Thursday, December 14, 2017

Swedish Coffee Bread, a Christmas Tradition #recipe from Linda Wiken, author

It's Christmas Week on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen and, Christmas Baking Week at my house and that means just one thing, Swedish Coffee Bread. And, I mean one thing. That's all I bake. I admit it, I'm not into desserts (although I can be persuaded to eat the odd chocolatey mousse or Yule Log). But it wouldn't be Christmas without the aroma and taste of this delicious Swedish Coffee bread.

My Mom made it every year that I can remember and my Dad would wake me Christmas morning when it was still dark out, bringing me a cup of freshly-brewed coffee and a slice of coffee bread. I loved it and didn't even mind the early hour. In fact, it was exciting, eating my treat in bed then getting washed and dressed, to drive the empty streets to our church for the early morning service. It would start with candles and by the time the service was over, it would be light outside. Magical.

I slid into the role of official Sundman Swedish Coffee Bread baker and have upheld the tradition for many years, some more memorable and tasty than others. The memory and the taste are all rolled into one. I wear her Christmas apron when I'm baking. And I know she's there with me as I'm kneading and rolling the dough, sometimes pinching her lips, often smiling. That's Christmas to me.

This year, I did try a somewhat different recipe than the standard one, mainly because it doesn't call for milk, which is something I need to avoid. I don't know if it's because of that but although the bread takes delicious, it's not quite the same. And, something else that's different, I added some almond slices to part of one loaf, because my brother-in-law likes it that way. You could also added dried fruit as an extra treat.

Next year, I'm back to the basics but this year, we'll all enjoy this tradition with a new twist!

What you'll need:

6 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
2 packages active dry yeast
1 tsp. crushed cardamom seed
1 large eggs, room temperature
2. c. warm water
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter (or margarine) softened
1 tbsp milk (I used almond milk)
sugar for sprinkling on top

What to do:
 Pre-measure all ingredients and have at the ready. Sprinkle yeast into 2 c. warm water in a large mixing bowl and let stand for about 5 minutes until the yeast starts to bloom. Stir.

Stir in 1 egg, 1/3 c. sugar, salt, cardamom, butter and about 1/2 the flour.  Use an electric mixer or stir by hand until mixed then add the remaining flour. Continue to stir until the dough is soft and can form a large ball.

Place the dough in a greased large bowl, then turn over to grease the other side. Cover and place in a warm spot for 1 hour. It should then be doubled in size.

Punch down then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for at least 5 minutes. It should be smooth and free from all bubbles.

Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces and shape into ropes that are approx. 1 inch wide. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use 3 at a time to form two braids. Cover with a cloth and place in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

Mix the remaining egg, lightly beaten, with the milk and brush onto the braids. Sprinkle with sugar. Now's the time to add any other festive toppings you'd like. Place in a pre-heated 375 F oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned and thoroughly baked. Remove and cool on a rack before slicing.


 Coming March, 2018
Marinating in Murder, book #3

ROUX THE DAY, A Dinner Club Mystery is now available in paper and as an e-book. 
Recipes included!

TOASTING UP TROUBLE, the first in the Dinner Club Mysteries is available at your favorite bookstore and on-line, as a paperback and as an e-book.  
Recipes included!

Writing as Erika Chase -- the Ashton Corners Book Club Mystery series are available on-line or at your favorite bookstore.

Visit Linda at
Love to hear from you at my Facebook author page and
on Twitter  @LWiken  
Also appearing at

Visit Erika at 
 at my Facebook author page
and on Twitter  @erika_chase. 


  1. I absolutely love cardamom so this is a recipe I have to try. Yeast hates me but I will talk sweetly to it and maybe it will do what it should do.

  2. Brings back memories! My mother's second husband had Swedish parents, and his mother was a manic baker around the holidays--a dozen kind of cookies, plus the Swedish bread with cardamom each year (she also made great Swedish meatballs--I have her recipe). Love your pictures of the rising dough!

  3. Our aunt in Wisconsin used to send us a kringle every year at Christmas. Loved it! When we lived in Minnesota I got tickled at the availability and variety at Sam's Club. When we moved back to Houston I "imported" a kringle from Wisconsin for a couple of years for Dad to enjoy. Christmas traditions!

  4. Lovely loaves. I bet the cardamom adds a wonderful flavor.
    Have you tried using the almond milk in place of the regular milk or water?

  5. This looks amazing? For some reason I am scared of yeast although I absolutely love it. May have to face my fear and make this. Thanks for sharing