Swedish Traditions

A Sweet Swedish Send-Off To Daddy

Elle T, our Goddess of Good Eats, recently fielded a phone call from a former student of ours, who had attended one of our baking classes. Her family had moved from the Kansas City area and their belongings were still in storage, including a treasured recipe for Swedish Cardamom Bread that they had made in Paul’s class. Elle T listened to her sweet story and was so touched, she cleared her desk to locate and email the recipe. Here’s her story…

Swedish Cardamom BreadKate’s husband, Aaron, is an active duty serve member in the Army, and during their time at Fort Leavenworth, KS, they discovered The Culinary Center of Kansas City, where they attended cooking classes together. She says it was one of their favorite things to do for a date night. One class in particular was especially meaningful for them – The Holy Trinity of Swedish Bread Baking, taught by Master Baker Paul McCool.

Aaron’s family is Swedish, and while growing up, it was tradition to have Swedish cardamom bread at Christmas celebrations. His eldest sister is now the one that makes the bread every year, so they thought it was high time that they learn to make the bread themselves.

This year, Kate will be the one making cardamom bread in their home at Christmas. In May, their family did something they have done about every two years – they packed up their home once again and set off to a new location. Aaron, soon after arriving at his new duty station, learned that he would be deploying for an unknown amount of time.

Kate knew she wanted to do something special for Aaron since he would be missing Christmas at home this year, and she immediately knew what that something special would be… Swedish Cardamom Bread. Their belongings were in storage while they stayed in temporary lodging waiting for a home, so she didn’t have the recipe with her.

Swedish Cardamom BreadShe called us, explained the situation and asked if we would be willing to send the recipe from class so she could make the bread for Aaron. Elle T got the recipe right out to her. Kate’s daughter, Elizabeth, helped make the bread for them to enjoy one more time as a family before having to say goodbye to Daddy for an unknown amount of time.

Kate graciously shared her story and some pictures. Thanks Kate!

~~~ ~~~

Want to make this traditional Swedish bread at home? Here’s the recipe from our now-retired Breads Instructor Paul McCool. (Thanks for sharing the recipe, Paul!)

Swedish Cardamom Bread

Swedish Cardamom BreadDOUGH

  • 1 1/2 cups (340g) Milk, warm
  • 1 pkg/ 2 teaspoons (7g) Yeast, active dry
  • 2 teaspoons (4g) Cardamom, ground
  • 1 Egg + 1 Egg Yolk (reserve the white) (75g)
  • 1/3 cup (66g) Sugar, granulated
  • 1/4 teaspoon (2g) Salt, table
  • 1/2 cup (112g) Butter, softened
  • 5 – 5 1/2 cups Flour, bread or all-purpose

FILLING

  • Reserved egg white (35g)
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) Sugar, granulated
  • 2 teaspoons (4g) Cinnamon, ground
  • 1/4 cup (30g) Almonds, chopped

EGG WASH

  • 1 Egg (55g)
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) Milk

DOUGH PREPARATION

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the cardamom, sugar, egg and yolk, salt, and butter; blend.  Mix in 400 grams of flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in the remaining 300 grams of flour to form a soft dough.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Round the dough into a ball and place it in the bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Gently degas the dough.  Follow shaping and baking instructions.

FILLING PREPARATION

Beat the egg white just until evenly mixed; use to paint dough.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon until evenly blended.  Leave the almonds for scattering on dough.

SHAPING THE BREAD

Here are some options for how to shape your bread before baking:

  1. Divide each half into three portions. On a lightly floured surface, shape each portion into a 16-in.-long rope, slightly tapered at each end. Place three ropes on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  2. Roll each half into a rectangle, approximately 12×16 inches. Paint with half of the egg white and water mixture.  Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the rectangle, leaving a clean ½ to ¾ inch margin around all sides.  Scatter half of the chopped almonds over the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Roll up the dough from the long side.  Seal the seam by pinching the dough together; turn so that the seam faces the work surface.  Roll back and forth with light pressure to ensure that the seam is fully sealed.  Then seal the ends by pressing down with the edge of your hand and tuck the ends under the roll.  Pick the sealed roll up and place it on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.  Leave the roll in a straight line.  Using scissors held at roughly a 30-degree angle from horizontal, cut one-inch slices almost all of the way through the roll, leaving just the bottom layer connected.  Turn the first slice to the left and the second slice to the right, like alternating leaves on a vine.  Continue the alternating left-right-left-right turns for the slices.  Cover the dough so that it doesn’t dry out and allow it to rise until nearly doubled in size.
  3. Using all the dough, roll out a rectangle, approximately 12×32 inches. Paint with the egg white and water mixture.  Sprinkle all of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the rectangle, leaving a clean ½ to ¾ inch margin around all sides.  Scatter all of the chopped almonds over the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Roll up the dough from the long side.  Seal the seam by pinching the dough together; turn so that the seam faces the work surface.  Roll back and forth with light pressure to ensure that the seam is fully sealed.  Then seal the ends by pressing down with the edge of your hand and tuck the ends under the roll.  Pick the sealed roll up and place it on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.  Curve the roll into a circle, with the ends touching.  Using scissors held at roughly a 30-degree angle from horizontal, cut one-inch slices almost all of the way through the roll, leaving just the bottom layer connected.  Turn the first slice to the left and the second slice to the right, like alternating leaves on a vine.  Continue the alternating left-right-left-right turns for the slices so that the finished bread looks like a wreath.  Cover the dough so that it doesn’t dry out and allow it to rise until nearly doubled in size.
  4. Roll each half into a rectangle, approximately 12×16 inches. Paint with half of the egg white and water mixture.  Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the rectangle, leaving a clean ½ to ¾ inch margin around all sides.  Scatter half of the chopped almonds over the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Roll up the dough from the long side.  Seal the seam by pinching the dough together; turn so that the seam faces the work surface.  Roll back and forth with light pressure to ensure that the seam is fully sealed.  Then seal the ends by pressing down with the edge of your hand and tuck the ends under the roll.  Using a sharp knife, split the roll in half, lengthwise.  Pick up one half of the split roll and place it on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet with the cut face upward.  Pick up the second half and place it next to the first half, also cut side up, so that the two pieces almost touch.  Gently twist the two halves together from one end to the other so that they resemble a rope.  Tuck the ends underneath.  Cover the dough so that it doesn’t dry out and allow it to rise until nearly doubled in size.
  5. Roll each half into a rectangle, approximately 12×16 inches. Paint the central third of the dough along the long axis with half of the egg white and water mixture.  Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture over egg-washed area.  Scatter half of the chopped almonds over the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Make a series of angled, parallel cuts in the outer third (on either side of the filled center area) of the dough, from the edge of the filling to the outer edge of the dough.  The cuts should be ½ to ¾ of an inch apart, forming an equal number of dough strips, like a chevron, on either side of the filling.  Starting at one end, fold the first left-hand strip across the filling.  Then fold the first right-hand strip across the filling and the first left-hand strip.  Continue folding alternating strips across the filling and previous strips, producing a braided appearance.  Tuck loose ends of the strips inside.  Cover the dough so that it doesn’t dry out and allow it to rise until nearly doubled in size.

BAKING DIRECTIONS

Beat together the egg and milk for the egg wash until evenly mixed.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  When the oven is at temperature, brush the loaves with the egg wash.  (Option: scatter sliced or slivered almonds, or pearl sugar, on the egg-washed surface just before baking.)  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks.

Makes 2 Loaves.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD RECIPE >>

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