Swedish Coffee Bread


  • 1/4 cup (half a stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast (=2-1/4 tsp.)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, well-beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 rounded teaspoon cardamom seeds, ground just so they are cracked in a mortar and pestle
  • 2 more cups flour
  • As much more flour as necessary to knead the dough
  • cinnamon, sugar, butter for making a ring.


Melt 1/4 cup unsalted butter in a heavy pan over low heat or in a double-boiler.  Just as it all melts, add 1/4 cup milk and heat and stir until the milk is lukewarm (neither cold nor hot when you dunk your finger in it.  Oh, go ahead; you washed your hands, didn’t you?)

Add the lukewarm milk and butter to 1 package yeast in a small mixing bowl.  Add 1/2 cup flour and let rise a little, just to show it’s working.

Add the sugar, egg, salt, almond extract, and cardamom seeds to the mixture, and when well-mixed, add two more cups of flour, stir well, and let rise till double in size.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board, using enough more flour to enable you to knead it thoroughly, put it back into a covered bowl and let it rise again to double its size.

Shape the dough into a ring in this way:

Roll the dough as thin as possible into a large rectangle, using as little flour as you can  to keep the dough from sticking.  Spread the dough with melted butter, then sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on it, or whatever other non-bulky filling you like (I’ve used two apples peeled and cored and cut small and cooked briefly with apple-pie type spices and spread on top of the cinnamon and sugar; I’ve also used toasted slivered almonds a different time).  Roll the dough up like a jelly roll and join the ends to make a ring, then cut into the dough halfway through at right angles to the edge all the way around.  Place the dough on a greased or nonstick cookie sheet (I use a nonstick pizza pan).  Let it rise again (yes, that’s 3 risings!) and then bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Take out the baked ring, loosen (if necessary) from the pan, and let cool on a rack.


From Penny: My wonderful first mother-in-law (I still miss her!) taught me to make.  A basic recipe for a very similar bread is in the Fanny Farmer cookbook, 11th edition, on p. 335.  But I add ingredients and vary the way the bread is put together to be more like the original coffee bread I learned to make long ago.


Penny Mattern

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