Finnish Coffee Bread (Traditional)

Recipe by ellie_
READY IN: 4hrs 30mins


  • 1
    (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast (original recipe specifies one package but I use 2)
  • 12
    cup lukewarm water
  • 2
    cups milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
  • 1
    cup sugar
  • 1
    teaspoon salt
  • 8 -12
    cardamom pods, seeded and crushed, depending on how strong a cardamom flavor you like (I use 10-12)
  • 5
    eggs, beaten, divided (1 egg is used for glaze)
  • 8 -10
    cups flour
  • 12
    cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine, melted
  • 14
    cup sugar, for glazing braids (or less)


  • Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl.
  • Stir in milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, 4 eggs, and 2 cups of flour.
  • Stir until dough is smooth.
  • Add 3 cups of flour and stir well.
  • Stir in melted butter or margarine.
  • Stir in 2-3 cups more flour or until you have a stiff dough.
  • Turn dough out onto a floured bread board and cover with inverted bowl.
  • Let rest for 15 minutes.
  • Knead dough until smooth and satiny (8-10 minutes).
  • Place dough in large lightly greased bowl, turning to grease top.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and/or towel.
  • Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled (1-2 hours).
  • Punch dough down.
  • Let dough rise again until almost double (30 minutes- 1 hour).
  • Turn out onto floured board.
  • Divide dough into thirds, working with only one third at a time.
  • Divide (one- third of dough) into three parts.
  • With your hands roll each part into one 18"strand.
  • Braid the three stands together to form one braid, tucking ends under.
  • Place on lightly greased cookie sheet.
  • Let rise 20-30 minutes until puffy.
  • Repeat with other two parts (each one-third of original dough).
  • You will have three braids when finished.
  • Brush braids with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake in 400°F oven for 20-30 minutes or until braids are light brown.