry. Leave yourself lots of time, plenty of folding and waiting for that one…

  57. 58

    I can’t wait to try this. I used to bake with my swedish grandmother when I was a child. We make this all the time. She left me her cookbooks (all in swedish) and I have been trying to make the recipes…they don’t always come out right…hopefully this will be close!

    • Jane Maynard

      you just need to track down a swede to translate and convert everything for you! 🙂 I do love that you have her cookbooks, so neat. lmk how the bread goes!

  58. 59
    Craig V

    My granmother used to make a very similar recipe to this. She gave me the recipe, and I managed to botch three starters before calling her to figure out my mistake (it wasn’t 3/4th’s cup flour, but rather 3 or 4 cups! Duh..) and made a great batch. I made it again a few years later, but hadn’t found the time again since. Of course I’ve managed to lose her recipe and spent a lot of time searching for a similar recipe. I think yours is very close. The key is in the three risings. We add raisins and citron, but the basics are all there. Thank you so much.

    It was wonderful reading all the passion folks have for this bread. It really does take me back to Mom-mar and Pop-pop’s house. Aw heck, now I’m tearing up…

  59. 60

    Craig V.: Thank you so much for your reply!! I saw the Danish Kringle recipes as well and I think you are correct. Now I just need a full free day to make it!

  60. 61
    Craig V

    @Wendy: you’re very welcome, I’m happy if I’ve helped at all. The Swedish bread recipe worked really well, I’ve got two tasty loaves, and will no doubt bake some more over the holidays. Finding the time is tough but SO worth it!

  61. this looks gorgeous – I’ve pinned it!

  62. 63
    Lauren Zucchi

    I am so glad I came across this recipe. Thank you so much. My Nanny was swedish and I remember the braided bread. I have been trying to recreate it. I got my hands on an old cookbook by the American daughters of Sweden published in 1955 and trying to decipher what they are ACTUALLY saying has been hard. For example, did not know softened butter was cooled melted butter. Very important. I’ll try again today. Thanks!!

  63. 64


    I love this recipe.

    Can you put it to9 rise in fridge overnight and bake next morning>

    • that is a good question. this recipe is sort of similar to cinnamon rolls, all the dough is much richer. I imagine it may work, definitely worth a try, but I have never done it myself. if you try it, let us know what happens!

  64. 65

    I made this for Sunday brunch today, and it was a hit! I was afraid my kids wouldn’t like the cardamon, so I substituted with cinnamon. The braiding technique is pure genius and makes for a show stopper presentation. I opted for vanilla glaze with sliced almonds on top.

    Thank you for sharing this delightful recipe.

    • hi jocelyn – SO happy this was a success for you!

      my grandma would make half a batch with cardamom and half with cinnamon for me when I was a kid. but, as craig v says below, don’t be scared of the cardamom for the kids’ sake. if you want it next time, go for it! I have never given my kids the cinnamon option and they LOVE this bread…it really is so good they don’t notice the unique spice! 🙂

      thanks for the comment, I really appreciate it!

  65. 66
    Craig V

    Awww, the cardamom is what makes this recipe great! As a kid I loved it, and didn’t know what the spice was. But glad you liked it either way, it’s a wonderful bread.

  66. 67

    I have been looking for my Swedish Grandma’s recipe and couldn’t find it but settled on this one instead. I haven’t ever tried this sort of bread before (except once as a young girl with my Grandma) but I have been wanting to lately.

    I am baking this right now. It looks good but my dough does not look like the photos. I tried to count the cups of flour exactly but my dough came out quite sticky. I used a mixer so I was able to work it without adding more flour (I always find that with kneading I end up adding more flour). I didn’t want to add more flour because of the size of my mixer. Anyway, I think it’s going to turn out fine but the dough was very difficult to work with for the braid. Actually, it was a little like pizza dough.

    I did add a filling though. I know this probably isn’t authentic but I used dates, cinnamon, sugar and butter. I remember my Grandma adding some cinnamon, sugar, butter, raisin filling. I don’t have raisin but I do have dates. I diced them fine and we’ll see.

    I do have whole cardamon which I removed from the pods and put in my Bullet with the milling blade. It worked great! When I opened the bullet this wonderful strong smell of fresh cardamon hit me. Whew! I love it and am looking forward to this bread.

