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What Is Cardamom Bread? Discover the Aromatic Delight of This Sweet, Spiced Loaf

Cardamom bread, a fragrant delight, is a Scandinavian staple known as 'pulla.' Infused with the warm, aromatic spice of cardamom, this sweet, braided loaf is often enjoyed during festive occasions. Its soft, pillowy texture and subtle sweetness make it a comforting treat alongside coffee or tea. Ready to discover the rich cultural history baked into every slice?
Allison Boelcke
Allison Boelcke

Cardamom bread is a Scandinavian baked good that is primarily flavored with ground cardamom. Cardamom is a spice made from the dried pods and seeds of the cardamom plant and is closely related to ginger. Although the spice tends to be most commonly associated with Indian cuisine, it is also used in Scandinavian bread and dessert recipes.

The basic dry ingredients for a standard cardamom recipe generally consists of yeast, flour, and ground cardamom. These dry ingredients are usually combined with butter, eggs, milk, and sugar to form a thick bread dough with a sweet undertone. It is generally recommended to knead the dough just until the ingredients are combined and the dough is loosened enough to have an elastic texture. Handling the dough too much can cause the finished bread to have a tough, chewy texture instead of the tender texture that is usually desired. Once the dough is formed, it generally requires approximately one hour of sitting for it to fully rise before it can be shaped and baked.

The ground, dried seeds and pods are used to flavor cardamom bread.
The ground, dried seeds and pods are used to flavor cardamom bread.

Cardamom bread is often shaped into a variety of forms before it is baked. For simple, everyday occasions, the bread is often baked in a loaf pan or bundt pan and sliced before serving or the dough may be shaped into individual rolls or buns. Special occasions, especially holidays, tend to have bread that is braided for a more ornate, decorative look. The braided look is accomplished by dividing the dough into three sections and loosely interweaving them together before baking.

Cardamon may be used to settle digestive upsets.
Cardamon may be used to settle digestive upsets.

Due to the sweet flavor of cardamom bread, it is often served plain without any other accompaniments because the sugar and cardamom spice add a distinctive flavor. Plain versions of the bread are often served along with coffee or tea as a breakfast or snack item. When the bread is served as a dessert, it may be topped with a thin vanilla icing drizzled over the top or sprinkled with chopped nuts.

Cardamom bread may be eaten on its own, but it may also form the basis of other recipes. The distinctive ground cardamom and sugar may make the bread less suitable for savory recipes, such as sandwiches. Leftover pieces of the bread are often used in dishes that are meant to have a sweeter taste, such as French toast or bread pudding. Using leftover bread that is at least a day old makes gives it a slightly harder texture so it can withstand being covered in batters, custards, or other liquid bases without becoming soggy.

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Discussion Comments


@bear78-- I remember seeing a recipe for cinnamon and cardamom bread in one of my baking books. So maybe that's something you should try. I think you will just add some cardamom powder along with cinnamon powder in the recipe.

As far as I know, cardamom dough is a staple dough used for many different types of breads and baked goods in Scandinavian baking. It's used to make various breads and also breakfast and dessert cakes.

The trick to a good cardamom bread is grinding the cardamom pods fresh before adding them. Pre-ground cardamom powder will not taste as good.


@bear78-- I suppose you could say that. Like cinnamon bread, cardamom bread is also a sweet bread made with yeast. And it is consumed in a similar fashion.

The difference between them is that cardamom bread comes in different shapes and forms. It's also popular in many European countries and may be made slightly differently in each one.

I had cardamom bread in Finland and it was more like a pastry rather than a bread. The dough was braided and it was fairly sweet, although not sweet like dessert. I had it for breakfast along with coffee and it was quite delicious. I'm not too fond of cardamon in other recipes, but I do like cardamom bread.


Can we say that cardamom bread is the Scandinavian version of cinnamon bread? Because it sounds like cardamon bread is eaten the same way as cinnamon bread, as snack, breakfast or dessert.

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    • The ground, dried seeds and pods are used to flavor cardamom bread.
      By: margo555
      The ground, dried seeds and pods are used to flavor cardamom bread.
    • Cardamon may be used to settle digestive upsets.
      By: ryanking999
      Cardamon may be used to settle digestive upsets.