Guest Post ‘Cardamom Bread (aka Bohemian Braided Bread)’

16 Jan

Today I am bringing you a Guest Post from my friend Kim.  Kim’s cooking is inspired by her grandma and mine by my mum. Our fondness is to cook for our families some exquisite meals. She is extremely talented. Not only she writes & cooks for A Little Lunch, but also she’s a musician and has a passion for photography.

I am glad she’s become a part of the Exquisite Niche family!

Hope you enjoy her post!! 🙂


I was so excited when Gursahiba invited me to join her on Exquisite Niche, this being my first guest post and all.  Thank you for having me here!  We both share a passion for cooking and baking, as well as the desire to create joyful ambience in our homes.  We also have a mutual fondness for cardamom.

In consulting with my friend about what type of recipe to post, she suggested “something from my roots.”  My grandmother’s fragrant Cardamom Bread immediately came to mind with it’s subtly infused spices and intricately woven exterior.  Nothing says “home” like a family recipe.

Besides being treasures, family recipes connect us with the past while becoming part of who we are today.  One whiff of a favorite dish and you’re transported to another place and time, while memories from those special occasions mingle at our present-day tables.  Simply amazing!

I grew up in Minnesota where the winters are long and cold, but the warmth of Grandma’s kitchen made me forget about snow — especially when she was baking.  After moving to Oklahoma, I haven’t had to contend with snow (much!), but I still love baking during the winter and Grandma’s recipes contain built-in coziness.

In fact, I named my blog after something she said often, beckoning us to the table for “a little lunch.

The flavors in this recipe came from “the old country” (Czechoslovakia), to southern Minnesota where she eventually settled.  Now they’ve followed me to another place and time.  Isn’t it nice to know “home” is as close as your kitchen?

Cardamom Bread (aka Bohemian Braided Bread)

1/2 c. warm water

2 packets of dry yeast

2 eggs

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. butter, softened (plus a little extra to butter the bowl)

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. freshly grated lemon rind

1/4 t. ground cardamom

1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg*

1/2 c. milk, scalded and cooled

4 1/2 to 5 c. all purpose flour

1/2 c. raisins (reserve to add during the final kneading)


1 c. confectioners’ sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 to 2 Tbsp. milk or cream


Blanched almonds

Maraschino (or candied) cherries

Begin by combining the yeast and warm water; set aside for 5 minutes until foamy.  Lightly grease a large glass bowl with butter; set aside.

In another large bowl, beat the eggs.  Add the sugar, butter, salt, lemon rind, and spices; beat again.  Stir in milk and yeast mixture.  Stir in 1 cup of flour.  Add another cup of flour; stir until combined.

Gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a slightly sticky dough.  (I used 4 1/2 cups total — or, as Grandma used to tell me, “Never be afraid of a sticky dough!”)

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 15 to 20 minutes, or until smooth.  Form into a ball and place top-side-down in the buttered bowl; then turn it buttered side up.

Cover the bowl with a clean cotton towel (I still use one of the embroidered dish towels Grandma gave me years ago); set in a warm place to rise until doubled.

After dough has doubled in volume, punch down and let rest for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle reserved raisins over dough; knead in until evenly distributed.

Divide dough into four equal parts.  Using your hands, roll three portions into 14″ long ropes.  Gently transfer ropes to a lightly greased baking tin; form them into a large braid and pinch ends together well.

Divide remaining dough into 3 equal parts.  Using your hands, roll each part into 12″ long ropes.  Form a second, smaller braid; lay it over the top (center) of the large braid, pinching ends into the larger braid to anchor them.  Cover and let rise until double.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to a cooling rack.  Meanwhile, combine glaze ingredients.  Drizzle over warm loaf.  Garnish with almonds and cherries.  Enjoy!

(*Note:  The original recipe called for mace.  Since mace is made from the dried outer shell of nutmeg, I’ve found that freshly grated nutmeg works nicely.)

Thanks once again, Gursahiba, for hostessing this guest post — I’ve enjoyed my time in your kitchen!

Enjoying the warmth of “home” cooking,

~ Kim

35 Responses to “Guest Post ‘Cardamom Bread (aka Bohemian Braided Bread)’”

  1. Nava Krishnan January 16, 2012 at 2:42 PM #

    With all the flavours added inside, I will go for this, all the more the name of the recipe with the first word cardamom already got me excited.

    • Kimby January 17, 2012 at 7:22 AM #

      Thank you, Nava! It’s surprising how little amounts of each seasoning add to the overall flavor. I’m glad you’re enthused about cardamom — me, too!

    • Gursahiba @ Exquisite Niche January 17, 2012 at 7:00 PM #

      Thanks Nava for your lovely comment! I asked Kimby to share her Grandma’s recipe with us and she’s done a great job!

  2. easyfoodsmith January 16, 2012 at 3:17 PM #

    Beautiful and delicious guest post. The flavours are awesome.

    • Kimby January 17, 2012 at 7:23 AM #

      The photo collage was put together by Gursahiba. I think she did a wonderful job, too!

    • Gursahiba @ Exquisite Niche January 17, 2012 at 7:01 PM #

      Its a pleasure working with you Kim!

  3. Grubarazzi January 16, 2012 at 4:25 PM #

    I really love the combination of flavors in this bread. Bravo!

    • Kimby January 17, 2012 at 7:25 AM #

      Thanks very much! I enjoy the smell of it almost as much as the taste of it!

  4. Isabelle at home January 16, 2012 at 6:47 PM #

    wonderful recipe! Lovely blog, thanks Kim for inviting me to me and read this great blog! 🙂

    • Kimby January 17, 2012 at 7:26 AM #

      Hi, Isabelle! So nice to see you here at Exquisite Niche! Now you can see why I like it so much. 🙂

    • Gursahiba @ Exquisite Niche January 17, 2012 at 7:02 PM #

      Thanks Isabelle for your lovely comments! Hope you enjoyed taking a tour of Exquisite Niche. I welcome you to the Exquisite Niche family!

