How to Make a Super Soft & Fragrant Braided Cardamom Loaf

This bread is inspired by the Finnish pulla. A soft and sweet Christmas bread flavoured with cardamom. It has all the best characteristics for a great seasonal baking project. And it’s super easy as per usual.

When someone tells me they want to make a bread similar to brioche but with less fat this is the type of recipe I recommend. Light and airy yet still feeling like it’s rich. This effect is achieved by using the scalding method.

You can use this dough to make individual rolls too. If you want to make a free-standing loaf, I’d suggest lowering the hydration a bit to prevent the loaf from spreading out sideways too much.

This dough will fit perfectly in a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.

Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.


For the scald

80g (2.8oz) white bread flour

70g (2.5oz) dried cranberries or raisins

200g (7oz) boiling water


For the main dough –

1 egg (50g; 1.75oz)

6g (0.21oz) instant dry yeast or 7.2g (0.25oz) active dry yeast or 18g (0.63oz) fresh yeast

8g (0.28oz) salt

40g (1.4oz) sugar

60g (2.1oz) butter

6g (0.21oz) cardamom pods or 3g (0.1oz) pre-ground cardamom

370g (13oz) white bread flour


To top –

1 egg for glazing

Pearl sugar


To learn more about no-knead bread dough temperature control click here.

The flour I use has a protein content of 13%. If your flour is weaker, then you may need to lower the hydration. 

If you are using active dry yeast, then you may need to let it sit in the water for 10 minutes before adding the other ingredients or else it could take a lot longer to raise the dough.

If you are curious about why the dough contains butter, egg, and sugar, click the links to learn more about the effects those ingredients have on bread dough.


  1. Make the scald. In a large bowl combine the flour, cranberries, and boiling water. Mix well until there is no dry flour left. Cover and leave to cool down.
  2. Make the dough. Add the egg, yeast, salt, sugar, butter, and cardamom to the scald. Mix well. Add the flour and mix to a dough. *Desired dough temperature 25C (77F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer. Adjust fermentation time accordingly.
  3. Cover and ferment for 1 hour.
  4. Fold.
  5. Ferment for 1 more hour.
  6. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Pre-shape into rough cylinders. Cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
  7. Roll out the dough pieces and braid them together. Brush with egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar or some other topping. Place in a greased loaf tin.
  8. Cover and final proof for 1 – 1.5 hours. During this time pre-heat the oven to 160C (320F) fan on.
  9. Bake for 40 minutes.
  10. Remove from the tin and bake for 10 more minutes.

Leave to cool down and enjoy!


Keep in mind that the conditions in each kitchen are different, so fermentation times may vary for you. It is up to the baker to control the bread and react accordingly.

Your oven may be different too, so your baking time may vary.

Watch The Video Here

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