No-Knead Swedish Cardamom Braid Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

No-Knead Swedish Cardamom Braid

The VT staff will be talking about (and making) this recipe for years to come. The veganizing of a recipe traditionally rich in eggs and butter is an inspiration, and the easy, no-knead recipe is a stroke of genius. Celia's modifications to the original recipe work so well that none of the rich texture of the holiday bread is lost in translation.



Ingredient Line: 
2 cups almond milk, plus more for brushing loaf top
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2 Tbs. Bob's Red Mill flaxseed meal
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⅓ cup agave nectar or Lundberg Farms Sweet Dreams organic brown rice syrup
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⅓ cup canola oil
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1 Tbs. active dry yeast
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1 ½ tsp. salt
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1 ½ tsp. whole cardamom seeds, coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle
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5 ¼ cups Bob's Red Mill unbleached white flour
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2 Tbs. Florida Crystals Demerara sugar, for sprinkling


1. Stir together almond milk, flaxseed meal, agave nectar, oil, yeast, salt, and cardamom in large nonreactive bowl with lid. Add flour, and mix thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover with lid or plastic wrap, and let stand 2 1/2 hours at room temperature. Transfer to refrigerator, and let rest overnight.

2. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. Remove half of dough from refrigerator; reserve remaining dough for second loaf. (Dough will keep in refrigerator up to 5 days.) Divide dough into 3 equal pieces, and gently roll each piece into 18-inch-long rope on floured work surface. Place dough ropes side by side spaced 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Pinch ends together on one side, and tuck under. Loosely braid dough ropes, then pinch tail ends together. Cover braided loaf loosely with kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rest 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F. Brush top of braided loaf with almond milk, and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake 30 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Nutrition Information: 

5 g
Total Fat: 
6 g
Saturated Fat: 
<1 g
40 g
0 mg
233 mg
2 g
8 g
Makes 2 loaves

Comments on this Recipe

I'm buying cardamon grounded in Indian grocery store CHEEP. Have not try the bread just yet, but love cardamon, I putting it in pancake mix and cookies, or just sprinkle in on bread, covered with honey. Have fun baking..:-)

I love this recipe! It is now one of my staples, for special occasions or everyday. Super moist and love the cardomon. Don't love grinding seeds but if makes for intense flavor. Shared recipe with family and coworkers. So easy!

looks like a real gem for Christmas, will just have to do a practice run!!

Is the yeast suppose to be in warm water before adding it to the mix? I made this earlier today and did not put the yeast in water and the dough is nor!

I just put a tbsp of dry yeast into the mix. After the 2 1/2 hours at room temperature, my dough didn't rise; however, after the night in the fridge, it did. Hopefully yours worked out as well, Carey!

Just made this this morning! Sooooo amazingly good! I used brown sugar on top and that made it taste like fall :P Great recipe!

Wonder if I could crush the cardamom seeds with a quick whirl in the coffee grinder....I don't have a mortar and pestle.

This bread tastes great with a pumpkin spice latte! perfect for fall

Amanda - put them in a ziplock and smash them with something, or roll them with a rolling pin.

How about substituting the flour with white/wheat?

This bread is delicious! I didn't have enough white flour and used about half whole wheat, and it turned out great. Also, being a rookie bread maker, I overlooked the step of leaving the dough out to rise and instead it spent about a day in the refridgerator with no problems. This recipe is good for even clutzy cooks!

I made this last week and it was super easy. The bread tasted so good! Will definitely be making again. No need to pull out my old family Swedish cookbook anymore.

Mine also didn't rise at room temp, but did in the fridge. I wonder if kneading would make it a bit lighter? I did about 3 quick pulses in the coffee grinder to grind the cardamom. Delicious bread!

has anyone tried making this bread gluten free?

has anyone tried making this bread gluten free?

This turned out great and was a big hit with my family and the in-laws! I made one loaf for each, so this recipe was perfect. I'm a noob when it comes to baking, but this was pretty easy. I just need to learn to make a more even braid. They were both much wider at the start. Thanks!

This looks delicious and really easy! Giving it a try soon.

FYI - I tried this with a gluten free flour mix and it didn't really work. At least it didn't become bread - but if you thought of it as a tasty scone it was good. I'm going to try again with a different mix of flours, fingers crossed for a good result.

I've made this bread twice now this holiday season, and I'm addicted! My daughter brought over flour, asking me to make this for her -- it's that good! I have all sorts of gluten-free flour, so maybe I'll give it a try.

I tried this recipe with cinnamon instead of cardamom (because cardamom cost $13 for a tiny jar!) and it was very tasty.

