Finnish Cardamom Braids Recipe

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Every Finn I know often serves Nissua, a sweet bread with cardamom. I believe my mom's recipe beats all others, hands down! Her bread is soft and fluffy while others can be dry . No matter how many Nissua braids she makes for a popular annual craft fair, they're all gone by noon!—Anne Heinonen, Howell, Michigan
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. + rising Bake: 25 min. + cooling
MAKES:32 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. + rising Bake: 25 min. + cooling
MAKES: 32 servings


  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 2 cups warm milk (110° to 115°)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 eggs
  • 7 to 8 cups all-purpose flour

Nutritional Facts

1 slice: 158 calories, 4g fat (2g saturated fat), 23mg cholesterol, 152mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein


  1. In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, sugar, butter, salt, cardamom, eggs and 3 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  2. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Divide each half into thirds. Shape each piece into a 13-in. rope. Place three ropes on a greased baking sheet. Braid ropes; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Repeat. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  3. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).
Originally published as Finnish Cardamom Braids in Taste of Home October/November 2000, p49

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Reviewed Jan. 5, 2015

"I have looked at this recipe for years and wondered "Should I?". Well, we wasted a whole lotta years because this bread recipe is GREAT! It is easy to throw together, moist, and beyond yummy. It was good warm and good cold. The only thing I wondered (which another reviewer answered for me) was if it would be okay with more cardamom...I really like cardamom.

Should you make it? Yes. Don't save it for Christmas, make it anytime of the year! Well, I must go and slice some right now....mmmmmmmm!"

Reviewed Mar. 2, 2014

"This bread is delicious! I halved the recipe and made it in the bread machine, increasing the cardamom to 1 tsp per loaf and used 2 1/4 tsp of instant yeast instead of active dry. Just before putting the braid in the oven, I brushed it with milk and sprinkled on coarse sugar. I covered it loosely with foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. It was very easy and it tastes fantastic!"

Reviewed Dec. 22, 2013

"This is a GREAT recipe. I chose it over other cardamom bread recipes because it contains more sugar and butter... I made the following modifications:

- make sure to add a protective layer of flour over the butter before adding the hot milk so as not to melt the butter.
- I used much more cardamom (2.5-3 tsp), but that's a matter of personal preference. Even with that much it is not overwhelming, and I used fresh ground.
- I used only 6.5 cups of flour because I wanted a moist loaf.
- In retrospect, I would do two rises before shaping. I kneaded one loaf more than the other and it rose much better; the other was a bit floppy although it still tastes great.
- I did an egg wash and sprinkled with coarse sugar before baking. The egg wash is purely aesthetic but the sugar really adds something.
Thanks for a great recipe!"

Reviewed Sep. 30, 2011

"I bake alot of different breads and this is the first one that I prefer as is instead of toasted. I halfed the recipe since there are only the two of us and it was perfect."

Reviewed Feb. 28, 2011

"can someone help me. . . can the full recipe of this cardamom bread be done in a bread machine or should I half it. . ."

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