Kardemummakrans (Swedish Braided Bread)
This is a traditional Swedish Christmas bread that is well loved at our house. I made it over Christmas one time at my parents’ place and my brother-in-law liked this bread SO much he asked me for the recipe so he could make it … and he doesn’t even cook normally! My sister tells me he did actually make this bread.
This is a great bread to bring to potlucks or family gatherings. Everyone will love you if you bring this. It also makes good neighbor gifts in the middle of the winter when your neighbor clears off all the snow from your driveway and you want to give them something to say “thank you!”
My daughter loves doing the braiding and specially requested this bread this morning. So yes, this is all her handiwork. All I did was the measuring and the baking.
It has such a fun name, doesn’t it? I love saying Kardemummakrans.
Adapted from Sunset Gifts from Your Kitchen
You can substitute part whole wheat flour if you like … I do that sometimes, but today I was suspicious that my yeast wasn’t happy, so I used all white flour.
- 3 T. butter, melted
- 1 1/4 c. lowfat milk
- 1 egg
- 1/4 t. salt
- 2 1/4 t. yeast (or one package active dry yeast)
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 3/4 t. ground cardamom
- 4 c. bread flour + more as needed
- Candied cherries (optional)
- Lemon glaze (recipe below)
Melt the butter, then stir in a bit of the cold milk to cool it down. Let it cool a while to make sure it’s cooled completely. Put it in the bread machine along with the rest of the ingredients and turn it onto the “dough” setting.
When the dough is ready, dump it out onto a clean flat floured surface and cut into three equal pieces. (If you want smaller loaves, you can cut into 6 equal parts instead and make two bread wreaths instead of one big one.)
Pull gently to lengthen each piece …
… until it becomes a nice long rope …
Repeat for all three dough pieces. Try to get the three ropes about the same length. Dab the ends of the ropes with milk to seal them together at one end.
Loosely braid the three ropes …
Continue braiding …
Until you’ve got a beautiful long bread braid!
Spray a large baking sheet or platter with cooking spray, then gently lift the braid onto the baking sheet. Form the braid into a ring, pinching the ends together.
Spray with cooking spray and and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place until big and poufy or doubled in size (30 minutes – 1 hour).
Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for about 30 minutes or until loaf is medium brown. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Let cool a bit before glazing.
Prepare the glaze and drizzle over the bread. Decorate with cherries if you like.
- 1 c. powdered sugar
- Juice from 1 lemon
Mix the powdered sugar and the lemon juice together till smooth. The glaze should be thin so it can be lightly drizzled over the bread.