I'm making this for the third time today! It is delicious. The first time, I made it as directed and it was wonderful. Then, I made it with white whole wheat flour -- meh, it was okay. This morning, I made it, but kneaded it so that I would be able to bake it this afternoon. We'll see how that goes. Great recipe, though. Thanks!

The only cardamom I could find at our store was in little green pods. Do you have to discard the pods and just use the black seeds inside?

When you braid, begin at the center and braid to each end, respectively. That keeps the loaf in balance and the ends are symmetrical.

Tracey, just throw away the pods and crush the seeds. A tip is to put the seeds in a cloth, turn it over and then roll over with a baking roll.Very easy and I like it when the seeds are less crushed.

I have made this bread many times since seeing the recipe in the magazine. Have had good results with using all whole wheat bread flour or mixing wheat and spelt. Like other folks who have commented, I have used different spices or just left them out. Turns out great every time.

Active dry yeast don't need warm water to rise! It's a myth! I always use filtered straight from the tap with great results. And yes, this is a slow rising bread, the rising will happen in the fridge overnight. Yum!

I made this bread this weekend. It was fairly easy due to the fact that I had converted most of my pantry to vegan items. I also had the almond milk on hand, so this was pretty much an easy recipe to whip up! The bread itself is somewhat sweet, and dense. It was good for my first veganized bread. I would make this again. I didn't change much except for the AP flour, and regular white sugar that I had used.

Anyone try this with Light Olive Oil, or? I won't use Canola.

Light olive oil should work fine. I sub it in baking all the time for canola oil.

I baked one loaf for family dinner and the other for a group dinner, and people really loved this! Easy, delicious, and makes the house smell wonderful. Also note that if you buy cardamom (either pods or seeds out of the pod) at an Indian grocery store the price per pound is much lower. Try putting pods or seeds in hot tea. Pods are easier to see if you whack them with the pestle you've already taken out to coarsely grind the seeds.

Seems like a sweet bread. Do you eat it for breakfast? What do you put on top of it? Seems delicious!

It's a good thing the recipe makes 2 loaves because this bread is incredible! Working with the whole cardamom was new for me but very simple. It added a key flavor to the bread.

I made this for Easter dinner today. Mine didn't rise overnight for some reason but I put it in a warm oven for a bit this morning and it rose enough that I was willing to give it a shot. A couple of inadvertent changes; I didn't realize I'd picked up VANILLA almond milk until after I'd used it. I also used GROUND cardamom instead of the seeds (less $) and couldn't find the sugar crystals so I sprinkled some regular sugar on it. After I baked it, I drizzled it with some of the agave nectar. Not having had it before, I don't know what the texture was supposed to be. It was somehwat dense, but very moist and sweet although not overwhelmingly so. It was a hit at dinner. A winner for sure!

Can soy, rice or coconut milk be substituted? Someone has a nut allergy in our house.

I'm a big fan of coconut oil, has as anyone used it as an alternative to the Canola oil?

A note on substitutions- soymilk has worked perfectly in the past and I suspect other milks would work as well; if you aren't vegan honey works perfectly for the sweetener; and pearl sugar for the topping gives a more authentically Swedish style. I've used the dough to make cinnamon rolls and smaller buns- always with delicious results. Very adaptable!

This is a great recipe and very versatile. For years I have been bringing the traditional butter &amp; egg laden orange rolls to thanksgiving dinner. This year I used this recipe, substituting OJ for some of the liquid and adding orange rind. It continues to be a hit. I have used the dough for cinnamon rolls as well for my husband who is vegan and everyone loves them. It is one of the easiest and most rewarding bread recipes out there!

This is a fantastic recipe! Maybe I'll add some things of my own to it!

In step three, what do you think would happen if you sprinkled with BROWN sugar instead of white?

This recipe is definitely a keeper! It's very easy, yet the braid looks so professional! Next time I'll try skipping the cardamom and flavoring with orange blossom water...

Just made this for the second time. AMAZING. My changes were: half white whole wheat flour and half bread flour maple syrup instead of agave soy milk instead of almond milk one whole packet rapid rise yeast Then, I actually kneaded it for about 10 mins, let it rise 2+ hours, and did baking from there rather than the whole no-knead/fridge method. It made for a better texture, I think.

I've been making this exact recipe for many years. It is easy and impressive looking. I make it for Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Not everyone enjoys the flavor of cardamon. Sometimes I use almond extract instead. The flax is a great texture and added nutrients. I serve this with dinner. But it is wonderful toasted for breakfast spread with almond butter too.

Help! I have made this bread a couple times...and it is amazing!! However...when I brush the top with the milk I find that the bottom and the edge of the bread touching the pan burns...any recommendations for getting it to not burn?

My bread came out perfectly! I brought one to a potluck and made another for us at home. Both went fast!

I'm allergic to almonds. Would oat milk be a good substitute?