Finnish Sweet Bread

Published on March 20, 2021 | Updated on July 8, 2024 | by Nathan Crane

Multiple rise bread – Finnish sweet bread recipe featured image

The wonderful aroma of this bread being toasted carries a wealth of memories of Christmas. As a young teenager learning from Mummu (a Finnish term of endearment for grandma, great grandma in this case) how to grind the cardamom seed with the back of a spoon in a wooden bowl, then building the dough and bread; these are all part of the tapestry of family cooking tradition.

The process for this bread is very similar to brioche. It is rich with eggs, butter and sugar built together to make a fun attractive loaf that will become a favorite in your house. It uses cardamom to add flavor. You can buy whole seeds or ground. The difference is that you will notice a more aromatic flavor from whole seeds. When you peel the relatively soft shell off the seed, it should have a very dark color with light white webbing. If it is reddish that usually means it has dried up and won’t have much flavor. The seeds are hard and a mortar and pestle became the tool of choice to grind them down.

Multiple rise bread – Finnish sweet bread recipe featured image

Finnish Bread recipe

Total Time 3 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 80 kcal


  • Mixing bowl
  • Saucepan or Microwave
  • Loaf pan


  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground cardamom seed
  • 1 Tablespoon Instant yeast.
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Cups All-purpose flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 3 Cups Flour
  • ½ Cup Granulated sugar
  • Cold coffee, not quite covering the sugar


  • Slice two cubes of butter, separately, into ½ inch pieces. Place one cube into your mixing bowl. Scald two cups of milk either in a saucepan or microwave, and pour over the butter. Put the other cube into the warmed milk dish and set aside to soften.
    Add to the butter and milk in the bowl;
    2 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cardamom seed
    butter and milk in bowls for Finnish Bread recipe
  • Let cool until under 100 degrees. Add;
    1 Tablespoon, or one packet, instant yeast.1 cup sugar
  • Let sit for 10 minutes. Add and mix with the paddle;
    4 cups all-purpose flour, 4 eggs, 1 teaspoon salt
    xmas bread dough before kneading for Finnish Bread recipe
  • When well mixed, switch to a dough hook and add;
    3 cups flour
    xmas bread dough before rise for Finnish Bread recipe
  • Churn until well mixed and pulling from the sides, set to low speed to knead. The remaining cube of butter should be well softened, if not, warm it until just starting to melt.Add roughly one third at a time to the dough as it kneads, until all the butter has been incorporated.Continue to knead another couple minutes until the dough is smooth. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.
  • This is where this recipe gets fun. After the rise, cut the dough into four of five equal pieces. The number depends partly on your loaf pan size, five is right for a standard pan
    xmas bread raw dough for Finnish Bread recipe
  • just under 9×5 inches, but they vary somewhat. Then cut each piece into thirds. Roll those pieces in your hands to make equal length ‘snakes’ of dough.
    xmas bread raw snakes of dough for Finnish Bread recipe
  • Pinch them together at the top and braid them down, pinching the ends together. Place each braided loaf into a lightly oiled pan. Let rise again until doubled, 60-90 minutes
    xmas bread raw braid for Finnish Bread recipe
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the loaves in the oven, allowing enough room for proper air circulation.
    xmas bread raw loaves in pan for Finnish Bread recipe
  • Bake about 25 minutes, until they sound hollow when the bottom is tapped, or until they have an internal temperature of 190 degrees. When done,remove from the pans and let them cool on a rack until they have reached room temperature…although we have been known to cut one open when warm, for quality control purposes of course.
    xmas bread baked loaves in pan for Finnish Bread recipe
  • For the finishing glaze, in a bowl add;
    ½ cup granulated sugar, Cold coffee, not quite covering the sugar
    xmas bread glaze for Finnish Bread recipe
  • When mixed, this should make a runny paste. For this step, we recommend leaving the bread on racks and placing them on a surface covered with plastic film or parchment. It will make clean up much easier. Brush each loaf well with the sugar mixture and allow to dry. Slice and serve, or toast and butter for a new Christmas memory.
    xmas bread freshly glazed loaves for Finnish Bread recipe


Calories: 80kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
About the Author Nathan Crane

I love to eat and I love to cook. I’ve been getting roped into Jacob’s business ideas for decades now, and Cookware Junkies is the best of the lot. Here at the site, I help with the test kitchens and videos, and do most of the write-ups. [Read More]

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