Finnish Sweet Cardamom Raisin (Cranberry) Bread – A Recipe Review

I’ve been looking for a really good Cardamom Bread recipe, and I’m so fortunate to have found the perfect one over at Epicurious, with Finnish Sweet Cardamom Raisin Bread.  The ingredients were just what I was hoping for; not too much sugar, a healthy but not overwhelming amount of Cardamom, and a light egg yolk wash for the perfect finish (no pun intended).

Finnish Sweet Cardamom Cranberry Bread

Finnish Sweet Cardamom Cranberry Bread

I followed the recipe exactly, however I did opt for dried cranberries in place of the raisins.  In my humble opinion, the citrus-like scent and flavor of cardamom just lended itself to cranberries, and it turned out to be an excellent marriage of flavors!

Since I did not create this recipe, you’ll need to visit the Epicurious link I’ve provided above for the recipe, but I’ll go over the steps below.  Pretty standard bread-making, though…

directionsbanner

re-hydrating cranberries

re-hydrating cranberries

Measure the dried cranberries or raisins and soak in hot tap water until they are plump, then drain.

Proof the yeast by adding the warm water and a pinch of sugar, stir.  Place this in a warm area to sit for about 5 minutes, after which it should become a little frothy and look like this:

proofing yeast

proofing yeast

You can buy ground cardamom, but if you use whole cardamom like I do (because it stays fresh longer), you’ll need to grind it by hand or with an electric spice mill.

grinding spices

grinding spices

Mix the dry ingredients together, then cut in the cold butter and blend with the flour until it well combined:

DSCN0934

Combine the warm milk, whole egg, and yeast mixture together, then add to the flour mixture.  Combine ingredients, then turn out onto a well floured surface.

Knead for about 8 minutes.

kneading bread dough

kneading bread dough

Spread the dough out and top with the raisins or cranberries.  Fold the dough over and knead until the fruit is well incorporated throughout the dough.

DSCN0938

Place the dough in a large buttered bowl.  I always drop the bread dough into the buttered (or oiled) bowl, then flip it over once to coat all sides of the dough.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or a tea towel, and let it rise until doubled.

bread dough after 1st rising

bread dough after 1st rising

I love this picture with the cranberries and black cardamon flecks peeking though the dough!

Punch down the dough, divide into two equal amounts, then divide each into three more equal parts for the braids.  Now you have six pieces, enough to braid into two loaves.  Roll each piece into 15″ lengths, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Braid both loaves, loosely cover, place in a warm spot again and let rise for the second time until doubled.

Next, brush the loaves with an egg yolk and water mixture.

brush with egg yolk & water

brush with egg yolk & water

Now all you need to do is bake!  Enjoy!

This is a lightly sweet bread, tender on the inside, and almost flaky on the outside!  Great texture!

Finnish Sweet Cardamom Cranberry Bread

Finnish Sweet Cardamom Cranberry Bread

recipe notes

This bread dough starts out rather sticky.  Of course you’ll want to add a little flour here and there to keep it from sticking, but resist the urge to add too much flour.  Kneading will take up some of the tackiness, and it will be worth it in the end, resulting in a lighter texture.

If you read the reviews on the website, almost all of them said the baking time was way too long.  I found the baking time to be about right.  Ovens vary, so who knows.

Have fun!

Jeanne

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