    • hi alison! so glad you commented – let us know how it came out!

      next time you make it feel free to add flour until the dough is workable – it should be pretty easy to work with when you’re making the braid, stretchy and smooth – just knead in more flour until you get to that consistency! you could even knead it on your board instead of in the mixer for each braid, since your mixer was quite full. hopefully that made sense!

      I’m sure the filling was delicious – that’s fun your grandma would do that!!

  67. 68

    We come from a Swedish family. The cardamom Bread. was made in small round loafs ,when they were taken out of the oven they were brushed with strong coffee and sprinkled with white sugar ( I use instant coffee 1 tablespoon to 1/4 cup hot water brush loaf and sprinkle with sugar). These are given at Christmas to family and friends,also served at Christmas in our house with cheese and coffee. My Formor taught me. It is nice to see how others made it, have had many requests for the recipe.I will also try your Recipe Thank you.

  68. 69
    Kevin Ferguson

    Jane…l have my great grandmother (from Finland) cardamon bread recipe written in her hand. I have only tried to cut the 25+ loaf recipe down and bake it once a very long time ago…Lol it was a mess. I love the broke down recipe with picks you posted thank you. I’m going to attempt it today.
    I will also go back to my files and see if I can find the gingerbread recipe where she folded a rolled up long thin ribbon into a bow and made a gingerbread man out of it. It was pretty amazing it was a 3 loop bow all one piece all the grandkids got one for Christmas.. and then of course had to steal bites of the cardamon bread which were only given to the adults.LOL.

    • how wonderful to have the recipe in her handwriting – those are my favorite kind. so funny it’s for 25 loaves – that WOULD be hard to scale down! I hope that this recipe can be good alternative for you!

      happy baking! thank you for your wonderful comment!

  69. 70

    is it 5 c or 8 c flour?

    • hi karen – it’s 8 cups total. I think you might be referring to step 3, where I say I put all 5 cups in at once. that’s actually 5 cups remaining flour at once – 3 cups were added before the first rise, in step 1. so, 8 total! 5 in step 3. hopefully that makes sense!

  70. 71
    Eric Ericson

    I was taught this is the traditional bread for St Lucy’s day (December13), but we always ate it at Christmas. We moved last year and I have not found the recipe. My mom died at thanksgiving, and I can no longer ask her for a copy. Thank you for rescuing me.

    We always made it with pearl sugar and almonds baked on top. coat top with lightly beaten egg and drop on almonds and sugar. They will stick in the egg. If you cannot find pearl sugar use broken up sugar cubes.

  71. 72
    Dianne Marie

    Dear Jane,
    How wonderful to have come across your site. I was searching for a comparative vetebröd recipe to my Great-grandmother’s. Yours is the closest to hers. This will be my first attempt at making vetebröd since my beloved mother insisted on making it right up to just before she died. As the matriarch in this Swedish family it is a requirement that I carry on the tradition. Inherently, my daughter is a marvelous cook and baker. I suspect that once I have the vetebröd mastered she will continue the tradition.
    I grew up in my Great-grandmother’s farmhouse kitchen and then in my Grandmother’s pantry and my mother’s kitchen. Those are some of my best memories. Thank you for putting me back in touch with them.
    I will continue to read your posts with great interest.

  72. 73
    Wendy Mason

    This is very similar to a recipe handed down from my Swedish grandmother. She called the bread hemborka, which we later found out meant homemade. We make traditional braids with three equal pieces of dough rolled out, however, I am now inspired to try it your way as it looks beautiful. We also simply brush the top with butter and a sugar cinnamon mixture. One thing that I can say for certain is that whole cardamom pods crushed in a mill are far superior to already ground cardamom. Having made it both ways, I will never make it without fresh ground pods. It makes all of the difference in the uniqueness of this bread. Thank you for bringing this very special bread to others. For me, it is still a beautiful(and yes Christmas)reminder of my wonderful grandma Inez.

  73. 74
    Wendy S. Sandstrom

    I am new to baking bread. Started with my mom’s favorite cranberry, walnut whole wheat, and moved on to challah. Loved the cardamom coffee cake a local, but now closed, bakery made around Valentine’s Day, so have been looking for the right recipe to try. Despite having to start over three times, I finally finished with great results! I had to dumb it down a bit and do some searching for which flour to use and what exactly does “lukewarm” mean when you are baking bread. Thank you for publishing your wonderful recipe!

  74. I had a problem with the rise. The loaf spread out and did not rise in height like I thought it should. Any suggestions?

Leave a comment

9 Trackbacks