Friday, August 23, 2013

Cardamom Bread - Part of This Complete Plunder

One can't plunder on an empty stomach.

When I'm out at Dad's, I make it a point to go into the "big city", often taking the long way on the ferry to get there. I enjoy the ride, it brings back a lot of memories of trips made back and forth here, some good, some painful, yet all, part of an abundant past.

Oh, look, trapped on the ferry with the Snap On Tool Truck.  Score!!!
Once I get to town (ok, I only bought two things), I do a little wandering.  Having such a high population of Scandanavian folks, there are some really incredible bakeries in the area, including this one.
These are made from scratch every morning.  It's always fun to get a couple and some of their good coffee and just go sit along the river and watch the seals (no, not the Navy kind).
But, excellent bakeries aside, no one makes cardamom bread like my Mom and Grandma did. Grandma immigrated from Sweden at age 18 and after moving to Minnesota, married a Norwegian logger from an immigrant North Dakota family, eventually settling in Montana, where my Dad's parents homesteaded.  The rest is wonderful family history comprised of bad puns, gun poweder and baking powder biscuits..

From them I inherited an appreciate of certain recipes that just say "home", if only to me.  Liver sausage, those baking powder biscuits, a recipe from 1900 called only "Killum Quicks",  pork with potato pancakes and lingonberry sauce and apple pie cake, baked in a pie pan and served with ice cream. But when I visit, I always make sure Dad has a loaf  of cardamom bread to tear apart with a bit of butter and some good coffee.  The recipe is not Mom's, as it was never written down, but this adaption comes close.
Green and black cardamom are used as flavorings in both food and drink, as cooking spices and as a medicine. Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic, resinous fragrance. The smell while it bakes is just incredible.

Green cardamom is one of the most expensive spices by weight but little is needed to impart the flavor. Ground Cardamom can be found in any spice aisle at the grocery (though I get mine at Penzeys).  If you wish to buy and use whole Cardamom seeds for more intense flavor, a generally accepted equivalent is 10 pods equals 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of the ground. If you buy the pods, store them whole, because once the seeds are exposed or ground, they quickly lose their flavor.

In my Mom's Swedish/Norwegian kitchen it was used as a flavoring in waffles, cookies, many Nordic breads and even her bacon pancakes.. Cardamom bread is most commonly served around Christmas, and I believe is Finnish in origin (known as "pulla)  but in our household, we enjoy it on any chill morning when family gathers.

click to enlarge, I know you want to
Cardamom Bread

There's a reason none of the low carb diets were written by Scandinavian folks.


  1. Married a 1st generation Norwegian. We moved, from the Mountain West, into the neighborhood across the canal from Lindstroms. Came home one evening to some wonderful food and the wife saying, "I took a drive over that bridge and found a neighborhood where everybody looks like me!" Ya sure, ya betcha.

  2. I'm hungry now thanks. My grandma, dad's side always made Swedish food around Christmas...OMG. I miss her so much. Dad's side was all farmers in Northern MN. Need I say more.

  3. And yet I have never seen an overweight Scandinavian ! Lovely post, Brigid.

  4. Tasty bread.

    I use some Rosemary in my basic beer bread recipe. Another strong spice.

    I wonder how well the cardamom would go over in a heavy loaf like that?

  5. Cardamon is essential on those messy cinnamon buns and good in coffee.

  6. Ohhhhhh, I luvs me the cardamom bread. My Finnish grandmother used to make it. It's great for dunking in strong coffee.

  7. Hmm...I might have to try some of that bread. Never had it before.

  8. MMMMMM. Cardamom bread.

    When I was a kid in Connecticut (yeah, I know, of all places...) there was a Swedish bakery across the street from the post office we used to use. If we were really good about standing in line at the post office, we'd sometimes get to go there and get a loaf or two to bring home. Heaven!

  9. Drool, drool, drool.

    You mean woman, torturing me like that! ;-)


  10. I think I gained a pound just looking at your photos. :)

  11. Have you ever thought of collecting some of your recipes into a book or booklet?
    Maybe a special edition for a fundraiser? Your choice of recipes and recipent/s of funds?
    I would definitely buy at least one of your recipe collections.

  12. "Oh, look, trapped on the ferry with the Snap On Tool Truck. Score!!!"

    OK, YOU WIN!!!! All I got to do today was rampage in Home Depot 8-(

    (Best to you - and Big Bro.)

    Cap'n Jan
    (frequent reader, infrequent commenter. But some things demand a comment!!)

  13. Cardamon is one of my fav's. Thanks for the recipe!

  14. I love/hate reading your bread recipe posts. They look SO good!

    But I can't have wheat flour.

    Will have to try to adapt them. It's just not fair otherwise.

    (I know, I know. Anyone who tells you life should be fair is selling something.)

  15. Oh man, I wish... sigh... travel safe!

  16. Well Seasoned Fool, I'm equal parts of 4 different heritages but I look totally Irish except for the almond eyes which give away the Native American blood. But inside, I feel about as Scandahoovian as my Mom, at least when I'm in the kitchen.

    Rob - my Aunt did the family geneology and there was quite a bunch of the family in Minnesota and North Dakota.

    Jane of Virginia - maybe it's the wood chopping for the cold winters. .

    Katherine - I wish there was one closer to where I live but there are a couple of very fine Polish bakeries around.

    Annie Mouse - thank you, and others have asked, but honestly I just don't have the time to put that sort of project together, which is why I post the recipes on the sidebar for people to print out for their own use.

    Rev Paul - I know. I did the yogurt, almonds and an apple for lunch or dinner for the last two weeks to drop the 5 pounds I gained while in the busted foot boot. It's never fun.

    Idahobob - it IS worth the extra effort.

    Cap'n Jan - he was surprised by the knock at the door, but opened the truck up. A couple of us bought a few things. This is part of his regular run and I've seen him more than once.

    Old NFO - travel safe.

    PPPP - I bet if you got one of the gluten free bread mixes and just added the butter and spice it would be pretty close.

    parapetetic engineer - thanks for stopping! I think in Finland it's known as "pulla".

    Brighid - you and I will have to make a bakery run if you're in town when I'm at Dad's.

    Monkeywrangler - I bet you could easily adapt one of your whole grain recipes for this.

    Sunnybrook Farm - coffee cake, oh most definately!

    MSgtB - I do a Guinness quick bread with rosemary that's awesome. I would think you could make a beer bread with a light ale with perhaps with a bit of sweetness and add the cardamon.

  17. Danish Maid, Finnish Home Bakery, Rev. Paul, you can gain ten pounds driving by that place. If you walk in the door you'll have to buy a new wardrobe.

  18. No warnings, WHATEVER! :-(

    Fortunately, there is now a Penzey's in town (not far from the Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill)...
    SO, perhaps this Winter...


  19. Haven't been on the Westport Ferry since the mid 70's. Same time as I was a Police Officer in Astoria.

    Lovely Bride and I should try to make a day trip that way while the weather's still good..

  20. Link goodness:


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