  5. Maureen January 16, 2012 at 6:55 PM #

    This bread is beautiful. I am definitely going to give it a try!

    • Kimby January 17, 2012 at 7:28 AM #

      Maureen, I hope you do! Half the fun is concocting the braids. My Mom said Grandma sometimes made three braids (two on the bottom, one on top) but I went for the “traditional” look. However you shape it, the flavor is sooooo yummy!

  6. Shary Hover January 16, 2012 at 8:07 PM #

    “Isn’t it nice to know ”home” is as close as your kitchen?”

    I love this quote!

    • Kimby January 17, 2012 at 7:30 AM #

      Shary, that one was “from the heart.” I didn’t know how else to describe that feeling… 🙂 Thanks for visiting Gursahiba & me at Exquisite Niche!

  7. Tina@flourtrader January 16, 2012 at 8:09 PM #

    My first taste of cardamon was in bread and I have been in love with this spice ever since. As shown in your picture, your bread recipe does yield a lovely loaf! I will need to try this version.
    Also thanks for the intro to Kim;s blog!

    • Kimby January 17, 2012 at 7:32 AM #

      Tina, it’s been fun to see the reaction to cardamom in a baked good. Now that I have my hands on some, I’m sure it’ll show up in other recipes, too. 🙂 Thanks for coming by and for your kind comments to my hostess and friend.

    • Gursahiba @ Exquisite Niche January 17, 2012 at 7:03 PM #

      Thank you Tina for stopping by Exquisite Niche! Welcome to the Exquisite Niche Family!:)

  8. Jenna January 16, 2012 at 11:33 PM #

    How interesting! Cardamom in baking is something I’ve never seen or heard of before. But thinking about it, it sounds deliciously unexpected!

    • Kimby January 17, 2012 at 7:34 AM #

      You’ll have to try it, Jenna! It doesn’t take much to add that unexpected flavor, but cardamom is such an intriguing spice. Thanks for commenting!

    • Gursahiba @ Exquisite Niche January 17, 2012 at 7:04 PM #

      Thanks Jenna for your lovely comment! You are welcomed to Exquisite Niche!

  9. Kiri W. January 16, 2012 at 11:49 PM #

    Looks delicious! I enjoy cardamom, and haven’t had it in bread, but imagine it would be a great flavor. Very cool guest post!

    • Kimby January 17, 2012 at 7:39 AM #

      Thank you, Kiri! I love how “foodies” have such great food imaginations — you can “taste” it before you even try it. (I do all the time!) Many thanks again to Gursahiba, for this opportunity to share my little corner of the world. 🙂

  10. Heather with Basilmomma January 17, 2012 at 7:01 AM #

    I love this! I can just IMAGINE how wonderful it smells!! Beautiful pictures, BTW. You are amazingly talented! Yes, you are!!

    • Kimby January 17, 2012 at 7:42 AM #

      Awwwww shucks, Heather, ya made me blush… This was truly a collaboration — I e-mailed the photos to Gursahiba and she worked her magic on posting them. All I did was write. And eat. 🙂 Thanks, friend!

  11. ping January 17, 2012 at 9:58 AM #

    I’m crazy for cardamom! I’d cardamomize everything if I could. I had even infused it in my homemade ginger ale the last time I made it. I can just imagine the smells coming from baking this beautiful bread!

    • Gursahiba @ Exquisite Niche January 17, 2012 at 7:08 PM #

      Yeah, I think Kim and I too found our liking for cardamom similar. Thanks to Kim for sharing absolutely wonderful recipe with us.
      Moreover, Thanks for stopping by Exquisite Niche and posting such wonderful comment!

    • Kimby January 17, 2012 at 7:47 PM #

      Love that! “Cardamomize everything.” 🙂 Homemade gingerale sounds really good, too!

  12. Ann January 17, 2012 at 11:05 AM #

    Wow – does that ever look amazing! I have read the story of your blog name before, but I just love it! Thanks for sharing this delightful recipe and congratulations on your first guest post!

    • Gursahiba @ Exquisite Niche January 17, 2012 at 7:09 PM #

      Ann, thanks for stopping by my blog! Welcome to the Exquisite Niche family.

    • Kimby January 17, 2012 at 7:49 PM #

      Thank you, Ann, for commenting here and over yonder at the lake. 🙂 I appreciate your support!

  13. Shirley Tay January 18, 2012 at 6:19 PM #

    Thanks for having Kimby to guest post, Gursahiba! She’s certainly one of my fave bloggers & you’re right, she’s so talented. Kimby writes really well & now you’re telling me she’s also a musician?? Boy, I’m impressed.

    I’m surprised to see my reader, Nava, here too. She is one of the great supporters in my blog & I’m glad to see her here too.

    Great blog, wonderful people! Keep blogging & this is a lovely post 🙂 Have a good week!

    • Gursahiba @ Exquisite Niche January 18, 2012 at 6:59 PM #

      You are right about Kim she is absolutely a gem. When I invited her to do the guest post she did it very promptly. I was impressed!I am a regular folower of her blog too. I enjoyed her guest post as much as you did.

      And Nava is wonderful too she is way to good at blogging and keeping regular touch with all her friends.There’s so much to learn from her.

      Shirley I am loving this blogging world after meeting such sweet and talented friends like You and all.

  14. Cher January 30, 2012 at 9:59 PM #

    Lovely post – and beautiful bread!

  15. jenmaaninamman February 21, 2012 at 12:30 PM #

    The bread looks great and I LOVE the dish towel in the first pic!!!

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