I’ve had so much fun sharing bread recipes with you, courtesy of my husband. This cardamom bread absolutely had to make the list because it’s my all time favorite sweet bread! Now, I leave you in good hands with my hubby…
This bread is a college flashback for me. If I recall the story correctly, my roommate had to make something to eat for a class of his. He remembered this bread from his childhood and asked his mom for the recipe. After a bit of grocery shopping and trying to find a dorm room with access to an oven, we made this bread. To say a couple people stopped by the kitchen that night to figure out what smelled so good would be a bit of an understatement. This is what I call a “dessert bread”. It’s sweeter and heavier than normal bread, and it definitely won’t win healthy food awards, but you may need to booby trap the place where you store it to keep it from disappearing.
Since that night, I’ve made this bread about forty times. I’ve modified the recipe a little from the original to simplify the steps, to use a stand mixer, and to have way more cardamom, but otherwise this remains true to the original all the way down to the braiding of the dough before baking it. Cardamom is a relatively expensive spice, but I love it so much that using more of it than the original recipe called for is completely worth it for me.
Cardamom Bread Recipe
(Makes 1 loaf. Takes around 3 hours to prepare.)
Ingredients for Bread:
- 1/2 cup butter (equivalent to 1 stick)
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast (equivalent to 1 packet)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
- 4 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Ingredients for Topping:
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cardamom
- sugar to sprinkle on top
- Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature it will allow and then turn it off. If that temperature is above about 100 F leave it open for a while to cool down again. You do NOT want to dry out or cook the dough. The perfect temperature for dough to rise in barely feels warm at all. Your goal is a draft free warm place to put the dough.
- Dice the butter and then melt it in the microwave for about 60 seconds. (The dicing helps it to melt evenly before it becomes too hot.)
- Warm the milk in the microwave for around 30 seconds. (Just enough to take the chill out of it.)
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the warm water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let the yeast bloom for about 5 minutes.
- Add the warm milk, melted butter, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of sugar, salt, and cardamom to the stand mixer.
- Using the dough hook attachment, turn the stand mixer on a low speed.
- Add the flour one cup at a time.
- Allow the dough to knead in your stand mixer for about 5 minutes until the dough is silky and smooth.
- Grease a large bowl with cooking spray.
- Transfer the dough to the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Place the bowl in the slightly warmed oven (prepared above) for 90 to 120 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Punch down the dough to remove air bubbles and then divide the dough into three even pieces.
- Roll the three pieces of dough into thick strands and then braid them together.
- Separate the yolks out of 2 eggs (you don’t need the whites for this recipe) and beat them lightly with a fork.
- Stir 1/2 tablespoon of cardamom into the egg yolks.
- Brush the braided loaf with with the egg mixture and then sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 35 minutes.
Like most breads, you start by waking up your yeast. In this one you use very little water because there are a lot of other wet ingredients coming soon. Unlike some other breads, for this one you provide a tasty snack of sugar to the yeast right away. This helps the yeast to start multiplying right out of the gate.
After adding all the other wet ingredients, the recipe looks a bit like you are making the weirdest soup in history. While it looks rather gross, it already smells amazing thanks to all that delicious cardamom.
After adding the flour and mixing it up a bit, you’ll end up with dough that is still rather moist and sticky, but no longer looks like a science experiment in nasty soup.
Move the dough to a greased bowl so it can rise comfortably. Since there isn’t a lot of yeast in this recipe, it can take a little bit longer to get to doubled size.
In my case, I was happy with the rise after around 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Now comes the tricky part. This loaf isn’t just delicious it’s also super pretty. If you don’t know how to braid, you should consider practicing before you make this bread. If you feel you have no hope of braiding the bread it may be possible to skip this step entirely, but I’ve never tried it so I’m not sure. The internal structure created by the braided parts being separate pieces of dough is pretty awesome.
Once the dough is braided you should gently squish the loaf from the ends to make it a bit shorter, taller, and wider. Once you have the proper loaf shape, it’s time to top it with some egg, some more cardamom for flavor, and some sugar because a sweetened crust just goes perfectly with a sweet dessert bread.
Be prepared for your house (or your dorm room kitchen) to smell amazing. Baking this bread releases large amounts of cardamom scented steam and that in turn makes college kids or family members come out of the woodwork following their noses.
This bread, like so many bread recipes out there, is quite a pile of steps, and believe it or not this is the simplified version. The result however will blow your mind. This bread almost immediately became Tina’s “favorite bread on Earth” after I made it for her the first time. To this day she actively tries to persuade me to NOT make it because she knows there is just simply no self control for anyone in the presence of this bread.
Is it just me or is it fun to see all the cardamom specs in the bread? This bread is moist and because it’s braided you can even pull some of the pieces apart, similar to the way you can with cinnamon swirl bread.
That sugary crust is my wife’s favorite part. It’s crunchy, sweet, and packs that last little bit of cardamom into every bite.
What other bread recipes would you like to see here?
Adapted from a recipe provided by Dave’s roommate’s mom.
Here are some other bread recipes from Dave’s Bread Corner